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The pandemic period affected artists globally in many different ways. Tennessee-based roots rock sisters Megan and Rebecca Lovell aka Larkin Poe took the creative road and got busy, recording two albums and wrote for a third. We last saw Larkin Poe in Australia for Bluesfest in 2019. They were also due to play Bluesfest 2020 but of course most things for the next couple of years just didn’t happen. Thankfully, we’re back in a position whereby artists can travel to the other side of the world to play music again. To lure those eager international artists back to Australia, promoter Peter Noble has put together an amazing Bluesfest 2023 lineup and Larkin Poe were one of the first to come onboard.

Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips caught up with Megan and Rebecca to chat about the last few years and their return to Australia in March next year for Bluesfest and shows in Melbourne and Sydney. Photos by Jason Rosewarne

You’re finally coming back to Australia and Bluesfest in 2023. We did a phone interview in late 2019 ahead of Bluesfest 2020, which of course never happened because of covid. Where did you spend most of the time during the lockdowns and what did you do with that time?
Oh man, we were so creative. I have to say that the one silver lining of the whole pandemic experience, which still continues to be such a tough thing to process but the one unexpected process was the ability to get into the studio and to release albums that we wouldn’t have recorded or released but for the pandemic. There was our acoustic covers album ‘Kindred Spirits’ and our ensemble collaboration ‘Paint The Roses’ with Nu Deco Ensemble and also beginning to write for the album that is coming out ‘Blood Harmony’ (to be released on November 11).

What are the memories of Bluesfest and your last Australian tour in 2019?
Megan: One, just the incredible lineup, my goodness. There’s a lot of great music and also it was so cool to come to Australia for the first time to play and see so many familiar faces of other artists that we see out on the touring circuit. Also that festival is amazingly well run and it was beautiful to get out and meet some of our Australian peeps and also what a beautiful place. We got a day off to get used to the time zone, time change and we got to walk around the beach. It was just really, really beautiful.

Any changes to your band since you were last here? Same people?
R: Same folks. We’ll have Kevin McGowen on drums and Tarka Layman on bass.

Last time we spoke you were telling me that you’d briefly met Bonnie Raitt but would love to make some music with her. Bonnie is on the Bluesfest bill next year. I guess you’ll be hoping to cross paths again?
M: Oh my goodness. We will have to do our best to not be super-stalky or fan-girly but yes, we’d absolutely love to cross paths and maybe jam with Bonnie. We’re gonna try to lay some schemes.

How do you approach your setlist for a tour like this? Do you decide on the day …  do you like to mix it up?
R: Yeah, we like to mix things up. I imagine when we come over and see you guys in Australia we’ll be supporting the album in full swing, so we’re very excited to have a fresh set list of new songs that will be less than a year old, not having performed them out on the road yet. It is going to be chock full of good high energy bops!


You have a new album out on November 11 called Blood Harmony. We’ve heard the title track and another one, Strike Gold…
R: Yeah, it is a bit confusing the way that Spotify has aggregated some of the singles. It’s actually a full album and we’ve just been releasing singles. Blood Harmony is the title track. Strike Gold is actually a single we released off the album, the newest single. We’re really proud of the super fun video we made for that one. Filmed here in Nashville, Tennessee, it’s a real party.

Why did the track Blood Harmony deserve title status?
M: I think specifically the fact that we are sisters making music together and singing with one another since we were children. To be able to have a title that summarises and speaks to our relationship as sisters is very important to us. We’re proud of the song Blood Harmony. It’s a ballad, it’s a song that was written predominantly for our mother in deference and respect to our mother, who really fostered a deep love of music and specifically singing since we were little kids. So yeah, it’s a beautiful song but I really do feel that Blood Harmony is very descriptive of our relationship as sisters and how we make music together.

What was the thinking behind writing a song called Georgia Off My Mind?
R: It’s a pretty cool thing. We were actually born in East Tennessee and then we grew up in Northern Georgia. About seven years ago, as young adults we decided to move from Georgia back to Tennessee, so it was a little mini-exodus if you will back to the state of our birth. But we identify definitely as Georgia peaches and we’re very proud Georgians. We wanted to write about that transition … with a little bit of a tongue in cheek element in saying that Georgia is off our mind … Georgia maybe off our mind but always in our hearts!

Was the album self-produced this time?
M: Yeah we self-produced. We’ve been self-producing our albums for many years now. It’s been such a great learning experience, figuring out more about ourselves and our voice. This album was a little bit different than the previous four records that we self-produced in that we brought in Tyler Bryant, a great Texas blues musician and Rebecca’s husband, to co-produce. That was a decision we made because we wanted to make it more of a family affair and to bring in some more ideas about how to make the drums super-live and match the energy of our live show. Tyler has been working on his home studio throughout the pandemic so he has some amazing vintage gear and vintage drum sets that we wanted to use for the record and bring in that sort of raw energy that our live show has. It was a great experience making a record in such a cosy place too, you know Rebecca’s home. We were able to feel very comfortable and safe.

