May 31, 2012
These days, Megan still plays the lap steel and Rebecca wields an acoustic guitar and mandolin, but the three musicians backing them with electric guitar, bass and drums have added a heavier hand to the music and brought it into folk rock territory.
Making their Charlotte debut, Larkin Poe opened the set with "The Principle of Silver Lining," as the electric guitar sparkled throughout and Megan and Rebecca showed that their harmonies are still intact. A country flair flared up within "Jailbreak" and the band's version of "Wade in the Water" contained a rhythm closer to The Doors' "Five to One."
Instead of sounding like two girls who found a few people to back them up, Larkin Poe sounds like a complete band - a solid, attention-grabbing band that is putting their own stamp on the Americana genre as the lap steel and mandolin are incorporated without leaning too heavily on country and bluegrass.
The Lovells form the core of the band - Rebecca and Megan offered an impromptu jam while the guitarist changed a string - and their harmonies shine brilliantly, as sibling vocals often do. Rebecca's stellar mandolin playing and Megan's abilities on lap steel add the right spice for originality while the duo is careful not to let their instruments outshine the songs themselves.
However, it wasn't only bluegrass that found its way into the mix as "Fox" was filled with jazzy undertones bordering on jam band territory and blues and soul energy flooded "Tumbleweed" and "Play On" through Rebecca's vocals. If that wasn't enough, the band's set-closing cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Bleeding Heart" not only veered straight into rock, but gave each band member an opportunity to shine with brief solos.
What was most impressive during the performance was that all of the genres and flavors fit under one umbrella and without sounding forced, disjointed or like a band that hasn't discovered its sound. Rebecca and Megan have had plenty of time to get performing under their belt - they started the Lovell Sisters as teenagers in 2005 - and can finally focus on expressing who they are in a stronger band setting.