LARKIN POE
Guitar World|April 2021
Six-string sisters REBECCA and MEGAN LOVELL talk us through the tones that grace their new covers record — Kindred SpiritS — and the musical telepathy that comes with growing up together OVER THE LAST 10 or so years, sibling duo Larkin Poe have become one of the most exciting prospects in guitar music, thanks to their tasteful musicianship and heavenly harmonies. Latest release Kindred Spirits sees them return to the “covers” format that originally got them noticed, giving us their take on classic hits by Elton John, Neil Young and Elvis Presley, as well as more contemporary cuts by Lenny Kravitz and Post Malone.
Amit Sharma

“The beauty of the song selection for this was in how organically it all came together,” says Rebecca Lovell, who sings lead and plays guitars, banjos and mandolins in the group while her sister Megan usually sticks with lap steel and harmonies. “And though it might not seem apparent on the surface, there’s definitely a thread that connects all of these songs. When we first heard the Post Malone song, which features Ozzy Osbourne, I just thought that melody was so cool. And though it’s super modern, Megan and I stripped it back and started playing around with singing it ourselves, trying to nip and tuck the verse parts into more Larkin Poe land.”

“And it really came together,” agrees Megan. “We thought it would be fun to use our approach with a newer song, just to see what would happen. I think it fits in with the classic songs, it kinda has the same feel to it.”

Megan, what can you tell us about your main lap steel guitar?

MEGAN LOVELL: I first picked up a Rickenbacker. A family friend said they’d seen this really cool vintage one at Gruhn’s Guitars in Nashville, which is an iconic guitar shop, and suggested I go and get it. They felt I would love the tone of the instrument and it wouldn’t steer me wrong. At the time I was playing Dobro 100 percent of the time, so this was my first foray into electric instruments. I went with their suggestion and bought the Rickenbacker. I feel like I really lucked into it because this is my sound. I fell in love with it and set the Dobro aside because I felt the lap steel could tap into the sounds I was searching for.

Growing up listening to a lot of classic rock and electric stuff, the lap steel married my love of slide and those fat tones I’d been listening to for so long. That instrument lasted me a number of years until there was an unfortunate accident in a taxi cab in New York City. The driver slammed on the brakes and the instrument went flying; the neck broke off, unfortunately. That was my first love! I knew I needed an identical model to replace it, or one as close as I could find. I ended up looking all over the country and — surprise, an identical model popped up at a Guitar Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. So that’s where my number one ax came from!

What else do you know about the specs?

MEGAN: It’s a B6 model from the early Fifties. Nothing has been changed — it’s all original down to the tuners, which are really bent! I’ve wanted to replace them for a while, but one thing about these vintage lap steels is that there aren’t many replacement parts; there’s not much of a demand for it. By default, things have to stay fairly original.

REBECCA LOVELL: And knowing my sister, I find this quite humorous, she’s very much a tried-and-true individual once she finds something she digs. Her pedalboard has not changed in years. She basically buys the same lap steel over and over again, to the point where all of our musical friends immediately send her links when they see a lap steel that’s even remotely similar on Reverb, Craigslist or eBay. And now as a result, Megan has these half-severed versions of this lap steel all over her house. Whenever parts give up, she tries to keep them rock ’n’ rolling.

What kind of amps and pedals do you both tend to use?

MEGAN: I’m a Fender tube amp junkie. I have an old Vibrolux, but most of the time I’m touring with a standard Deluxe Reverb. Pedalwise, I’m pretty stripped back and don’t really tend to use a lot of stuff. I do actually use [Rebecca’s husband] Tyler Bryant’s pedal, the TB Drive by Rodenberg, and it’s a custom one that was made for me. Tyler had “Slide Queen” engraved on it for me. I love that pedal; the tones are great. I was using a Tube Screamer before, and this is almost like having two stacked on top of each other. It’s so versatile.

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