“Enchanting, Nostalgic, & Driving”: Roanoke Find Redemption on ‘Wolf Motel,’ a Stunning Soft Rock Reverie

Roanoke © Andrea Belk
Roanoke © Andrea Belk
Soaked in sweet harmonies and made with love, ‘Wolf Motel’ is Roanoke’s radiant reckoning and redemption all in one: A breathtaking, intimate soft rock record that promises to soothe the heart and stir the soul.
for fans of Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Kacey Musgraves
Stream: “After I Go” – Roanoke

Welcome to “Wolf Motel,” a place where anyone can go for redemption and new beginnings.

The spirit of 1970s soft rock radiates throughout Roanoke’s latest EP, and even the though the band may be dwelling in the depths of heartache and despair, their songs can’t help but produce smile-inducing waves of warmth, comfort, and wonder. Soaked in sweet harmonies and made with love, Wolf Motel is Roanoke’s radiant reckoning and redemption all in one: A breathtaking, intimate record full of passion and nostalgia, dreams and longing that promises to soothe the heart and stir the soul at the very same time.

Wolf Motel - Roanoke
Wolf Motel – Roanoke
Don’t let me go
Don’t find a reason to forget me til I know
Why did I leave
Don’t fight the memory of my leaving
I believe
So tell me
You’ll love me the same way
Even after
I leave in the dark of night
will you be on my mind?

When the moon and stars align
will your heartbeat unto mine?

Will you pull me from the shadows
Even after I go?

Released on November 11, 2022 via Kill Rock Stars Nashville, Wolf Motel is the latest and greatest offering yet from Nashville indie rock band Roanoke. Currently comprised of vocalist/guitarist Taylor Dupuis, vocalist/lead guitarist Joey Beesley, multi-instrumentalists Richard Bennett and B.L. Reed, drummer Justin Holder, and keyboardist Alex Devor, Roanoke have been steadily rising in both sound and stature for the better part of eight years now. “Roanoke bathe their music in feeling,” Atwood wrote in a 2018 premiere of their track, “Silent Films.” “Their songs can act as soundtracks to the days and nights of our lives, the highlight reels we carry within ourselves.

Roanoke’s Intimate “Silent Films” Captures Love’s Fragility


That knack for translating our innermost emotions onto the stage (and into their records) has only gotten stronger over time,

with Wolf Motel showcasing Dupuis and Beesley’s talents as a songwriting duo bolstered by a fully communal band.

“We had been playing these songs live for years, waiting for the right moment to record and release them,” Dupuis explains in conversation with Atwood Magazine. “Once we started recording down in Muscle Shoals and really honing in on our new sound, and finding a home at our label Kill Rock Stars, things began to fall into place and the vision for the record became clear. Honestly this record was recorded in the midst of chaos. We were going through a lot of changes with the band. We were switching agents, and had just had a really bad manager experience, and Joey and I had just broken up, but we went in the studio and recorded a really great EP despite the challenges.”

“I feel like going in we had a pretty clear vision, but we always like to leave room for the unexpected,” she adds. “These songs, although they were written years ago, were really representative of what we were going through during the recording process, and we just wanted to release something honest and true. Sonically, we love to lean into the sounds of the ’70s and early ’80s, especially in the harmonies, but we also wanted it to feel new and modern, and I think we accomplished that.”

Roanoke © John Fiorentino
Roanoke © John Fiorentino

To Roanoke, Wolf Motel is a story “love, heartbreak, nostalgia, new beginnings, adventure, and mysticism.”

Dupuis and Beesley’s breakup sounds eerily familiar to that of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, whose separation famously (or infamously) became the heartbeat at the center of Fleetwood Mac’s chart-topping, record-breaking album, Rumours.

In fact, Fleetwood Mac are the best sonic comparison to Roanoke’s sound as well. Wolf Motel is a dreamy pop record brimming with big, catchy hooks, groovy beats, glistening guitars, and smoldering harmonies – the kind that somehow keep us warm on those cold winter nights, despite sound waves not inherently containing any heat of their own. It’s melancholic music that makes you want to smile through the tears and embrace your best years, wherever they may be. Fans of Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Kacey Musgraves, and Ruston Kelly are sure to fall headfirst for Roanoke and their rich, resounding heartland-inspired palette.

Beyond having already been perfected onstage, Wolf Motel is a long, long time coming for Roanoke, who released their last record Where I Roam five years ago this June. Not that they’ve been silent during that time: A slew of singles from recent years tracks the band’s growth and transformation into the act they are today.

Roanoke © Andrea Belk
Roanoke © Andrea Belk

“We have been on quite the sonic journey since the beginning of the band back in 2013,” Dupuis reflects. “For many years it felt like we were always searching for a sound and a place to land genre wise. I still think we are a little outside the norm when it comes to genre, but Wolf Motel feels like Roanoke coming into its true form. Creating music that we love and feels true and authentic. As artists we sometimes feel like we have to fit into this box, and for Wolf Motel we just followed our instincts.”

“As creators I think it’s always important to continue to grow and become better at your craft,” she adds, “so comparatively I think that Wolf Motel is much more musically mature and cohesive than Where I Roam. For Where I Roam, I feel like we were still searching for a sound and an identity, and I think Wolf Motel feels more authentic. I do still love Where I Roam, and a couple of my favorite Roanoke songs do exist on that EP, and most importantly it takes me back to a very specific time in my life.”

While the EP’s name itself doesn’t show up on any songs, Wolf Motel is, to Dupuis, a space of mystery and reckoning.

