2021 – Tricki-Woo Records
By Phillip Smith; Oct. 23, 2021
I’m always excited to hear about new music from Larkin Poe. I’ve been a fan of this duo since hearing them open for Elvis Costello at the Paramount Theater in Cedar Rapids, Iowa five years ago. The original songs Rebecca Lovell and Megan Lovell write are beautiful, sometimes intense, and cut deep to the bone. Lead vocalist/guitarist Rebecca captivates me with her beautiful, yet fearless voice. The vocal harmony she shares with lap-steel wizard Megan is magical.
Paint the Roses is a seven-track release which Larkin Poe recorded live at the North Beach Bandshell in Miami, Florida on December 12, 2020 with the orchestral backing of Nu Deco Ensemble. Once I heard their new take on Bessie Jones’ “Sometimes” which also appears on their 2018 Venom & Faith album, I knew I was in for a real treat. The infusion of clapping hands, strings, and horns took me to church in a big way. Next up on the track list is “Back Down South” an original off their 2020 album Self Made Man. Megan’s lap slide is performed with perfect precision as Rebecca rips it up on guitar and delivers the song with her enchanting voice. It sounds fantastic with the enrichment of the Nu Deco Ensemble as the song takes a dip into the Allman’s “Blue Sky” for a brief intermission. Before diving into a four-track superfecta of songs, all off Self Made Man, Larkin Poe introduces a new song called “Mad as a Hatter”, which I absolutely adore. The pulse of this homage to Alice in Wonderland runs with a rapid pace, and dips momentarily into psychedelic territory. “Every Bird That Flies” is such a beautiful song, and surely earns its wings with the accompaniment from the ensemble. I love the slow build-up of tension accomplished with the instrumentation, which is then then slowly released to send the song skyward. Larkin Poe closes out the show in an amazing performance of “She’s a Self Made Man”. Cloaked in a horn-laden suit, this hard blues-rocker is a perfect fit for a future 007 theme song.
I knew I would like Paint the Roses, but I was surprised at just how much I liked it. This is surely a record folks will want to add to their collection.