Larkin Poe is the most recent & popular American folk/rock/country/ blues group. If the young women have been touring for 10 years already with 4 albums to their credit, they have in reality been bathed in music since their earliest childhood. Before Larkin Poe they were already kicking as The Lovell Sisters with their 3rd sister Jessica. If the group is preparing the shows for the new album “Self Made Man” scheduled on June 12, the Covid-19 outbreak raises concerns about the international tour meant to start this summer. Confined too, it was on this occasion that we were offered an exclusive phone interview !
(L’interview traduite en Français se trouve ici)
(Note : because of the phone quality, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate the voice of Rebecca and Megan, in case of doubt we just put Larkin Poe when we’re not sure ! Also, unsure element are indicated in [ ] as we try to keep the transcription as much close as possible ! Don’t hesitate to post a comment we will correct !)
So how are you doing with the lock-down ?
Larkin Poe : We’re doing good ! I mean it’s a little shock because we where supposed to be kicking off a trip to Australia, then New-Zealand, then a 30-date European tour. But we are happy to be healthy and safe at home and we’re looking forward to get back to rocking !
Yeah we hope you’ll be touring soon, I saw you were programmed in couple of festival in France… About that, how was your first french show in Paris ?
Larkin Poe : Oh my gosh ! Amazing ! Honestly, it was one of our favorite headline show of the European Tour, that we kicked of last spring in 2019 we played… I’m gonna butchered the pronunciation… “Maroquiné” or something ? (it’s indeed “La Maroquinerie” a well reputed venue in Paris 🙂 ). The French sold out the show, and the energy was beautiful in the room, and we are looking forward to coming back !
Larkin Poe : Yeah it was unexpected because we haven’t played in France very much and it was our first headline show in Paris. It sold out very quickly so we where surprised, we loved it !
“We headline in Paris and she show was Sold Out ! The energy of the crowd was impressive !”
So did you visit Paris ?
Larkin Poe : We’ve been to Paris several time before, it’s such a romantic city, it’s a really special place to be. Whenever we come back for a show it’s gonna be a joyous occasion !
Which french artist do you know ?
Rebecca : Edith Piaf of course ! and another…hold on… a female musician, she did a Jeff Buckley cover… she has a low-voice and she was also a supermodel… Oh yeah It’s Francoise Hardy !
At what age and how did you start learning music ?
Megan : We both started about 3 years old, it’s fairly young, and we played classical violin and piano. Then we discovered American Root Music, by going to a root-festival here in southern US and we fell in love and that’s why we picked up our guitar / banjo / mandolin and went apart of our classical musical instrument. That’s when we really began our musical journey I believe.
And the Lap Steel Guitar (Dobro) ?
Megan : Let’s see… I discovered Dobro when I was probably 13/14 and I heard Jerry Douglas playing. I was immediately in trance by the sound of slide, it really is the person I would think the most, learning all of his solos and pretty much everything that he put out, and from there I kinda branch it out intro Lap Steel, I switch from acoustic to electric listening to a lot of [David Lennely] and Brian May (Queen), a lot of player who play melodically and learning everything by ear, learning all the solos by ear.
The first band that put you into stage was The Lovell Sisters with you sister Jessica, what souvenir you keep from this period ?
Rebecca : Honestly I think it was just a gift to be begin touring at such this young age. Even so it was unusual, we didn’t think it was unusual at the time. Our parent were very supportive to let us go on stage -they weren’t stage parents-, they were very supportive of wanting to play our music in front of people. Having started touring so young, it enabled us to discover our passion at a very young age, and to commit to making music as a living at a very young age that’s an experience we’ve been able to honor.
I’m 29 now and we’ve been touring since we were 15, so it’s a lot of experience here that we feel very appreciated for, it allowed us to understands who we are, and condition at our young age for the hard journey that is making music for a living. It was very idealistic to be so young and allowed to do our school to the road, while also pursuing the thing that made us today : to play songs we have written for people.
When we started Larkin Poe in 2010 that Megan and myself really committed to the idea of being touring musician. And knowing exactly what we where getting into when we where committing, knowing exactly in what we where getting into : making records and touring. We knew deeply to our core that it will be very exciting to do for the rest of our life.
