Larkin Poe explains why Blood Harmony is a family affair

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Everyone knows what a family is. A string tied around the waist to remind us that we belong somewhere – a gravitational reminder to the hottest place in our memories. Everyone feels an overwhelming connection to someone, a love for them so intense, that they must be part of the family. Megane and Rebecca Lovell know the feeling. For the title of their next album, they boiled it down to two words: ‘blood harmony‘.

“People used to say we had this ‘blood harmony,’ because we’d been singing together as a family for years, so it was an appropriate title,” says lap-steel virtuoso Megan, half of Larkin Poe. “The [album] The title is taken from the song itself and Rebecca had written it thinking of our mother, sitting at the piano and singing with us, and how these traditions are passed down from generation to generation. It is a very soft and touching sensation. We wanted to incorporate all of that into the whole record, because it’s a family affair. It is us, the sisters, who self-produce the disc as we did with the last ones.

If there’s one thing more personal than writing songs for an album, it’s also producing it. 2020s Self-taught man was the expression of an exclusive trust between sisters. Excitement builds from the first roar of power chords, as if each song is fired from a cannon (one song is aptly named He’s a self made man). And it all ties together like a self-produced record – for something as personal as being in a band together, the roots-rock duo might as well do the whole process.

But blood harmony is a different kettle of fish. It’s an open book on trust between sisters, parents, husbands, cousins. It’s a celebration of every part of the family – so they got involved. Rebecca’s husband, rising blues-rock phenomenon Tyler Bryant, co-produced the album and Megan’s husband helped produce the keys. While Rebecca recorded vocals, guitar and keyboards and Megan provided lead vocals, lap steel and guitar resonator, they also had longtime band members Kevin McGowan on drums and Tarka Layman on lead vocals. low.

“I mean, being a sister band, I’m sure people are intrigued about it – especially those who have siblings because they know how strained the relationship can be at times,” says Rebecca, also on the phone from Nashville. “I think we’ve been very bold in bringing closer relationships into the creative process, because the creative process can be tricky, difficult and taxing, especially if you’re trying to balance a multitude of creative opinions with the creative process. ‘ego.”

The result, recorded mostly at Rebecca and Tyler’s home studio, is both electrifying and fearless, yet gruff and offhand.

“Bringing my husband into millet was really fun – like, we ended up having an amazing time working together,” Rebecca continues. “There were some tough times when we were in the valley of indecision and didn’t know how to proceed, and that can be frustrating, but overall I think it was an incredibly joyful experience – and I really cherish.

“To be able to create memories with two of the people I hold dearest in the world. It’s very, very special. And very fluid too – Megan and I have such respect for traditional American music and I share that same bond with my husband.

Rebecca explains how she and Tyler formed their relationship from a mutual passion for the blues – how they traded Alan Lomax records back and forth – and how it became a pillar of shared understanding.

“To get him to make an album, it feels like a big party.”

Larkin Poe

Georgia in my head

The foundations of this record go back to Atlanta, Georgia, where the duo grew up. It all comes together like a wave of nostalgia. If you close your eyes and listen to the rumbling bass of the opening song Deep stay down or the snap of Georgia out of my mind, you can almost taste the flavor of the country air. But it’s really a peak of memories they shared as sisters. Like their mother teaching them classical music or their father playing them classic rock gems from his record collection.

“Our brotherhood is definitely the axis that everything – in our group, our business and our relationships – revolves around,” says Rebecca. “So to be able to have had such a close bond with a brother and to have spent so many years not only spending time together but being part of Larkin Poe now for over ten years and actively working on our relationship, it continues to bear fruit. I feel like our working relationship as sisters is surprisingly balanced, but it’s something we’ve been working on a lot.

It’s been a long time since Larkin Poe debuted in 2016, so there’s been plenty of opportunity to agree on where to go next. Under blood harmonyThe heartwarming portrait of the house is a wave of blues, jazz, country and other small samples of music that the Lovells love.

