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Blair Dunlop and Larkin Poe - Killing Time (Rooksmere Records)

Star rating: 
4

The respective musical careers of Blair Dunlop and the Lovell sisters seem to have been running in tandem over the last couple of years or so, with each musician developing at almost the speed of light. With each of them understandably somewhat uncertain about their respective musical directions, they have each been under no illusion about which way they want to go in terms of ambition, which is in the general direction of skywards. The musical collaboration between Blair Dunlop and Larkin Poe seemed destined to happen from their first tentative meeting.
 
Larkin Poe have gathered an enormous word-of-mouth following since branching out from their original bluegrass/classical roots, gaining a strong following in the UK and Europe along the way. They have managed to do this despite the absence of a full-length album, instead by drip feeding their fans a series of remarkable EPs. Blair on the other hand has not only found time to release his fine debut (BLIGHT AND BLOSSOM) but has also garnered much attention from his peers, picking up the prestigious BBC Horizon Award earlier this year. Having first heard Larkin Poe on the car stereo of fellow Albion Bander Katriona Gilmore, the singer soon became acquainted with the Georgia-based band and members of Larkin Poe were soon in the studio putting down tracks for Blair's debut album.

This was reciprocated by an invitation for the young singer/guitarist to fly out to Atlanta to work on their first proper full collaboration, recording the six songs that make up the KILLING TIME EP, which features both originals and non-originals. The oriental sounding intro to the title song, sees Rebecca exploring the fiddle's sonic capabilities, which is used in syncopation with the chant-like vocals. Megan's now familiar lapsteel guitar provides the guts of each of the songs, with the exception of a couple that find the musician returning to the dobro, especially the infectious Rebecca Lovell original Lottie, where the guitarist provides a stunning instrumental break.
 
Sea of Faces provides the first full writing collaboration, with each of the Lovell sisters and Blair sharing writing credits on one of the EP's most sensitive songs. Bob Dylan's I'll Keep It With Mine recalls last year's Cropredy Festival, where thousands of people witnessed Blair, Rebecca and Megan flanked by Richard Thompson and Ashley Hutchings recalling the very early Fairport days, with it's almost Who Knows Where the Time Goes feel. Killing time indeed.  

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky