Amy LaVere, Will Sexton and John Paul Keith: New Crowdsourced Motel Mirrors Album
Thomas, West Virginia is an easy, enjoyable drive from just about anywhere. Tucked away in the northern mountains, I-79 from the south then via Elkins on 219, or I-68 then south on that same 219. The roads are mostly rolling full of soft curves, bicyclists with small daypacks with white wind turbines strung clothesline-like along one mountain range. That area of the state was once home to logging and some mining, and even now log trucks pass through sporadically throughout the day — and night.
But these days the arts and a myriad of outdoor activities, e.g., kayaking, hiking and biking, rule. When I first began visiting the area some 25 years ago as the head of the state film festival bringing films by Appalachian filmmakers to Davis was the happening spot, just a couple of miles away. But over the years the arts center has shifted to Thomas anchored by what has become an essential music venue on the Americana circuit, The Purple Fiddle.
It was during that conversation that I learned why a physical copy of their wonderful new record, Hallelujah I’m a Dreamer, is a bit hard to find. It was meant to an album for folks to pick up at their live shows. It is however, also available on her label’s (Archer Records) site. The digital version can be downloaded via iTunes and Amazon. It is my most played album of 2015.
But, in all our talk I did not follow-up on when the second Motel Mirrors album would be recorded. Then, a couple weeks ago I got a note from Amy informing me that it was being crowdsource funded via IndieGoGo. I jumped on the wagon that day and pre-ordered the vinyl. The project has two weeks to go and lots of perks, including an autographed Motel Mirrors tour poster from the first alum. As astute readers may recall, in my 2013 Critics List, I gave a special shout out to the album cover as the cover of the year. Here is the link to the project:
I then got another note indicating that it was being recoded right now, with a few teasers and photos. Needless to say, with Will being added Motel Mirrors will now be more of a band, and with Amy’s bass and twin lead guitars by Will and John Paul the swing potential is off the charts. Also notable is that there will be no covers this time around while keeping with the overall feel of the first album: all originals, mostly collaborative efforts by all three, but at least a couple solo or duo songs.
Readers of my articles will also note that I have long been an admirer of Amy’s music, but it was during a brief conversation that I had with her at the Americana Music Fest some years back that made her stand out. Her collaborations, with both Will and John Paul have been extraordinary. I cannot think of guitarists who are more simpatico with a vocalist than they are.