Larkin Poe: Five Essential Elvis Costello Songs

Larkin Poe (photo courtesy of Big Picture Media, PR)
by Kara Manning | 11/02/2016 | 11:00am

Larkin Poe (photo courtesy of Big Picture Media, PR)

Sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell of Larkin Poe not only have a fine career of their own — they released their bluesy, rocking second album Reskinned earlier this year (and did an FUV Live session too) — but for the past handful of years, the Atlanta duo has also regularly toured and collaborated with Elvis Costello since meeting him at North Carolina's Merlefest in 2007.

Not only have the Lovell sisters opened for Costello countless times in concert, but they join him onstage during his set, accompanying him on songs like "Blame It On Cain" and "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding." Larkin Poe were included in the 2015 Costello concert film Detour Live at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and they joined him at the 2016 Newport Folk Festival and on select tour dates this year too.

Rebecca and Megan, who've affectionately dubbed Costello "E.C.," have a special place in their heart for the man who has been a mentor, friend and cohort on the road for many years. Larkin Poe also have an insightful perspective on his songs as frequent observers and participants, so the sisters kindly pulled together their "Five Essential Elvis Costello Songs" for FUV Essentials:

Larkin Poe: Five Essential Elvis Costello Songs:

"I Want You," Blood And Chocolate (1986)
I remember E.C. saying “I Want You” was a painful song to perform live because he had to bury himself in the character of a heartbroken man to do the song justice. And you can feel it. His heart may be breaking on stage for all we know. A song that skirts the edges of despair, anger, sexiness, and love. Makes you feel raw just listening to it. - Megan Lovell

"Alison," My Aim Is True (1977)
The simplicity and integrity of this song has endured since 1977. Everyone knows it. Elvis sings it as beautifully today as he ever as. - Rebecca Lovell

"Ascension Day," The River in Reverse (2006)
Elvis Costello and American legend Allen Toussaint came together to make The River in Reverse in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. E.C. speaks very, very highly of Allen Toussaint and that respect is palpable throughout the record. "Ascension Day" is a beautiful reflection of the soul of New Orleans. - RL

"Shipbuilding," Punch The Clock (1983)
Sitting on the side of stage watching E.C. perform night after night in the years we’ve gotten to tour with him has been a thrill. He varies the setlist widely from show to show, but there are a few key songs he plays every night; “Shipbuilding” is one of those songs. The lyrics pull on my heartstrings each time I hear it, even though I’ve heard it hundreds of times at this point. It always gets the emotional reaction. Pro tip: Go see him perform it live and hear a beautiful additional verse—my favorite verse—not on the album cut. - ML

"The Scarlet Tide," The Delivery Man (2004)
T-Bone Burnett and Elvis originally penned this song together before it was immortalized by Alison Krauss. Getting to sing these lyrics of the heart around one microphone with E.C. night after night has been an incredible experience. It's a timely song. - RL

- Rebecca and Megan Lovell
October 2016

Read all of FUV's Five Essentials.

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