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The Lovell sisters are back with a new album that they present to us
DARIALYS - 06.01.2023 -
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From classical music to rock, bluegrass and blues, Megan and Rebecca Lovell's influences are wide. On the occasion of the release of their new album "Blood Harmony", the two sisters look back on their musical journey especially for Music Waves!

We usually start our interviews with the following question: what is the question you've answered too many times?

Rebecca: Well, there are quite a few actually! What do you think we should say?

Megan: There's no question we're tired of answering. We try to find a different way to answer the same questions.

Rebecca: We don't assume that people should know who we are, so we're always happy to tell them our story. That said, we get asked a lot about the origin of the band's name. Or we get asked, "Who is Lark and who is Poe?

People can always look it up on Wikipedia if they want. Your music is joyful, and we feel this joy in you. Does it mean that you don't have to be unhappy and tortured to play the blues?

Rebecca: I love that question! (She ponders). I think it's a stereotype that artists have to be tortured, addicted, or whatever, to make good music. I prefer artists who have good habits, balanced relationships. The mere fact that the 27 club exists is tragic. Imagine what Jimi Hendrix could have accomplished if he had lived to be 70 or 80, when you look at the Rolling Stones today. I think it's very important for artists to take care of themselves and incorporate healthy lifestyle habits to continue to inspire others.

I remind that you are both sisters. On stage, we feel a form of mutual understanding between you. Beyond your siblings, are there any rules that you follow to keep that closeness?

Megan: Yes (laughs). We're very close and we've shared a lot of experience together because we're less than two years apart. We are very proud of the music we play and the career we have. But indeed, working on one's relationship with the other is something that keeps building over time.

Rebecca: There is also a whole non-verbal communication. In 2020, we did a lot of streaming concerts. Some were jam sessions where we asked people to tell us what they wanted us to play. Sometimes they were songs we'd never played before. That's my favorite part, it's a lot of fun.

Finding siblings in rock bands is not that uncommon, especially in big bands. But there can be a form of competition in the relationship, which can lead to the end of the band in question.

Rebecca: There were bound to be tensions between us. Often it's ego issues.

Megan: In the early 2000s, yes.

Rebecca: We talked a lot about our egos. At the end of the day, we care more about the music than we do about satisfying our egos. We also know that we can count on each other and talk to each other honestly when we feel we're going in the wrong direction. In any case, we try to focus on the music, which is what creates our connection with people.

On this new album, "Blood Harmony", there is a song that symbolizes well this symbiosis between you, according to us anyway. I mean 'Lips As Cold As Diamond' which is a very delicate song. It's a very simple and authentic song.

Megan: This song embodies everything I love about music and creativity. I wouldn't have described 'Lips As Cold As Diamond' the way you did, but what you say is interesting. That's the beauty of art, the music leaves room for interpretation.

Artists do many things that are unconscious. The listeners then come up with their own interpretations.

Rebecca: People who listen to us are the mirror of our songs. I don't believe in a binary world where everything is "yes or no", or "black and white", or "true or false". Everything is subject to interpretation. This opens the field of possibilities, and that's what makes life precious.

You're talking about your concerts. During the pandemic, you released acoustic covers. What was the purpose of that?

Rebecca: It was to have fun at first! When you dedicate yourself to a life as a musician, you can quickly get very busy, spending your time on the road, or writing music, or doing one of the many things you have to do as a musician. You don't have time to learn anymore. When you're a teenager and you get your first guitar, you learn Jimi Hendrix soli or Black Sabbath songs. When you become an adult, you don't have time for that. When we released these covers, we wanted to learn songs because it inspires us.

Megan: We didn't expect people to like our versions so much! We were pretty surprised. 'Preachin' Blues' was the first video to go viral and we were like, "what the hell is going on?" It's a really interesting way to connect with people. In the end, it helped us find our audience. Our fans wanted us to do covers, so we thought we should do it!

