Steeped in the traditions of Southern roots music the Georgia-bred, Nashville-based Rebecca and Megan Lovell, comprising Larkin Poe, have found their voice. In a genre as storied as American roots and soul, the sister duo have left a mark all their own with the release of their fourth album ‘Venom & Faith.’ Rather than concede to the history of the canon they hold dear or rest on their laurels, Larkin Poe persist and emerge rattling, stomping, and sliding into a modern-day depiction of what roots rock should sound like. Have a listen to “Bleach Blonde Bottle Blues” from the release embedded below.
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Sean Ritchie: Let’s start off with your hometown area of Atlanta, Georgia. What makes it special and home to you? Where would you send a first-time visitor to see the sights?
Rebecca Lovell: Having grown up in the South as musicians, it was such touchstone for us. We’re the first generation of music makers in our family. Our parents raised us spinning up all the classic rock records like Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Black Crows, the Allman Brothers [Band] and more. That was a big part of our musical education. We love Atlanta, it’s still a thriving music city. Not just for the singer/songwriter-rock world, but also a thriving hip-hop scene.
If I was going to send someone somewhere in Atlanta for the very first time, I think they would need to go to The Varsity. It’s really funny, because we’re actually vegan now, but we have such fond memories of going there as kids. The [varsity orange] there are to die for. I would say for the Atlanta experience, go to The Varsity.
Megan Lovell: I would add to that the Coca-Cola museum too. It’s fun to go through there and see the history of the company. There’s also so many great music venues in Atlanta, but our favorite one would have to be Terminal West.
SR: You touched on music always being around in your family, but did you guys start playing music really young? Can you go through the evolution of how you pursued it as a career?
RL: We started out playing classical violin and piano as little, little kids. Our parents actually enrolled us in lessons when I was three and Megan was four. So, music has been something that we’ve done all our lives. It was just another language that we spoke. When we entered our early teens that’s when we picked up blue-grass music. In the South, blue grass, mountain music and the blues are all so intertwined and easily accessible, so it was only natural that we would pioneer our way into roots Americana music. We started our first band at 14-15 years old.
It’s pretty cool, because we never would have imagined reaching out late 20’s never having a different job. Both of our parents, as doctors, are equally surprised. But, it’s really been an amazing way to live. Being that ya’ll focus in on travel, the traveling that we’ve been able to do over the years has been astonishing.
SR: I’m sure, when you started out, that you didn’t even realize how many places your music would eventually take you to. Now, to create music, and traveling to promote it, must be such a feeling. But, what’s the most impactful and meaningful part that you cherish about it? Does the travel help at all inspirationally?
RL: Never! I never would have imagined as a kid, when we first started to dance, the power of a song. I think it takes a few years of adulthood to really grasp the importance that songs have on people’s lives. Songs are with all of us in different stages of our lives. To have written some songs that have actually seemed to touch people, or to sing live and the crowd is singing back to us, is amazing. We’ll meet with fans after shows and they’ll tell us songs helped them through tough times. Those moments are really the most impactful.
ML: I think travel certainly has had impact on our music and lives. It’s really eye-opening and mind-expanding to visit other places and see how other live differently than us. We feel so lucky to step into a different place and place of mind all across the world. We’re very inspired by interacting with people and what they have to say. Also, I would say, travel makes you read, like when we’re in the car for eight hours a day.
SR: You just released ‘Venom & Faith’ in early November. Talk about that release a little bit. How excited are you to have it out and share it with you fans?
RL: We worked really hard on this record. Of all the records that we’ve made, I think this is our favorite. This is the second record Megan and I self-produced together. So when folks listen to this project, they really hear our souls. We poured so much of ourselves creatively into this project. It’s a really accurate snapshot of ourselves as artists at this point in our career. We hope that people appreciate it as much as we appreciated getting to make it for those very people.
SR: To dive into your personal travels, when you have some downtime and want to get away, are you more beach girls, looking more towards the mountains or are you trying to be in the center of a city?
ML: We’re wanting solace. We definitely want to go towards the mountains; we’re mountain girls. Since we grew up at the base of the Appalachian Mountains, I would consider that one of the places I feel the most at peace in. So, Blue Ridge, Georgia or just outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. There are some beautiful mountains there – no place like it. To rent a cabin there for a few days would be the ultimate way to get away from it all.
RL: Sounds dreamy! For me, I would actually go a little bit of a different route. This year we ended up doing a lot more touring around the United States, because we were out on the road with Keith Urban, for his Graffiti U World Tour. We were featured guests. So, we wound up doing a lot more touring across the United States and Canada in a while. I remember when we were actually in New Mexico, we had a couple of days between our time in Albuquerque and our next show in Seattle. But, instead of going to Seattle early, I decided to stay in New Mexico for an extra few days. I was surprised how much I really do love the desert. It’s very unforgiving.
SR: What’s one stark difference between traveling as an artist or for personal reasons?
ML: When we’re touring we have a really different schedule. It’s always from one thing to the next. There’s almost never any time to think. So, unfortunately we have very little time to do touristy things. We sometimes don’t even have time to go out and appreciate the local cuisine. So when we get to tour for personal reasons, it’s nice to actually be able to appreciate the local aspects. We see a lot of the world, we just don’t really get to go down in it as much as we would like.
RL: We’re there for very different reasons, on tour we’re trying to conserve our energy for the show. I think sometimes we underestimate how much energy traveling does take. To do it right you really have to throw some energy at it. When you go on a personal trip you have to be ready to throw it all out.
SR: Definitely! So, everyone has a list of places that they haven’t been to, but still have to hit. What are two or three on both of your lists?
RL: I’ve always really wanted to go to Singapore, because I’ve heard so much about the cleanliness of the city. There’s also a lot of energy put into green spaces there. We’re actually getting the opportunity to go there next year to play for the Grand Prix there. We’re really excited for that!
ML: This is very broad, but I would love to go to South America. We’ve never been anywhere down there. We’ve done so much traveling in Europe and we’ve been to places like Japan, which was number one on my bucket list. Another one that we’re getting to scratch off the bucket list this year is Australia. It’s really exciting!
SR: You mentioned that you read a lot while traveling, but what are some other necessities to help get you through a long car ride or flight? What do you have to have?
RL: I would weigh in with snacks. Snacks are essential for us. We’re big popcorn fans. Just so that your blood sugar doesn’t get too low. Books are a must though. And, hand sanitizer! When you’re traveling you’re picking up germs wherever you go.
ML: I definitely travel with a library. Also, we’re Southern girls, so very cold natured. We need to bring three-billion sweaters and sweatshirts.
SR: When relaxing on a beach or in your downtime are you listening to music? Do you sometimes take a break and listen to nothing?
RL: We alternate between music on the road, but we’re also huge podcast and audiobook people. I would say one of our top podcasts is Radiolab. There’s a great new one called Disgraceland that we’ve been enjoying.
ML: Disgraceland is a music podcast that’s really cool.