High energy southern roots rock
Self Made Man is the fifth album in six years from the southern roots rock band Larkin Poe, and the album shows no signs of the band’s energy diminishing anytime soon. Sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell lead the band and got their musical start playing with their younger sister Jessica in 2005 with their family band the Lovell Sisters. After they decided the band had run its course, Rebecca and Megan reformed as Larkin Poe, adopting the name of a distant ancestor and nodding to their ancestral descent from Edgar Allen Poe for their blues-heavy southern group.
The album hooks people in from the very beginning with eight bars of building anticipation to start “She’s a Self Made Man,” as if they’re giving people time to adjust to the heavy guitars and pulsing percussion. The guitar is bold and big while the drums don’t hold back and neither does Rebecca as she repeats the phrase “I’m a self-made man,” a refrain that brings a feel of a pop anthem to the song.
The album moves from one high octane song to the next and doesn’t loose steam throughout its 11 songs. They show they can harness a darker mood with the portentous “Danger Angel,” and are equally adept with a feel-good, upbeat shuffle like on “Tears of Blue to Gold,” which celebrates memories and exhorts people to sing along with it. The chorus of “Tupelo rock and roll/ Sing it in the kitchen” will certainly have people singing it along by the second chorus.
In “God Moves on the Water,” they tackle a southern gospel classic originally recorded by Blind Willie Johnson in 1929.The song tells the story of the sinking of the Titanic in the style of an old ballad. Larkin Poe updated their version with references to a flood and an earthquake. The song delivers a particularly apt message, describing how “Mighty woman, mighty man/ Living in a world they don’t understand/ Come together it’s the only way.”
Though the album does an excellent job capturing the dynamic power of this album, it would surely be even more exciting performed live. For those who can’t wait, however, Larkin Poe will be live streaming a concert on June 27th to celebrate the release of Self Made Man.