Running a publication in Nashville means attending countless concerts.
Music City is a mecca for live music and entertainment, beckoning artists from all genres, genders, and walks of life to grace our grab-bag of stages. I have found myself overwhelmed and underwhelmed at different points in my two years in the birthplace of country music, occasionally, though a show has blown me away.
Larkin Poe‘s Blood Harmony show last Friday was one of those occasions.
Attending a show at the Brooklyn Bowl always comes with a sense of warmth, if not on account of the nostalgic sounds of pins dropping and high-fives clapping, then for the belligerent, hairy men that always end up standing entirely too close to me; needless to say, it’s an intimate venue.
I have found that few entertainers who have taken the stage at the Brooklyn Bowl can give the “big” show listeners expect while still maintaining the intimacy of the space.
Larkin Poe accomplished it effortlessly. At times, I was not entirely convinced that they didn’t own the whole damn building.
Though sisters Megan and Rebecca Lovell began their music careers in 2005, their momentum has increased significantly recently. Not that they haven’t been worthy of the attention in previous years, it’s because collectively, listeners are slowly getting fed up with computer-generated music, auto-tune, and lack of true talent. Enter Larkin Poe; they are masterful musicians, vocalists, and authentic entertainers.
Performing songs from their latest album, Blood Harmony, the Lovell sisters took the stage with such presence and pure childlike joy that you could never accuse them of not being in love with what they do.
Rebecca Lovell bounces around on stage with an excited grin as her fingers chaotically and strategically travel up and down the neck of her guitar. At one point, her endearing and contagious energy resulted in a brief tumble over a floor monitor. Unfazed, she not only took the fall in stride but continued playing from the floor until the next break in the song. “That’s only the second time I’ve fallen onstage in my career,” she laughingly told the crowd, “I hope someone caught that on camera!”
Pan to older sister, Megan, busy methodically shredding on her lap steel with all the swagger of the blues legends of old, only taking pause between songs to lovingly acknowledge the difficulties Nashville faced just days before in the wake of the Covenant School shooting. With a calming and humble spirit, Megan reminded the crowd the importance of mental health, self-care and connection. It would have been easy with such a lively set to blow past such topics but Larkin Poe proved that their depth of awareness and introspection stretches far beyond their lyrics.
Providing both new and nostalgic material, the ladies continued with singles like “Bad Spell,” “Holy Ghost Fire,” “Deep Stays Down,” and my long-time favorite “Bleach Blonde Bottle Blues,” before taking a shot of Southern Comfort ahead of performing their single of the same name.
Larkin Poe owned the stage in all the seeming cliche ways that performers can. Connecting with the audience, pouring out decades of blood, sweat, and tears in songs, and even paying homage to their beloved genre. It is abundantly clear that they are on an organic mission to keep the blues alive, understood, and relevant to the younger generation.
It was their music, after all, that inspired me to follow my dreams of recording an album back in 2020. Undoubtedly, they have inspired countless other young women who crave authenticity and find themselves a little too gritty for their pop and polished peers.
Check out Larkin Poe on the Blood Harmony tour in one of the cities below.