Larkin Poe – FTC Stage One, Fairfield CT – July 31,2010
Did not expect to be writing a review of this show. So no photos, no interview, didn’t even write down the set list. Not very professional. I was just there to listen to some music. Now I want everyone to know about what I heard.
I was surprised when only 3 members came onstage.
Rebecca Lovell- Vocals, Acoustic Guitar and Mandolin,
Megan Lovell -Dobro, harmony vocals
Daniel Kimbro-Electric Upright Bass.
I do hope nothing nefarious has happened to Mike Seal-guitar or Chad Melton -Drums. On CD Mike and Chad make very large contributions to the overall sound. Their absence never was explained. But then the band seemed to be under the impression none of us had heard of them before. I don’t believe anyone there will soon forget.
Pared down to a trio, I wasn’t sure they could pull it off. How wrong I can be. Opening for Katie Herzig, the all too short set; 45 minutes; was simply beautiful. A testament to the songwriting and musicianship.
Starting off with “Long Hard Fall” Rebecca soared. There is a quality to her voice that is difficult to explain. Songbird sweet, she also has this little growl that grabs you. A cross between Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks? The overly used phrase “she could sing the phonebook” actually applies here. To my ears anyway.
A unique version of the Gospel/Blues ” So I Can Die Easy” followed, which gave them all a chance to shine. They’ve been doing this song since their time as the Lovell Sisters and apparently “practice does make perfect”. Nice solo from Megan on Dobro.
Rebecca claims the first song she ever wrote, “Time to Grow” ? (I’m guessing now, should have written down the set list) is one of only 2 “happy” songs she’s written. Her first effort was a winner out of the gate.
Megan’s “We Intertwine” is very intricately built on CD. Lot’s of small things that build to a climax, with a lovely little denouement. With just three instruments, they managed to pull off an arrangement that was as interesting as the original. It’s one of my favorites from the “Spring ” EP. Essentially a love song, I think she is writing about all the connections we make in our lives. Philosophically a lot deeper than a simple boy/girl song. Jungian synchronicity? Or I could just be blowing smoke, but that’s my interpretation.
Rebecca said she wrote “The Principle of Silver Lining” after reading an article about Aztec beliefs in National Geographic magazine. Hey, it’s a great magazine.
“There is darkness upon us, Darkness is all around, …..
no light for my eyes to be found, ……..
but the darkness is of this forest, the sun obscured by shady wood,
Which God hath made, ………So even the darkness is good,”
Even her dark songs seem to allow for redemption and second chances. That sensual voice though, is pulling us toward that darkness. Like a Siren of sea lore. Were I a sailor, she’d entice me onto the rocks and wreck me.
“Shadows of Ourselves” was in there. ( OK, I should have written down the set list. )
They finished with a Jimi Hendrix cover. They do a few Jimi tunes live. Very well I should add. The bluegrass instrumentation and Jimi’s jamming song style really work. This time it was “Bleeding Heart” off the recent “Valley of Neptune” release. Everyone took a turn soloing, and soaring.
The trio format worked much better than I expected.
Lots of room for Megan to prove she can play that Dobro. Lovely instrument , with a great sound that she takes full advantage of. I’ve had friends say “She’s no Jerry Douglas”. Who is, and so what ? Megan has a fine technique, but where she shines individually is her wonderful tone. She has great ideas and knows how to improvise around a melody. And she can play a mean cover of Jerry’s ” Chocktaw Hayride” by the way.
Daniel Kimbro played like Edgar Meyer channeling Ron Carter. He can hold down the rhythm , play intricate lines behind the melody, and his solos will leave your jaw unhinged.
Rebecca is the frontwoman. A natural. She truly seemed to be enjoying herself, singing her heart out to a small room. Barefoot on stage, she danced while the other two had their moments to shine. Eyes closed, she was getting into the music as much as the rest of us. She plays a fine acoustic rhythym guitar, but she absolutely shines on the mandolin.
And the down home Georgia, glad you came, welcome to our show stage banter is no put on. The audience really did feel at home with this group. The theatre was intimate enough that it felt like someones living room. The crowd took to them right away, and pulled for them. Hearty applause after every song, and most solos.
As important, the band took to the crowd. They won them over. They didn’t expect to be liked. They earned it. They came out humble and in the end had everyone wanting more. The evidence of audience reaction was the crowd around the merchandise table after the set. Looked like everyone bought the EP. Lots of autographs. Some had their picture taken. Compliments flew.
The band looked to be having as much fun meeting their audience. This is a very likeable group. Unpretentious, humble , hard working and above all very talented.
I’d see them again. Suggest you all do to, if you get the chance. They’ll be opening for Ms. Herzig a few more times. Those shows and future tour dates can be found on their web page at http://larkinpoe.com/