The sister duo of Rebecca and Megan Lovell, who make up the band Larkin Poe, have been nothing if not prolific during their career, releasing six full-length studio albums and five EPs, while guesting on a variety of releases by other artists over the past dozen years.
But the sisters say they were able to be more authentic than ever on their current album, Blood Harmony. Ironically, they achieved this clearer representation of themselves by making an album in a very different way from how their other Larkin Poe albums were brought to life in the studio.
In the past, making albums has pretty much been a sister show. Aside from their 2014 full-length debut, Kin, Rebecca and Megan Lovell had self produced their albums and recorded virtually all the instruments themselves, pairing guitars, keyboards and other instruments with programmed beats to create a marriage of organic and synthetic sounds.
But for Blood Harmony, they went old school, using live drums, bringing in members of their touring band and playing live in the studio.
“I do think we’ve been incredibly fortunate to be a band that continues to burn slowly,” Rebecca Lovell said in a recent phone interview. “I think over the years we’ve been allowed the time and space to really spread out and learn the details of how my sister and I work together as a team, what stories we want to tell, how we want to embrace the many different angles of musical interest that we have…
“And I think the years that we’ve spent together working through the many different pathways have led us to a place where with Blood Harmony, specifically, we were able to just be ourselves and to really fully embrace all of the different parts of who we are,” she continued.
Rebecca Lovell isn’t overstating the pair’s extensive musical history. They started out as teenagers in 2005, joining forces with older sister Jessica Lovell in the bluegrass/Americana group the Lovell Sisters. The trio released a pair of albums, toured extensively and made multiple appearances on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion radio show.
The Lovell Sisters disbanded in 2009 when Jessica Lovell decided to go to college and pursue other interests. That’s when Rebecca and Megan Lovell formed Larkin Poe and broadened their sound considerably, going primarily electric and encompassing not only Americana and bluegrass, but rock, pop, blues and soul, with Rebecca Lovell taking on electric guitar, keyboards and lead vocals and Megan Lovell playing a variety of instruments, including lap steel, slide and guitar.
“I think being able to write this album thinking of the stage and being able to carry that live energy into the studio really made a huge difference in the way that this album has taken us leaps and bounds forward creatively,” Rebecca Lovell said.
The way Blood Harmony was recorded means the new songs will translate well to the live stage, although it took some thought, work and creativity for the sisters to craft their current live show.
“One of the hardest things about reworking the set list for the new year is figuring out which songs we’re going to play because at this point we have released a lot of records, pretty much at least one record a year. So we have a lot to pull from,” Megan Lovell said. “The set list this year is going to be a lot off the new record. I think we’re pretty much going to play all of the songs from the new record. And then we’re also going to pull in some old favorites that we’ve been reworking…It’s going to be a really fun and energetic set.”
Larkin Poe performs as part of the Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series at 5 pm, Saturday, Aug. 26, Rodney Strong Vineyards Event Lawn, 11455 Old Redwood Hwy., Healdsburg. Tickets are $69-$89 and available at bit.ly/larkin-poe.