Watch: Lori McKenna’s “Numbered Doors”

Stoughton-native makes an album of lingering stories inspired by her time spent in motel rooms


Today, Lori McKenna announces the release of her new acoustic record “Numbered Doors”, available worldwide on September 23, which was live tracked with producer Mark Erelli at Chris Rivals’ Middleville studios.

McKenna says of Numbered Doors, “If Lorraine and Massachusetts were personal records – Numbered Doors is more inspired by those lingering stories. Stories of people I know and characters that I – and my co-writers – have invented. Stories of people I can identify with and people I don’t understand at all.”

The idea for these songs developed while on tour and staying in motels between shows. “It’s fair to say that songwriters spend a good amount of time in motel rooms. We arrive late – after a show. We stare into the trunks of our rental cars wondering what we can safely leave out there in the parking lot and how many instruments we can carry up the stairs without making two trips. We always bring the guitar of course – because motel rooms were made for songwriting,” says McKenna.

The recording process was organic and initially intended for an EP. Producer Mark Erelli and McKenna sat down and tracked 5 songs on the first day. “I was driving to the studio the second day figuring Mark would suggest some overdubs or we’d start mixing when he called me to say – “why don’t we just record 5 more songs and call this thing a record?” And so we did,” said McKenna.

A lot of songs have been written in motel rooms. Of course we know we are there to get some sleep before driving to the next gig, but it’s sometimes hard for a songwriter’s mind to find rest in that room,” says McKenna. “Think of all the stories that started or ended in that room. Think of all the feelings given into and the ones ignored. All the gossip that room could spit out about all the strangers that have come through. Ourselves included. The love made, the promises, the lies, the turning points and last hopes, the prayers.