with The Collection
“The songwriting and recording development of Larkin Poe and their connection to the live audience has been a joy to behold…If you can find something of your own in a Skip James song, or spend a Berlin afternoon banging your hotel room’s furniture to render a YouTube version of an M.J. song, you know you’ve come to the right address.”
- Elvis Costello
In any normal year, Larkin Poe would have released an acclaimed new album and then hit the road for a very long time. But of course, 2020 has been no ordinary year. The GRAMMY® Award-nominated sister duo of Rebecca and Megan Lovell kicked things off in June with their fifth studio album, SELF MADE MAN, topping an array of Billboard charts while earning unanimous acclaim around the world. Instead of a summer of tour buses and packed theaters, the Atlanta-bred, Nashville-based Lovells found themselves at home, performing many livestream concerts and adding to their much-loved YouTube covers series. That got them thinking, and now we have Larkin Poe’s second album of 2020 – KINDRED SPIRITS, a collection of stripped-back versions of covers, both classic and new.
KINDRED SPIRITS – which, like its three predecessors, was self-produced by Larkin Poe for their own Tricki-Woo Records, this time from their home studio with engineer and Rebecca’s husband Tyler Bryant of Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown – sees the duo paying tribute to favorite artists from the Allman Brothers Band, Lenny Kravitz, and Robert Johnson to Elton John, Post Malone, Ozzy Osbourne, and The Moody Blues.
“Music is a bridge that can connect generations across time,” says Rebecca and Megan. “In recording KINDRED SPIRITS, our admiration for the artists who originally wrote and performed these songs blossomed into an even deeper reverence. Coming up in a family of music lovers, a lot of the songs have been with us since childhood; in 2015, we started a YouTube series dedicated to paying tribute to our musical heroes that unexpectedly took off and when fans began requesting recorded versions of the songs, we began daydreaming about how an interpretive album might take shape. Bringing these old friends into the studio, stripping them to the bones and recording them live and raw, felt like a ritual.”
When Larkin Poe released SELF MADE MAN, it was in the wake of a remarkable two-year run that saw them earn a #1 Billboard Blues Chart album and a “Best Contemporary Blues Album” GRAMMY® Award nomination for 2018’s VENOM & FAITH. While VENOM & FAITH truly solidified the power and independent spirit of the band, SELF MADE MAN is undeniably the Lovell’s most wide reaching, artistically adventurous, and self-determined work to date, finding the multi-instrumentalist sister duo, pushing their music and message towards hitherto unexplored terrain.
Robert Randolph took a step outside when it was time to record his new album, Brighter Days, choosing to work with producer Dave Cobb. Cobb is best known for his work with new country stars like Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Brandi Carlile, and Jason Isbell. Looking beyond anyone’s expectations or his own preconceptions helped Randolph circle back to where it all began for him: church music.
The first three songs of Brighter Days are a full dive back to Randolph’s gospel roots, starting with lead track “Baptize Me”, a joyous romp of a song that makes a direct connection between religious and musical ecstasy and salvation.
“Dave Cobb is just a guy who likes to record good music and good songs,” says Randolph. “He wanted to do something that was fun but it also gives you a gospel feeling. He knows the history of our band, coming from church and giving that fun church feeling to people.
“We wrote ‘Baptize Me’ the first day in the studio. It’s really a love story, about an all-round love: for each other, for our audience, for our church background, for the music we love and for our fans. All of these songs kind of harken back to how we started, to being known as this musical family band that comes from the church and appeals to rock, blues, gospel and soul music audiences. We wanted that good gospel, blues, R&B feel, because that’s where we started and it’s good to not only remind people of that but to actively remember it ourselves.”
Randolph grew up playing sacred steel music – basically gospel played on pedal steel guitar – in the House of God church in Orange, New Jersey, and began taking his joyous, gospel-infused music out to clubs, backed by family members who shared not only backgrounds, but blood.
Ames was soon joined by Sam Wynkoop (bass, vocals), John Silver (guitar), Ed Baldi (keys), and Brian Moran (drums). Within a month, they became a band ready to make a second album. The result was 2020’s Beauty in the Wreck.
The third album, Stone Soup, released in the late summer of 2021, was recorded in Charleston, SC and features Charleston artists such as Justin Osborne of SUSTO and Julius DeAngelis, Corey Campbell, and Jenna Desmond of Babe Club. The new album, like 2019’s Holy Smoke, is produced by Campbell.