Who are the Murderers of Love? Well, it’s really singer-songwriter/musician, artist, designer Jaimie Muehlhausen and a revolving cast of amazing musicians. Jaimie has been a longtime member of the San Diego music scene, as lead singer and guitarist in the band The Deadlites, then performing solo with just an acoustic guitar and an occasional accompanying musician. After a short break from the music scene to concentrate on his career as Creative Director for Tony Hawk Inc. and his own Vibrosonic Design Studio, Jaimie jumped back into the music world in 2017 with a new album, “The Murderers of Love.” The self-titled album was mostly recorded at Jaimie’s home design studio on a 16-track recorder obtained from a late-night Craigslist deal in a Hollywood 7-Eleven parking lot full of Armenian bikers. It was a diverse album of blues, rock, americana, country and folk, and it was a musical catharsis that had to happen to clear the way for this new project, which took a step up in every aspect.
But to tell the story of the new album Motel, we have to step backwards just a bit. A few years before The Murderers of Love album began, Jaimie had come across the amazing guitars of Creston Lea while reading a story in the Fretboard Journal. A self-avowed guitar nut, he dreamed of owning a Creston guitar someday and visited his website often to peruse the latest instruments. At some point he discovered that Creston had written a book of short stories called Wild Punch, and so he ordered the book. Great characters, interesting slices of life, and stories that didn’t necessarily resolve. Just moments in time; people and places. Once the Murderers of Love album ran its course, Jaimie didn’t really figure he’d come up with a bunch of new material anytime soon and was content to come back to music again sometime down the road. But one night he picked up Wild Punch, reread one of the stories, and thought it would make an interesting song. Almost as an exercise, he pulled a few lines from the story and crafted what was to become the first song from this new album. Figuring he was onto something, Jaimie contacted Creston to get his blessing on the concept of writing an album of some sort based on his short stories. With an enthusiastic yes from Creston, the songs slowly started to come together. Over the course of the next few months, Jaimie wrote five new songs, the perfect number for an EP. But what to do with them?
At a 2019 New Year’s Day party, he told his boss’s husband, the incredibly talented bassist, guitarist, and producer Alan Deremo, about the concept for the album. Alan suggested that they record a couple of songs at his studio. They met up the following week and Jaimie played the five songs on an acoustic guitar. Alan jumped on board for the entire album. They began recording in the Spring of 2019 and things quickly came together. The next thing you know, Alan was enlisting the help of David Gilmour’s drummer, Steve DiStanislao. Jaimie and Alan headed to Steve’s studio to record drums, but had to nail down four songs in one day because Steve was headed out on tour with David Crosby. No big deal. Then Alan texted Jaimie one Saturday and said Scott Monahan of the legendary band Spirit was at his house and recording some Wurlitzer piano and organ on a couple of tracks. Would that be okay? Uh…yes please. Then it was Kenny Loggins’ longtime keyboardist and musical director Steve Wood adding accordion to a song. Tim Godwin, head of A&R for Taylor Guitars and a former touring musician added a few guitar parts. And as things were winding down, Jaimie got a message from Michael Ramos, whom he had tried to contact before recording had even started. Michael had just gotten the message and was definitely on board to record something. Michael has recorded and toured with Jaimie’s all-time favorites, The BoDeans, as well as John Mellencamp, Robert Plant, Patty Griffin, Paul Simon, Kelly Willis, Jimmy Buffet and countless others. And, of course, there are the multi-instrumental contributions of Alan himself, who played the majority of the tracks on the album. Alan has toured and recorded with the likes of John Denver, Glenn Frey, Dave Alvin, Vince Gill, Belinda Carlisle, Men at Work and on and on. Alan produced, recorded, mixed and mastered the album. Yeah, no big deal.
Motel is comprised of five songs. There is the moody and dark Odessa Left Town leading off the album. Love gone bad, though everyone knew it was coming. Second is the feel-good hit of the summer, Motel, the title track to the five-song EP. A seedy motel life that never seems to change, even on Christmas day. It’s just like last year and just like next year. Next comes the sweet and sentimental My Love Rose. “We’ll start a constellation you and me…from here to Tallahassee we can see.” Then it’s on to Western Pennsylvania, a bluesy romp through a dark night in a young woman’s rough life. The album ends with a deceptively pretty tale of an awkward 4th of July bachelor party for a marriage destined for the scrap heap. In Fearless Warriors, “everyone knows it’s true.” It’s a diverse but cohesive album, woven together by the threads of people and love and time and place, based on Creston Lea’s tales, re-interpreted by Jaimie Muehlhausen. Come stay at this Motel for awhile and enjoy the sites and sounds along the way.