Motel Blues

an EP by ella hunt

Photo by: Oliva Nikkanen

Stream motel blues


“Motel Blues” is the new EP from singer-songwriter/actor Ella Hunt releasing September 12th from Historical Fiction Records.  The second in her three part “Triptych” series of EPs, the vignettes present a larger portrait of the foundations of her musical landscape. “Motel Blues” highlights three songs written by Loudon Wainwright III that shaped the songwriter in her formative years. Reflecting on their influence she says, “I still remember the first time I heard [the song] Motel Blues. I was 14, it was the first Loudon song I ever heard. The un-fussy-ness of the lyrics, their humour, clarity and humanity was so striking. I don’t think I’d ever heard such lonely words but I felt so held by the humanity of them.”

On the EP’s title track, Hunt’s vocals are intensely intimate, adorned with sparse piano, shuddering synthesizers, and a delicate vocoder creating a sonic refuge from the sadness in Wainwright’s lyrics. “I relate to a lot of the loneliness in Loudon’s writing — this permanent sense of otherness paired with desire for connection. And though at 14 when I first heard it I’d never experienced being in a  motel room alone, the spirit of the writing felt so familiar to me. And now, after a decade of  working as an actress, staying in strange towns and many grotty hotels, motels, b&b’s, I wholeheartedly relate to needing a person and their comfort to cut through the sterility and solitude of  those lonely places.”

Produced by Thomas Bartlett (Yoko Ono, Florence & the Machine), the sonic world of “Motel Blues” is built around Hunt’s vocals, creating an air of fragility and honesty.  Reflecting on the process Hunt recalls, “Thomas actually encouraged me to record the lead vocal lines without any predetermined accompaniment or even click, so that they could feel like my stream of consciousness, free of any kind of meter or predicted emotional arc, so they feel raw to me.”

The effect of this process invites the listener to a private place.  The sparse production and deeply felt performances create the feeling of a secret benign whispered in your ear.  At the center of the performances are the lyrics and the stories they tell, “Loudon’s lyrics gave me a window into adulthood and into my dad and his first marriage, that had previously felt inaccessible and out of bounds. These covers are my way of honoring Loudon’s impact on me as a person and as a writer.”




motel blues

In this town television shuts off at two

What can a lonely rock and roller do?

Ah, the bed’s so big

And the sheets are clean

And your girlfriend said

You were 19

And the styrofoam ice bucket

Is full of ice

Come up to my motel room

Treat me nice

I don’t wanna make no late night New York calls

I don’t wanna stare at them ugly grass mat walls

Chronologically I know you’re young

But when you kissed me in the club

You bit my tongue

I’ll write a song for you

I’ll put it on my new LP

Ah, come up to my motel room

Sleep with me

Oh, there’s a bible in the drawer

Don’t be afraid

I’ll put up a sign

To warn the cleanup maid

Yeah there’s lots of soap

And there’s lots of towels

Never mind them desk clerk scowls

I’ll buy you breakfast

They’ll think you’re my wife

Come up to my motel room

Save my life

Come up to my motel room

Save my life

Motel Blues lyrics by Loudon Wainwright III © Frank Music Corp.


They got drunk last night

At a knockdown, drag out fight

She was determined and he saw it his way

He threw a tantrum and she threw an ashtray

They got drunk last night


How’s this for a “How do you do?”

He’s unfaithful, she’s untrue

They’re their own masters and they’re their own bosses

They reserve the right to employ double crosses

How’s this for a fine “How do you do?”


You’d need a chair and a whip

To control their relationship

Once they were lovers and practically best friends

Now he’s into bondage and she’s into revenge

You’d need a chair and a whip


And if one of them should die

I suppose that the other would cry

There would be tears of sorrow and great grief

Or else there would be tears of release and relief

If one of them should die

Reciprocity by Loudon Wainwright III lyrics © Frank Music Corp.

when you leave

You left for camp

You left for school

Left for the coast when that was cool

Then you left women;

One a wife

To save your skin you wrecked a life

When there’s kids, its not just one life you wreck

You’re on the run

You go to town to start anew

But those you left come after you


Its what you think

Its how you feel

Though who can say if its all real?


The darndest thing is kids grow up

One day some strange adults show up

The ones you left arrive in town

“That’s nice”, you say, “they’ll be around

Perhaps they’re just a bit bereft, but they’ll forgive the one who left”

Sad stories can have happy ends

Perhaps now, you can just be friends


Its what you want

Its how you feel

What’s more, you hope your theory’s real


Who would’ve thought or could believe

Things go so badly when you leave

The skin you save is growing slack

And those you left don’t want you back


Your power’s gone

It was pretend

The wife you left meant more to them

Its not just that they side with her

You left and who knew where you were

The reason that they came to town

Was just to make the place their own

They realized your greatest fear;

You are so close but hardly here

When you leave lyrics by Loudon Wainwright III © Frank Music Corp.


Ella Hunt is an English actress and singer-songwriter. She was nominated for a Scottish BAFTA for her performance in the film Anna and the Apocalypse (2017). On television, she is known for her roles as Ellie Marsden in the ITV comedy-drama Cold Feet, and Sue Gilbert in the Apple TV+ series Dickinson.  She released the first installment of her Triptych project in 2021 she describes as a “collage of yearning and grief and love and loneliness”.