March 12, 2023 Royale Boston by JD Cohen
Larkin Poe is a dynamic and talented band consisting of two sisters, Rebecca and Megan Lovell, who have been making waves in the music industry since their debut in 2010. Their unique sound, which blends blues, rock, and Americana, has captured the attention of both the music industry and music fans alike.
Although you may not have heard of the band Larkin Poe, you may recognize the unusual name. There is a growing buzz about Larkin Poe being a must-see live band. In addition to their reputation as an exciting live act, Larkin Poe’s 4th studio album Venom & Faith was nominated for best Contemporary Blues Album at the 62nd Grammy Awards.
The name Larkin Poe is derived from the Lovell sister’s great-great-great-grandfather, Larkin Poe, who was a distant cousin of Edgar Allan Poe. Rebecca and Megan were born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and grew up in a musical family. Their father was a bluegrass musician, and their mother was a professional dancer. They began playing music at a young age and formed their first band, The Lovell Sisters, when they were teenagers. They quickly gained a following in the bluegrass community.
In 2009, The Lovell Sisters disbanded, and the sisters decided to pursue their musical career together as Larkin Poe. Reformed as Larkin Poe, Rebecca and Megan released their debut EP, “Spring,” in 2010, which featured five original tracks. The EP was well received, and they were quickly signed to the indie label, RH Music. They followed up with two more EPs, “Thick as Thieves” and “Killing Time,” in 2011 and 2013. In the years that followed Larkin Poe’s reputation and following continued to grow with help from a series of events that would bring them national exposure. In 2014, producer T Bone Burnett tapped the sisters to record harmonies and instrumentation on The New Basement Tapes‘ album Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes. In that same year Larkin Poe performed at the Glastonbury Festival, which resulted in them being named “best discovery of Glastonbury”. More critically acclaimed albums, a collaboration with Elvis Costello and a Grammy nomination pushed the band even further into the spotlight.
Larkin Poe’s musical style is a blend of blues, rock, and Americana, with a touch of southern gothic. The sisters’ powerful vocals, combined with their impressive guitar, slide and mandolin skills, create a sound that can be at times rugged, haunting and mesmerizing, it can also be polished, melodic and radio friendly . Their music is deeply rooted in the blues, and they often pay homage to blues legends like Robert Johnson, Lead Belly, and Son House.
Following the release of “Blood Harmony” in November Larkin Poe announced a major 27 date US tour that kicked off in Ashville on January 20th.
The 2023 US tour brought Larkin Poe to Boston’s 1,000 capacity Royale Theatre on March 12 where the band performed to an almost sold out crowd.
If you happen to look on Youtube you will find a lot of people losing their minds over how good Larkin Poe is live in concert and the 90 minute set did not disappoint the attentive but enthusiastic audience. The audience was filled with many first timers, as demonstrated by a show of hands when Rebecca asked how many were seeing the band for the first time. The crowd was also a healthy mix of men and women of various ages.
The sisters have built on almost two decades worth of musical history together. Coming from Atlanta, Georgia and now residing in Nashville, Tennessee, their roots have shaped their songs with an enduring passion for the deep South.
Playing as a quartet for the current tour, the Larkin Poe band consists of Rebecca Lovell on lead guitar, sister Megan playing lap steel, and Nashville based touring/session musicians Ben Satterlee on drums and Tarka Layman on electric bass.
The band has been playing the same setlist since the beginning of the tour and the show is tight, well-choreographed and well-rehearsed. Most songs played are from the recent album and many of those songs have a southern, country rock flavor. The songs are well crafted and often feature Megan and Rebecca’s beautiful harmonies, which enhance their skillful playing. Younger sister Rebecca plays the role of band leader on stage and her energy, enthusiasm and charisma is infectious.
Great live bands make an audience feel special and convey a certain authenticity for what is happening on stage in the moment. Regardless of how many times the band has played the same songs, walked through the same choreography, and delivered the same stage banter the entire show felt fresh and exciting. Both Lovell sisters are captivating, and their positivity shines through, even as they deliver some down and out blues.
The show kicks off with three songs from the new “Blood Harmony”, which will be prominently featured throughout the 15 song set. As the show progresses the band only seems to pick up steam and by the time they launch into the emotional and exquisite “Mad As A Hatter” they have hit a whole new gear you didn’t see coming. The entire show was a high energy affair, highlights came late in the set with “Bad Spell”, a dirty blues rocker that sounds reminiscent of the “White Stipes ” Seven Nation Army”. “Wanted Woman – AC/DC” from 2018’s Peaches followed, a blues infused rocker and the last song, “Bolt Cutters & the Family Name” off the new album is a blues rock banger.
It’s rare to see a band that has been around as long as Larkin Poe and is as polished as they are able to convey their level of energy and enthusiasm. The connection Megan and Rebecca have creating music together clearly translates to their live performance and also works for them on stage. The band has not been afraid to experiment and there are several different directions Larkin Poe can go as they continue to grow and evolve. Whatever direction they choose, I hope Larkin Poe continues to include plenty of bluesy guitar, passionate vocals and nasty lap steel that the Lovell sisters and Larkin Poe do so well .
- Strike Gold
- Kick The Blues
- Summertime Sunset
- Preachin’ Blues
- Georgia Off My Mind
- She’s a Self-Made Man
- Southern Comfort
- Holy Ghost Fire
- Bleach Blond Bottle Blues
- Blue Ridge Mountains
- Mad As A Hatter
- Might As Well Be Me
- Bad Spell Wanter Woman – AC/DC
- Bolt Cutters & The Family Name
Deep Stays Down
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