John Paul Keith: Capturing A Classic 'Memphis' Mood

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John Paul Keith's latest album 'Memphis Circa 3AM' is out now.

Songwriter and roots rocker John Paul Keith moved around from city to city before quitting music entirely. That is, until he made his way to the city he name-checks in his new album Memphis Circa 3 AM. The album was produced and recorded live to two-inch analog tape by the recently passed Roland Janes, house guitarist for Sun Records in the 1950's and longtime engineer and producer at Sam Phillips Recording Services. And as one might expect, Keith's record is a warm and retro-tinged collection leaning on the sounds of classic '50s and '60s rock 'n' roll.

Keith's musical expertise extends beyond Americana, however. He was one of several musicians consulted for Losers Take All, a comedy about an underground rock band struggling to break through in 1986. Keith contributed an original song for the movie's theme, lent his songwriting skills to other on-screen music, and even helped conduct a rock 'n' roll boot camp for the four actors who play the fictional band, The Fingers. 

In today's session, Keith performs songs from Memphis Circa 3 AM, plus the Losers Take All theme, in our studio. Later, director Alex Steyermark joins Keith and John Schaefer to talk about the film's throwback soundtrack, which features songs by Minor Threat, Husker Du, Black Flag, Alex Chilton and other proto-indie acts of the 1980s.

Listen to our interview about Losers Take All below -- and hear John Paul Keith's full session in the player above. 

Set list

  • "You Really Oughta Be With Me"
  • "Anyone Can Do It" 
  • "Everything's Different Now"