Larkin Poe may have started in 2010, but its members — sisters Rebecca and Megan Lowell — have been at it for much longer than that. Alongside older sister Jessica, Rebecca and Megan were two-thirds of The Lovell Sisters, which released two independent albums, performed at Bonnaroo and appeared on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. Since regrouping as Larkin Poe, the Lovells have released two studio albums, five EPs, one DVD and a mix of collaborations; work with Steven Tyler on his #1 country album We’re All Somebody From Somewhere is among those collaborations.
Someone that Larkin Poe has often collaborated with is the legendary Elvis Costello. The sisters — currently on the road in support of 2016’s Reskinned — will be coming through town with Elvis for an intimate Oct. 1 show at The Town Hall. Both acts will be performing acoustically for this Saturday night outing in Midtown.
There are a lot of notable Larkins out there. Baseball player Barry Larkin, Joan Jett is Joan Marie Larkin, British actor Chris Larkin…Do you have a favorite?
Rebecca Lovell: Joan Jett definitely wins the blue ribbon. She’s been a huge source of inspiration for us as we’ve continued to delve deeper into our own rock sensibilities. No one sings rock ‘n’ roll like Joan.
Where was the first gig you ever played live in New York City? What do you remember about it?
RL: The first gig we ever played in New York City was at Joe’s Pub, years and years ago. We were touring as an Americana string band called The Lovell Sisters and, if memory serves, we had a lovely crowd and a lovely reception.
What should be expected from your upcoming show at Town Hall? Full band in tow? Songs from both albums and all of your EPs?
RL: At Town Hall, we’ll be opening up the show as a duo. For Elvis Costello’s Detour, we’ve been enjoying the intimacy of stripping back our performance and highlighting the sister connection we share on-stage. Folks can expect to hear a smattering of existing songs off our album Reskinned, and of course — because we are classically-impatient artists — a bunch of new, unrecorded songs.
Do you have a favorite song to perform live?
RL: “Blunt,” off our album Reskinned, is an especially fun song to perform as a duo. The lyrics are edgy and singing them into a silent, listening room is a spine-tingling experience.
How did your collaboration with Elvis Costello first come about?
RL: We met Elvis many years ago at an Americana music festival in North Carolina called Merlefest. Serendipitously, we all wound up on-stage together singing a gospel song during an “all-star jam” and an immediate kinship was struck. In the intervening years, he’s graciously asked us back again and again to sing and musically support him on a variety of tours. We’ve learned so much and loved every single moment.
You two have performed as backing musicians for a great variety of artists. Was it ever the plan to be career backing musicians?
RL: We wouldn’t consider ourselves “career backing musicians.” Yes, we have had the honor of stepping onstage with many great artists and supporting them on their own artistic journeys for a few shows or tours, but ultimately, we our artists in our own right. As artists, we want to learn as much as we can from the experience of other performers whom we respect. To that end, we’ve been able to glean a lot of tips and tricks from people who have been writing, recording, and touring for longer than we have been alive.
Is there a professional accomplishment that you’re most proud of?
RL: Performing on Conan O’Brien was a cool milestone. Knowing that all our family and friends were tuning in to watch us play was deeply moving — as was the onslaught of loving texts we received after the broadcast.
What’s coming up for you after this tour with Mr. Costello wraps?
RL: We’re heading back to the U.K. for a Larkin Poe headline tour in November/December, but our main focus is continuing to write and evolve for our next project. We’re looking forward to releasing more music for our fans next year.
When not busy with your career, how do you like to spend your free time?
RL: Family, books, hiking, cooking…Songwriting. Songwriting. Songwriting.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in New York?
RL: Macbar — it’s a mecca for mac ‘n’ cheese. Need we say more?
What’s your favorite album so far of 2016?
RL: Sturgill Simpson’s self-produced album A Sailor’s Guide To Earth is magnificent.
Finally, Rebecca, any last words for the kids?
RL: Always give the opening band a chance.