Are you good at knowing when a song is done and to leave it alone?
R: Yeah I think so. I think both Megan and myself apply a reductionist school of thought to our recording process. We typically believe that less is more, so once it reaches a certain point in time I think we are very good at just taking our mitts off it and letting it be as it is.

What’s the main thing you know now about recording that you didn’t know the first time you went into a studio?
R: For me the biggest thing that I have learned as a singer in the studio is to not over-work, I think as humans it’s such a temptation to try to perfect yourself, to try to shine yourself up to this excellent high sheen where there’s no humanity left in it and I think that is something we have stepped away from, that I have stepped away from in my vocal performances and just being myself. If you sing something a little bit out of tune or a little bit out of time, that might be the thing that you end up liking the best.

Which of the new songs are coming up well on stage?
M: We’ve actually got to play quite a few of them because two of the songs have been songs we’ve been playing for many years, ‘ Summertime Sunset’ and ‘Might As Well Be Me’ are ones from our set and fan favourites and fans had been requesting that we include them on an album. This time around the setting was right for these songs, so those songs we know go over well live, and we’d actually got to play some of the singles that have been released now. Because we were writing and imagining playing these songs live, they fit very well on stage and we are really excited to form a full set list with these songs because they were made for the set list.


Rebecca you’ve mainly played custom Stratocasters but I see recently a promotional video from Gretsch where you’re playing a red Sparkle Jet. Is that now part of your stage rig?
R: Yeah, I have had that Gretsch for a minute now and I have really enjoyed having differences of tone to flesh out the palette on stage and welcoming the Gretsch to the family.

Does it work well with your usual amp and pedal set up?
R: It works pretty well. I’m still rockin’ a TB Drive by Rodenberg and that pedal makes everything sound better. That’s still the same on my pedalboard. It’s a little bit hotter on gain so I have to be mindful of that.


You’re a player that often uses a capo, in what situations do you find you like to place a capo on the neck?
R: I think specifically if I am trying to play something that sounds best when you play an E chord and some of the blues riffs that are out of the E position. You know, in the style of someone like Jimmy Vaughan who jacked his capo up to the 7th fret. It sounds manic and it brings a lot of energy when you are pitched up that high and playing some of those blues riffs. So I feel like that’s the only time I will use the capo. Having grown up playing acoustic guitar I think that was something I relied on heavily earlier in my tenure as a guitarist. I’ve been doing my best to ween myself off the capo but sometimes stylistically I think it can be an asset.

Megan … any change for you? Rickenbacker slide, Fender Vibrolux and a Tube Screamer?
M: I’ve got my Rickenbacker still of course. I now also play through a TB Drive pedal which is kind of like two Tube Screamers stacked and a Deluxe Fender amp. Plus I have something really exciting which I have been working on for the past year and a half, which is my own lap steel. I love the Rickenbacker so much and I have modified the Rickenbacker so that I can stand and play. Because it is made from bakelite, it is very, very heavy so I started to think, why not make a lap steel that is actually meant for standing. So I have my own lap steel now that I have made in collaboration with Beard Guitars that is a standing lapsteel that pays homage to my Rickenbacker set up. It has that similar look of the holder that I built that went on the Rickenbacker, so it is kinda like the Rickenbacker and the holder put together in the shape of the guitar. It’s got a Lollar custom horseshoe pickup in it. So that’s really exciting and going to be announced and released in the next couple of weeks. (It’s out now, see clip below)

You recently played Willie Nelson’s Outlaw Music Festival, how was that?
R: It was incredible. Just to be able to share the stage in support of one of our biggest heroes, it was a very meaningful experience and so proud to be out on that tour pretty much the whole summer. It was definitely a magical experience.

You have supported so many music legends. What do you learn from being on a bill with people like that, like Willie?
R: What don’t you learn? Some of these artists are individuals who have performed on stage longer than we have been alive so there’s definitely a lot of tips and tricks and tools of the trade that we have picked up over the years, just from the mastery of just being confident on stage, putting yourself out there and not taking yourself too seriously I think has been a big factor. Learning how to stretch out and occupy space on a stage and if you stumble or make a mistake, to lean into it and embrace your humanity and to be larger than life. Also in the case of Willie, this is an individual who is upper 80s, early 90s still crushing it, so to have that as an aspiration as well, to be able to make music deep into our lives is something we absolutely intend to do.

Are there any bucket list projects in the back of your mind that might not be urgent but things you’d like to get to one day?
M: You know we are so lucky to be surrounded by some talented family members like I mentioned before, Tyler Bryant (Rebecca’s husband), who is a guitarist, singer, writer, and my husband Mike Seal is an amazing guitarist too, so I think at some point it would be fun to come together and make a project with all of us. That would be kind of a bucket list thing. Don’t know when, when we have the time. Maybe if we are ever off the road like we were a couple of years ago. I think that would be great.

All Bluesfest Touring artists will be playing Bluesfest Byron Bay next Easter Long Weekend, from Thursday 6th – Monday 10th April 2023. Tickets on sale at

Sunday, 9-Apr-2023 – The Metro Theatre, Sydney
Monday 10-Apr-2023 – Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne


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