Motel Mirrors (Amy LaVere & John Paul Keith) Album To Be Released August 27, 2013 on Archer Records
With the abundance of what looks to be exciting releases this Fall comes along an exhilerating album that should not pass unnoticed under your radar — Motel Mirrors. It is a duo comprised of Amy LaVere and John Paul Keith, with Shawn Zorn — a regular member of LaVere’s band and a sometime fill-in with Keith’s band One Four Fives — on drums for good measure. Ms. LaVere is the better known of the two having a bunch of recordings out there and loads of national dates, including her outstanding sets at The Americana Music Association two years ago. Mr. Keith has been playing mostly around Memphis for years, and his third album, Memphis Circa 3AM, arrives on September 17.
Motel Mirrors’ self titled seven song EP has been available for a week or so in digital formats (iTunes, Amazon, etc.), but will be released in a vinyl version on August 27 directly from their label, Archer Records. While I cannot wait till the vinyl comes in the mail — a CD release is not scheduled — I have been listening to the MP3 version constantly for the past three weeks. It is infectious.
Rarely do I give a second look at promotional tag lines in in press releases, but this time whoever wrote them must be a true fan as he/she hit the nail on the head.
There’s something strange yet familiar about Motel Mirrors – like an old photograph of a place you think you know, but don’t quite remember having visited.
The casual chemistry between Amy LaVere and John Paul Keith makes it seem like this happens all the time – boy meets girl, boy plays girl some songs, boy and girl form band. “It’s not that we really decided to have a band,” Keith tells it. “It’s just that by the time we got done having coffee she’d decided we were a band and was already booking shows for us. By the time I got home, we were exchanging ideas for band names.”
Mr. Keith has said he wanted to make it romantic but not in a kitschy or campy way. He wrote three strong originals, co-wrote one with Ms. LaVere and they did three covers. The first song grabs you right away, an uptempo, 50’s dark end of the street number, “Meet Me on the Corner.” “Suddenly You” features LaVere’s slap bass in a way that is one of her staple live features. “The Best Mistake I’d Ever Make Again” is pretty self explanatory, an “all-time favorite sin.” “That Makes Two of Us” is a previously unrecorded LaVere song.
Adding to those originals are the covers of: Buck Owens’ & Susan Raye’s “Your Tender Loving Care;” “As Far As I’m Concerned,” from country great Red Foley; and “Dearest” comes from Mickey & Sylvia and highly influenced, as with much of the rest of the record, by the Everly Brothers.
They just debuted the album this past weekend in Memphis and despite Mr. Keith’s own album out very soon and Ms. LaVere hopes to have her new one out by year’s end, they have begun doing some live dates, so catch them if you can. They are worth the effort.
While a CD version is not scheduled, my advice is get the vinyl and it comes with a free digital download version. And if you are still not convinced listen to the opening track via Soundcloud: