A 12-year veteran of the Memphis music scene, singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Paul Keith has four critically acclaimed solo albums, including his latest, Heart Shaped Shadow. The album was produced by Austin, Texas guitar legend Will Sexton for Last Chance Records, alongside In The Meantime, the debut full-length from Motel Mirrors, a collaboration between Keith, Sexton, and singer/bassist Amy LaVere. Both albums dropped together in March 2018.
Heart Shaped Shadow takes a hard driving approach, with a slight wildness that suggests a player with a few tickets in his glovebox. Memphis-style horns charge up some of the tunes, but his ultra-classic songwriting style and mind-boggling guitar work stand up to any of the gun slingers out there. The songs here reflect a man who spent some time unmoored, and feels his way back from a personal brink. And make no mistake, there are some brilliant honky tonkers that take the sting out.
Motel Mirrors’ In The Meantime reflects a gently swinging, intimate session, with Keith, LaVere, and Sexton contributing songs and harmonies. Elements of the record bring artists like the Everly Brothers to mind, but the incredibly sharp musical performances and their clear love for playing together takes it into a new and original sphere. (The album entered the Americana Music Association’s album charts shortly after release, climbing all the way to #21 in June of 2018).
In addition to his own projects, John Paul recently appeared on the tribute album Red Hot: A Memphis Celebration of Sun Records, with proceeds going to St. Jude. In 2017, John Paul had the honor of performing with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons at the Memphis Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Roy Orbison. That same year, John Paul also contributed a song to the Don Bryant album from Fat Possum Records, Don’t Give Up on Love, which was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2018 Blues Music Awards.
John Paul Keith is currently planning his third headlining tour of Europe for spring of 2019, in support of Heart Shaped Shadow. He most recently toured Spain in November 2016, and his electrifying set at Azkena in 2015 was a highlight of the festival.