“I think whenever my sister and I made the decision in 2017 to start self-producing our albums, we were able to play much more exactly in that abstract way; okay, we’re not limited by genre and we’re not trying to get a yes or a no from a producer in control,” says Rebecca. “We are able to diversify and represent all the different angles of who we are as songwriters and musicians. We’re like everyone else – and increasingly that means listening to every record under the sun. This is something that I find so liberating.

“In today’s industry, people can line up for the music of their choice and go from hip hop, to blues, to traditional jazz, to bluegrass, to Americana, to thrash rock, to black metal, and it’s all tied together under the larger umbrella of creative expression. Particularly with this album, I think becoming more comfortable with who we are means letting our roots shine through and feeling comfortable sending it back to the world. where we come from, which is so much music that my sister and I grew up loving.

“We make more traditional American music with blues and Americana and old school gospel and soul and music that speaks to the heart, while being 90s kids and loving pop. So trying to marry the different aspects of our interests with this album was much more liberating.

Larkin Poe

Hat trick

It’s hard to believe that Larkin Poe has always been confident in his style and direction. No one should believe that about anyone. Good enough, the sisters have a YouTube series full of cover performances called “Tip O’ The Hat.” It’s gone viral a few times over the past two years, like when a 2021 video of the pair playing Pink Floyd’s wish you were Here reached almost a million views. In any case, it’s the perfect springboard to where they were and where they are today.

“For us, it’s really a learning tool,” Megan said above the line. “It’s like a way for us to stay fresh and learn other people’s riffs. And it really taught us more about our own sound, oddly enough. As the two of us were just sitting around, learning how to perform songs in a very stripped down way, we really developed our own voices. And it’s been over the last five years that the combination of self-producing, playing a lot of live shows – other than a year-long covid break, we’ve been constantly touring – and playing these stripped-down covers, that’s brought a lot of influence.

“I mean, learning some of these amazing hits – we play a lot of songs from the 60s and 70s – we figured out who we are because when you’re performing something stripped down on camera, you really can’t hide. .behind anything. So we knew when we embarked on creating this album that we wanted to approach it in the way that the song should stand on its own. In fact, we sat in my sub- floor and wrote and performed the songs and if they couldn’t be performed by the two of us, stripped down, unadorned, they weren’t going to be recorded.

Even a free-spirited album like blood harmony is not without crisp challenges. A song pushing in a different direction or a new songwriting approach seems like a good place to start, or finding ways to create something better than the last project might be another.

Rebecca chimed in, “I feel like Deep stay down was a song where we really pushed ourselves.

“I was going to say this song,” Megan agreed. “It was such a challenge for us.”

Deep stay down was a challenge precisely because as a songwriter, when you strip a song down to its essential components, you end up with the melody and the lyrics,” Rebecca continued. “And my sister and I arranged Deep stay downlike, eight ways – we tried a hoedown, uptempo, kind of a jazzy, super cinematic, moody situation – we tried it in a lot of different styles.

“I think Larkin Poe five years ago wouldn’t have had the patience or the toolbox of skills to be able to keep re-approaching and knowing that we like the core elements of the song, but we didn’t found the right arrangement again. And the patience to stick with it is something that I’m incredibly proud of us in this recording process – for really upping our game. And the way that song ultimately landed, to me, is a really interesting and edgy production. It really kinda goes on low for most of the song and it’s only in the last thirty, forty seconds that it really kicks in. And I think that’s a particularly interesting moment on the album.

It’s very intriguing to spot that hit in the middle of the record between familiar, unblemished lore and fresh new takes. The idea that Larkin Poe took something so revered and special in their lives and reworked it so that it not only retains its value, it renews it. It presses tiny challenges into the folds. And such a mix of nostalgia and change doesn’t seem to work on the box, but it’s a seamless collaboration.

“Our decision to stay Deep stay down right from the start of the record,” laughs Rebecca before adding, “it’s just nice to be able to raise a point – to tell our fans that they’re going to have their ears opened – but that they’re going to join us on a journey creative by making bolder moves on this album.

blood harmony comes out November 11 Tricki Woo Records.

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