Acclaimed roots-rock duo Larkin Poe partners with innovative hybrid orchestra Nu Deco Ensemble for Paint the Roses: Live in Concert — a new album that reinterprets Larkin Poe’s music, including their 2020 release Self Made Man and more, through an orchestral lens. The album’s single, “Every Bird That Flies,” is out now – listen here.
Paint the Roses documents a collaborative, streamed concert by the two artistic groups in December, 2020 at Miami’s North Beach Bandshell. The performance was part of Nu Deco’s 2020-21 virtual and socially-distanced concert season, which featured the ensemble’s genre-bending orchestral music and its powerful first collaboration with Larkin Poe.
Larkin Poe — a Nashville-based sister-duo comprising multi-instrumentalists Rebecca and Megan Lovell — had recorded their fifth album Self Made Man (which topped the Billboard Blues Album chart and UK’s Independent and Americana Albums charts) in the summer of 2020 but could not take the music on the road due to COVID-19 restrictions. Nu Deco Ensemble’s collaborative concert provided the duo their first chance to play the new record’s songs for a live audience. The tracks on Self Made Man (and now on Paint the Roses) draw on wide influences but are rooted in the creative heritage of Larkin Poe’s beloved American South and Southern Gothic themes.
“During the challenging times of this past year, music served the critical purpose of connection to one another,” say Nu Deco Ensemble Co-Founders and Artistic Directors Jacomo Bairos and Sam Hyken. “Among those valuable connections was our first collaboration with the amazing duo Larkin Poe and the live album that resulted from it. ‘Every Bird that Flies’ was a song that we immediately knew had to be a part of this collaboration. One of our favorite moments of production week with Larkin Poe was watching Rebecca and Megan’s faces when they first heard how massive the lap steel solo section of this combined with an orchestra.”
Larkin Poe added, “Before we could even speak in full sentences, our introduction to the language of music began with classical violin and piano lessons; ever since then, music has been the bedrock upon which we’ve built our lives. Over the years we have drawn inspiration from a wide range of genres, but it has always been a dream of ours to find a way to honor our classical upbringing. ‘Paint The Roses’ was born out of a fortuitous, one-night collaboration with Nu Deco Ensemble. In hearing our Roots Rock n Roll repertoire reinterpreted through an orchestral lens, it felt like a creative circle was being completed; we wanted to share the performance on a grander scale and, thus, our first-ever live album came into being. We are deeply indebted to Sam Hyken for writing such incredible orchestra arrangements and also to Jacomo Bairos for conducting such a magical evening of music.”
Paint the Roses launches today with the single, “Every Bird That Flies.” Originally a somber, swampy bluesy song, this new version is reinvigorated with the sweeping orchestration of Nu Deco Ensemble. Together they build this slowburner skywards, escalating the hushed opening ambience into a full-blooded crescendo.
Larkin Poe says, “When we recorded ‘Every Bird That Flies’ for Self Made Man we wanted the song to feel like a journey. So when Nu Deco’s team suggested working up a version together we were pumped to explore a new musical destination. The song is beautifully heightened by the cinematic soaring of the orchestra and we’re so pleased to share this adventure with y’all.” The orchestra also adds grandeur to Larkin Poe’s southern rocker “Back Down South,” which incorporates their take on The Allman Brothers’ “Blue Sky.” In addition, Paint the Roses features powerful collaborative versions of earlier Larkin Poe tracks including the electrifying album opener “Sometimes” and “Mad as a Hatter” — a huge fan favorite with seven million YouTube views that pays moving tribute to the women’s grandfather, who struggled with mental illness. It was previously unreleased, so this will be the first official version coming out with the album.