"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
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
Or, as LaVere says: “I’ve always wanted a duet partner — it was
immediately obvious JP’s musical taste and aesthetic fit mine perfectly.
I wasn’t going to let him get away.”
If the collaboration was obvious to LaVere, the style was obvious to
Keith: he wanted to emulate the classic 50s and 60s country
duets — George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn.
The two dove into their respective record collections, searching for
songs they could make their own.
And so they became Motel Mirrors. The pair spent that winter with
drummer Shawn Zorn, playing residency gigs at a few bars around Memphis,
discovering their sound in those songs and developing original
material. After a few months, LaVere approached Keith about an
opportunity to record — she’d talked about the project with her label,
Archer Records, and there was interest.
They spent a few days at Music+Arts studio with Jeff Powell (Bob
Dylan, The Afghan Whigs, Big Star, Tonic, Stevie Ray Vaughan), tracking
mostly live, with very few added accoutrements to their stripped-down
three-piece. Krista Wroten Combest dropped by to add some fiddle, Eric
Lewis contributed a little lap steel, and they called it a record.
Three covers — Mickey & Sylvia’s “Dearest,” “Your Tender Loving
Care” by Buck Owens and Susan Raye, and Red Foley’s “As Far As I’m
Concerned” — blend seamlessly with originals by Keith and a co-write for
the pair, “That Makes Two of Us.”
“One thing that is important to me about the project is that it’s not
hokey or corny or campy or anything,” Keith says. “Sometimes when
people try to do something with a classic country influence they can get
hokey or self-righteous. I wanted to avoid all that and do something
that was kind of romantic. The themes are classic — that’s stuff you
don’t see a lot of anymore. I wanted to just explore that and do
something that’s timeless.”
And timeless is a good word for it. If you put the needle down and close
your eyes, you might mistake yourself for being somewhere else. At
another time, in a different town. In a bar, listening to a band of
strangers, whose voices are at once, both fleeting and familiar."
This product was added to our catalog on Friday 30 August, 2013.