Larkin Poe on “Self Made Man”

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Lots of us have claims to famous ancestors, but few of us can claim to be related to someone as influential as Edgar Allan Poe. Rebecca and Megan Lovell are two of the few people who can say such a thing, and they’ve followed in their ancestor’s creative footsteps. Larkin Poe is a gritty, guitar-driven duo with a catchy, truly unique sound.

Larkin Poe has released four albums since 2014, all self-produced. Their latest album, Self Made Man, was released on June 12, with a title track, “She’s A Self Made Man,” that’s all about freeing oneself from other people’s opinions.

Being descendants of Edgar Allan Poe, did you feel pressured to be creative growing up?

ML: We actually didn’t find out that we were related to Edgar Allan Poe until we were well into our teens, though we did grow up reading and loving the southern gothic flavor of his works. We definitely didn’t feel pressured to be creative; it was just something we naturally gravitated towards.

How is it being in a musical duo with your sister? Do you find it more or less challenging in any way compared to if you had gotten into the industry with a non-relative?

RL: Being sisters is the axis upon which everything else turns. Our relationship is so special, and we feel very grateful for it. We truly are a team and work together really well, in spite of the natural button-pushing that siblings can sometimes get tripped up on. 

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How do you separate your musical lives from your personal lives with one another, if at all?

ML: We’ve always been a package deal, and that extends from our musical lives into our personal lives. We do live in separate houses with our individual spouses, but are constantly hanging out as best friends and working as business partners.  

You describe your sound as gritty and soulful rock ‘n’ roll, flavored by your Southern heritage. What attracted you to this kind of music?

RL: We grew up loving southern rock—our parents were always spinning great records, anything from the Allman Brothers to Lynyrd Skynyrd—so that sonic palette has always been a part of our lives. Also, since we were born in east Tennessee, the land of Dolly Parton, and raised in northern Georgia at the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, we have been surrounded by roots music from a young age. It’s in our blood.

Is your family supportive of your idea to be full-time musicians? If so, were they always?

ML: Our family is very supportive of us, although I think they never would have expected that we would be professional musicians. Maybe they get a little nervous for us, being out on the road all the time and in a very competitive, unusual career, but they’re our biggest champions.

Your album Self Made Man is entirely self-produced. That must give you a little more room to play around with your sound and brand between albums. Do you think this is your forever sound, or could you see yourselves branching into a different style of music in the future?

RL: Our last three albums have been self-produced, and we have found the experience so gratifying and freeing. Since we are sisters, we can move together very quickly in the studio—there’s so much of our communication that’s nonverbal—and the albums, Peach, Venom & Faith, and Self Made Man have been our proudest, most authentic (and most well-received!) albums. Being in the studio is like solving a musical puzzle, and there’s a lot of joy and satisfaction when you step back after months of work to see the whole picture. We feel that we’ve found our voice with this Larkin Poe sound, though we don’t feel pinned down to a single genre. We tend to move between and blend a few genres while staying true to our love of roots music.

The chorus of your title track is about not caring what other people think. Have you found people have lots of opinions about your career choice or music style?

RL: “She’s A Self Self Made Man” is really about self-reliance and empowerment. Our folks raised us to be hardcore “do-it-yourselfers,” and we’ve really taken it to extremes in the past few years—other than self-producing our albums, we launched our own record label a few years ago and have been working really hard to realize our dreams. “She’s A Self Made Man” is really a response to a sense of self-empowerment that has been building for years. If you put your mind to something, are true and sure of yourself, and in a mind to ignore the naysayers, it’s amazing what you can accomplish and push yourself to do.

You’re both multi-instrumentalists. Do you each play different instruments? Which ones?

ML: We started playing classical violin and piano as little kids. In our early teens, we got involved in bluegrass, dropped our classical lessons, and Rebecca picked up mandolin, guitar, and banjo. I became obsessed with dobro before plugging into the lap steel as our sound evolved. We both get by on keys, and Rebecca programs all the drums and synth bass for the records.

With the state of today’s climate due to COVID-19, musicians have had to cancel shows and now adjust to a new way of life. What have you been doing during this time to stay connected with fans and to prepare for getting back on the road when possible?

RL: Like so many other artists, we’ve had our entire extensive spring and summer tours canceled, but we’ve just had to roll with the punches that 2020 has thrown. Putting more energy into social media and live stream shows has been our way of coping and connecting with our fans during the ongoing postponement of our tour dates. We’ve been hosting a “Home Sweet Home” Livestream from Megan’s guest bedroom, and the resonance we have found with our fans has been extremely rewarding. We feel grateful to be able to connect with folks during the quarantine.

Self Made Man tracklist

  1. She’s a Self Made Man
  2. Holy Ghost Fire
  3. Keep Diggin’
  4. Back Down South (ft. Tyler Bryant)
  5. Tears of Gold
  6. God Moves on the Water
  7. Every Bird that Flies
  8. Scorpion
  9. Danger Angel
  10. Ex-Con
  11. Easy Street
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