Megan : I guess we played so many amazing show, I remember playing with the Grand Old Opry 3 times as The Lovell Sisters. To be able to play a show like that in like a classic theater. I really hold that in my memory, as a special time.
Your last album (“Venom And Faith”) was recorded in Nashville Tennessee, where did you record the new album (“Self Made Man”) ?
Rebecca : The last 2 album we made (“Peach“, “Venom And Faith“) and now “Self Made Man” were all recorded in the same studio actually, in the neighborhood of Nashville. We recorded in a studio album called [Belt and recording] with our dear friend and good buddy Roger Alan Nichols engineering the album. It’s been so exciting the make the album in the same space. Looking back and remembering stepping out with Peach and it was the first album that Megan & I decided to self produce together as sisters and it was such an exciting time we were like going crazy to have the freedom do our own record and I was so proud of that album and moving in the same space and having a very similar process of recording we felt we [home did out] with Peach, and we felt very comfortable. We bring our sisters and brother for the record, and felt all very comfortable with Roger engineering the record. It went together so well and the sound we fell very proud of and the response of that album and also with our fan.
And also our album being nominated for the Grammy and we felt so empowered to be on the road preparing Venom And Faith. Recording and preparing Self Made Man and to combine the experience of the previous 2 album into the process for it, it just feels so natural and organic. I think of all the album we have made, Self Made Man is the one I’m most proud of we did a incredibly good job. We got 13 song , I think it will be ready for people and fan and I’m so excited !
What is your source inspiration in general ? And what keeps you inspired to keep playing music ? Also how do you involve your live additional musician ?
Larkin Poe : Yeah we your with Tarka Layman (bass) and Kévin McGowan (drums) but in the studio it’s a little bit unconventional, but both Megan and myself pretty much play everything on the record that is part of our empowerment movement we play keyboard to the bass and I often time program drum track together using non traditional sound. Instead of a traditional drum kit in studio we actually gather a sound library of drums and clap ! A week pile we knocking floor all of the sound to create better sound on the album record, making the process by pushing creativity to its limit. One day I think we’ll make a record with the full band in studio but for the past 2 record including Self Made Man we had too much fun and the band members being Megan and I it would be hard to bring other members in.
To be honest with you, the inspiration of Self Made Man has come the extend of touring 2018/2019 following the release of “Venom And Faith” it was incredibly hard for very long we tour 40 country playing music and we met so different people from different cultures and it all come together to experience music as a group, it was just an overwhelming experience being on the road, travelling so far.
Also we had never sold-out date which we had never really experienced that before and having audience that show up and singing along on all of the song. Every song we were playing they knew the lyrics. That changed our perspective of what what a performance is and what it all means. We felt such a connection to the audience, that writing for his record we really want to write from that perspective as well. Thinking of these songs be just our song but as our audience and our fan as well. We could imaging singing together and Rebecca is the main songwriter she the writing process just song she stared amazing heard it for the 1rst time I was blown away.
So we are about the half of the interview, I ask some fans to tell me some question I should ask you… so I choose some of them !
Larkin Poe : Oh nice !!
Is “Tricki Woo” (your record label) a reference to a certain pampered pooch in James Herriot’s books (All Creatures Great and Small, etc.) ?
Larkin Poe : (both laughing) OH YES !!!!!!!! How do… That’s incredible !! Yes that’s we got the inspiration ! That’s a very smart fan !
Indeed ! What is the craziest gift a fan gave you ?
Rebecca : I know !! We played a show in Los Angeles in an incredible theater, and before the show we did a Meet-And-Greet, so we hang out with some of the fans before the show, so it’s such a great way to connect in, and hang out with people. And someone brought a brownie-cake build into the shape of Megan Lap-Steel Guitar… and you know our mother always told us not to accept candy from strangers, and we disobey our mother brownie cake, it was incredible !
Megan : It was a very accurate representation of the lap steel, there was the pick guard, the tuning , volume knob, and all different candy and marshmallow and sweets. So I think that probably take the lead of any gift given !
What is the thing you never done but want like hell to do ? I don’t know like parachute or bungee jumping stuff like that ?
Larkin Poe : …wow… anything…!
To go on the moon ?