You started your career with the acoustic trio The Lovell Sisters. On your new album, we find both nods to this acoustic heritage and an evolution towards a more electric guitar playing. How do you see this evolution?

Megan: We started out at 3 and 4 years old with violin and piano. We really grew up in the heart of acoustic music. But at the same time, we listened to a lot of classic rock, Black Sabbath, Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers, Fleetwood Mac... It's been a challenge to start from that acoustic bluegrass scene and learn to add an electric touch to it. It's a very different approach to music. You have to learn to play louder, to play with pedals, amps. There was a certain learning process, for 5 or 6 years, I would say.

Blues and especially blues rock are relatively male styles. Are there any female artists in this scene that have inspired you?

Megan: Definitely.

Rebecca: We mentioned the mostly male bands before, but I could also mention Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Elizabeth Cotten, Big Mama Thornton, Koko Taylor...

Megan: But things are changing anyway. Festivals are also trying to diversify their lineup.

You mentioned a lot of rock bands earlier. Your music is more like blues, but do you feel like rockers?

Rebecca: (Laughs) Yes, even without a drummer, bluegrass can rock! It really can! I grew up learning mandolin, so I always try to write groovy, heavy riffs!

Your trademark is based on the use of the lap steel guitar and on the fact that you are female artists. But beyond that, isn't your success simply due to the fact that you are two very simple and confident people who have this joy of playing together?

Megan: I'm very grateful that we're sisters and that we've had this ability to build things together. It's a really nice gift. I'm also very grateful that you mentioned the lap steel, because it's true that it's helped us develop, it's the instrument of the future.

Rebecca: The guitar is boring! (Laughs). It's not such a common instrument, but when you want to add textures, it's perfect. Lap steel is very present in classic rock, in Pink Floyd... If you take the song 'Running On Empty' (by Jackson Browne), you have one of the most iconic solos, and yet, not many people know it's lap steel. People hear it, they're familiar with it, but they don't really know what it is. I'd like to see more of it. But because it's not very common, it's not that easy to find. Usually people play it sitting down, but I would really like to play it standing up. I developed a lap steel to play standing up that should help people.

Songs like 'Blood Harmony' and 'Might As Well Be Me' have obvious influences. Would you be interested in turning to soul music in the future?

Rebecca: Absolutely! I love songs that make me expand my vocal range, as I have soul and gospel influences. But who knows what the future holds?

You released a live album last year, "Paint The Roses", with the Nu Deco Ensemble. This is quite common in metal, but much rarer in blues. How did the idea come about?

Megan: Nu Deco contacted us during the lockdown. They wanted to do a series of live streams. It was an opportunity to try something new. We rehearsed one day, and then recorded the songs the next day. The result is really different from the original songs, I wouldn't have believed it. I don't necessarily believe in destiny, but it's funny to see that we grew up learning classical music, and twenty years later, we find ourselves adapting our songs into classical. It's a happy coincidence. Some things happen for a reason. It's a bit of a "yin and yang" approach: the bad things make you appreciate the good things even more. You have to learn, but learn to let go of some things. I say this because we are real control freaks!

I guess the experience with this band was a good way to be less in control of the situation.

Megan: Yes, just in terms of tempo! An orchestra moves at its own pace, whereas in rock, you have a more "metronomic" approach. It was a very interesting experience for a rock band.

Rebecca: And I think when you're an optimist by nature, you live with hope and faith. That's the goal, I think, but it's not easy, especially when things don't go your way.

We started this interview by asking you what was the question you were asked too many times. Instead, what would you like me to ask you?

Megan: (Laughs) I don't know!

In that case, I suggest you think about it, and the next time we do an interview together, we'll start with that question!

Megan: I like that! I can't wait!

Thank you so much!

Both: Thank you! 

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LARKIN POE: Blood Harmony (2022)

With "Blood Harmony", the Lovell sisters have never been so willing and inspired to share their joy of playing. The blues rock of Larkin Poe is definitely unique.
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