“It’s a place where anyone can go for redemption and new beginnings,” she says. “Since I have been very young I have always felt a connection to wolves, so the word “wolf” actually comes up quite a bit. I consider the wolf my spirit animal. Joey actually came up with the name and I loved it. Wolf Motel feels like a mysterious place you discover on a dark desert road in the middle of the night where you can rediscover yourself, and that’s what this record has been for us, a rediscovery.”

In a way, Wolf Motel is Roanoke’s very own Hotel California.

We were driving through the night
I was wearing out your name

Waiting for a sign I was waiting for the day
Keep me safe and sound
On my way back down
If you’re gonna leave me baby…
Take me when you go.
– “If You’re Gonna Leave,” Roanoke

Every song is its own highlight on this five-track EP, but of special note are the first two tracks. Opener “If You’re Gonna Leave” sets the perfect musical and emotional scene, with wistful, warm melodies tantalizing the ears as Roanoke spell out a story of love and loss, tenderness and turbulence. Meanwhile, “After I Go” is easily Roanoke’s finest song to date: A heavy-hearted enchantment whose beautiful bed of harmonies aches from start to finish, as Dupuis and Beesley trade verses of lingering love and long goodbyes.

“It’s about knowing you have to leave, but not wanting the love to end,” Dupuis says. “This one was a really difficult one to sing in the studio with everything going on at the time. It’s dreamy, and melancholy, and has layers upon layers of harmonies. It sounds like something you would hear on the radio in the ’70s.”

“Right now I think “After I Go” is my favorite. It’s the only duet on the EP, and it’s honestly a very sad and melancholy song, but it has this hopeful and breezy feel to it and I love that juxtaposition. I also really love the harmonies.”

Steal me away
From this feeling we call sadness
In the light I thought I knew you
Whos to say that this love it isn’t madness
Will you love me forever Im restless to
So tell me
You’ll love me the same way
Even after
I leave in the dark of night
will you be on my mind

When the moon and stars align
will your heartbeat unto mine

Will you pull me from the shadows
Even after I go
– “After I Go,” Roanoke

As for her lyrical highlights, the frontwoman highlights the first verse of the EP’s penultimate track, “The Reckoning.” “It’s basically me talking to myself, trying to come to terms with the way I was living, and trying to work through my anxiety and some mental barriers. ‘Have you lost yourself looking for another way out? Is it just me, or am I talking to myself? You don’t work so hard, don’t break your back now. It’s a reckoning, and I don’t know how, how I’m supposed to be.'”

Whether you’re seduced by the boldness and charm of “After I Go,” taken by the searing guitars on “So Young” and “Walk on By,” or struck by the sweltering heat of “The Reckoning, Wolf Motel is an undeniable force of musical magic. Roanoke have once again triumphed in creating a soundtrack to life’s little moments: The fleeting feelings that come and go, but mean so much to us when we’re right there in the heat of it all.

Whether you’re mourning a loss, mending a broken heart, searching for the modern reincarnation of Fleetwood Mac or The Eagles, or simply in need of some rich sonic sustenance, Wolf Motel is the kind of timeless record that never gets old: We’ll be playing these songs on repeat for years to come.

Roanoke © Anne Marie
Roanoke © Anne Marie

No doubt this is only the beginning of an exciting new era for Nashville’s Roanoke.

“What I have taken away from recording this is to always choose the music and always trust your gut,” Dupuis shares. “There are so many avenues when it comes to music and everyone always has an opinion, but it’s really important to put the music first and trust your instincts. I really hope that people connect to these songs in a way that brings some sort of light or catharsis to their everyday lives. I hope these songs move and inspire people, and helps them to feel something, anything, because it’s so easy to numb out these days.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Roanoke’s Wolf Motel EP with Atwood Magazine as Taylor Dupuis goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of the band’s latest release!

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:: stream/purchase Roanoke here ::
Stream: ‘Wolf Motel’ – Roanoke

:: Inside Wolf Motel ::

Wolf Motel - Roanoke

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If You’re Gonna Leave

We wrote “If You’re Gonna Leave” on a band writers retreat, before the original members disbanded. We were staying in a cabin in Georgia and John and Kyle, our old bandmates, came upstairs with this killer chord progression and verses. Joey and I came up with the chorus, and I remember the 3 part harmonies echoing through the cabin and realizing we had something really special. It’s one we always see folks singing along to at shows, even if it’s the first time they’ve heard it.

After I Go

“After I Go” is about knowing you have to leave, but not wanting the love to end. This one was a really difficult one to sing in the studio with everything going on at the time. It’s dreamy, and melancholy, and has layers upon layers of harmonies. It sounds like something you would hear on the radio in the ’70s.

So Young

Joey wrote “ So Young,” and I loved it as soon as I heard it. Someone once said it sounded like Fleetwood Mac and The War on Drugs had a musical baby, which I love. It’s about the nostalgic feeling of being young and in love. This is one of my favorite arrangements on the record. It has these great guitar/synth hooks, some guitarmonies, and really fun harmonies.

The Reckoning

I wrote “The Reckoning” on that same writers retreat where “If You’re Gonna Leave” was written. I was going through a lot of anxiety at the time, and coming to terms with the way I was living. I brought it to the band unsure of how it would be received because it was a lot different than our other songs, but it turned into this epic rock ballad. It’s always a really emotional moment for me onstage.

Walk On By

I was listening to a lot of Jefferson Airplane when I wrote this song. I wanted to write this epic, sexy, fast paced rock song, and thus became “Walk on By.” It’s really a statement about female sexuality and women owning that side themselves when oftentimes we are taught to suppress it, or be submissive about it. It’s sort of become my women empowerment anthem, and it’s one of my favorite songs to sing.

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:: stream/purchase Roanoke here ::

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Wolf Motel - Roanoke

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