Rebecca : I would love to hike the Appalachian Trail, it’s a trail on the eastern seaboard, it’s an incredibly long trail/hike but we tour so much it would be hard to allow enough higher trail something in my life i would like to do.
Megan : I would love to spend some time in Japan, because when we tour we don’t get to do a lot of sightseeing… we don’t have enough time. I would like to spend more time in Japan !
Ok the next one is formulated this way : “Ask the slide queen if she changes her tuning for her cover of “Sleepwalk” ?”
Megan : Well, it’s my usual tuning ! The tuning for the original version is a pedal steel tuning but I just pick how to play in my own tuning ! So I play in “Open E Tuning” (EBEG♯BE) that’s what I play most of the time.
For Rebecca why do you rarely uses that red melody maker. It’s such a great sounding guitar” .
Rebecca : It is and incredible guitar !! It’s not mine, it’s actually Tyler’s (note : Rebecca’s boyfriend), when we first began dating I started borrowing all of his guitar because the man collect guitar like you wouldn’t believe and our home we have a room of 80 guitar. It’s crazy how many guitar Tyler had. And when we first began dating I commonly borrowed one of his Jazzmaster, it’s a special guitar because his first guitar was stolen. Then I fall in love with his Stratocaster so I took it. It kind of became mine, he let me took it on the road but I actually have mine as a replica now, and I’m not allowed to take anymore of his guitar cause I just completely stole that guitar from him. I exceed my quota of guitar from Tyler’s… ! (laughs)
Did you enjoyed the recent Rock Legends Cruise and what bands did you watched when you were not performing ?
Rebecca : I have to say I was surprise on the Rock Legends Cruise , I’d say Sebastien Bach (Skid Row)…I didn’t expect that… Sebastian Bach is a hair-metal guy, and he was killer !! I was so entertained by his show it was really really fun ! I’ve also seen Nancy Wilson from Heart perform, she was incredible.
Megan : I really enjoyed Roger Daltrey !
“Waren Haynes came to see us backstage in Las Vegas ! He’s the best Country-music Singer out here !”
Have you ever worked with Warren Haynes ?
Larkin Poe : Oh man… we have not worked for Warren Haynes… last year we played a festival out in Las Vegas called the Big Blues Bender and we played right before Warren. And he came to our dressing room and he we very very kind and said hello ! We’re so thrilled because we are huge fan of his music. He’s the best country music singer/player out there. It’s just an incredible force !
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“Do they have pet names for each other and if so what are they ?”
Rebecca : (Laughs) We do ! When we where little children, Megan and I where incredibly close ever since we were little we where kind of a package-deal and so we had matching nickname ; we where called “Moo” and “Boo” (laughs) Even now I have created an adult version of Moo for Megan, so she is now “Moogle” (note : a character in Final Fantasy) and when we went to Japan for the first time, we learnt the suffix “san” (note : “sir” or “miss” in Japanese) , so her nickname is now Moogle-San ! Megan what’s your pet name for me ?
Megan : I normally call her for Boo or Bec.. or Ribba !
“Ask them if they’ve been to Larkin Poe’s wife’s grave site in Alabama. I have. Have pictures but don’t know how to contact them.”
Larkin Poe : wow ! We’ve never been to his grave site. They have a family cavern historical landmark close to where we live and grow up in Chickamauga battlefield in Nothern Georgia there’s a poe family cavern which is pretty cool to visit, there’s photos of Larkin Poe we got everyone to see actual Larkin Poe they should go and visit the family cavern !
(Interview time is now over)
So, is there an new official video coming soon ?
Larkin Poe : Holy Ghost Fire !
We’d like to thank LARKIN POE for that sweet interview. We hope the outbreak will stop soon and that they will be able to tour again !
Thanks to REPLICA PROMOTION for the interview proposal ! (Date of interview : 06 April 2020)
Just a few notes: their earlier album is “Venom and Faith” (not Space); the trail is called the Appalachian Trail (it follows the mountains of that name, but it’s not a name encountered very often in France, I would think); and Tyler is Rebecca’s husband. This from a fan who is not necessarily very smart (thank you, Rebecca and Megan!) but has read more than a few books over the years.
Ah yeah Thanks ! Probably transcribe this one a little bit too quickly and didn’t re-check ! It’s corrected now thanks to you 😉