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Larkin Poe shows there's life after band split

Eddie's Attic, Decatur, Ga., July 15, 2011

Reviewed by Sam Gazdziak

Larkin Poe may be a relatively new and very young duo, but Rebecca and Megan Lovell are musical veterans. After all, they spent more than five years recording and touring as two-thirds of the bluegrass group The Lovell Sisters.

That group disbanded in 2010, as oldest sister Jessica got married and went to college. The two youngest sisters, now in their early 20s, took the opportunity to reinvent themselves and form a new band with a completely new sound. This concert showed that the two have become quite comfortable with this new direction.

Larkin Poe takes the sisters' musical background and uses it as a jumping-off point. Megan is a whiz on the Dobro, while Rebecca was the youngest person to ever win a Merlefest mandolin competition, so it only makes sense that many of the songs have a bluegrass feel. However, switch Rebecca to a guitar, Megan to a lap steel and add drummer Chad Melton and guitarist Rick Lollar, and you have a crack roots-rock band.

The sisters switched instruments throughout the evening, showing off the full range of their music. Most of the songs came from the four EPs that Larkin Poe released last year. The sisters wrote every song on them, and they show a real talent for it.

Rebecca's Long Hard Fall is a sprightly, Dobro-driven tune, though the lyrics themselves are about the end of a relationship. Megan's slow and gorgeous We Intertwine was a highlight as well. They also debuted a couple of new songs, including a bluesy Play On that was inspired by Shakespeare's line, "If music be the food of love..." After about 20 songs, the band was clearly having a great time, the crowd was into the music, and the only thing that kept them from playing longer was the fact that they had tickets to a midnight showing of the new Harry Potter movie.

The concert ended up turning into a family affair, as a good portion of the Lovell family - including big sister Jessica, who flew in from Canada - made it to the show. She eventually joined her sisters on stage for a mini-Lovell Sisters reunion, performing Don Williams' We're All the Way.

While a new album from the trio would always be welcome, hopefully it wouldn't come at the expense of the duo. Between their flurry of EPs and their live show, it's clear Larkin Poe is onto something good and is just getting started.

Opening the show was Emily Kopp, a Florida-based singer with a definite lean toward classic Motown and contemporary acts like Adele, and Neulore.

Neulore, an indie-rock band out of Nashville, featured the plaintive vocals of singer Adam Agin. The highlight of their set, Please Don't Leave Quite Yet, has already been featured several television shows.

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