She's A Self Made Man

Album: Self Made Man (2020)
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Songfacts®:

  • This ironically titled track from the blues-rock band Larkin Poe shatters the idea that success is a man's game by turning the saying "self-made man" on its head. Vocalist Rebecca Lovell told Atwood Magazine: "It pulls off the thing that I love in traditional blues lyric, which is pointing at something that's very real, but doing it in kind of a tongue in cheek fashion. If you didn't laugh, you'd cry type of a sentiment. I was regularly saying we're self-made men without necessarily realizing that we were gender qualifying success. Once I made that connection, it really kind of bothered me. So I had to write the song and… it served as a touchstone."
  • The song (and album) title meets the criteria for our Songs With Bad Grammar In The Title category because "self" compounds should be hyphenated ("She's A Self-Made Man").
  • The self-made (wo)men behind Larkin Poe are Rebecca and Megan Lovell, who formed the bluegrass group The Lovell Sisters with their older sister, Jessica. They self-released two independent albums before disbanding in 2009 when Jessica went off to college. The remaining siblings forged ahead with the new band, named after their four-times-great-grandfather, and released their debut studio album, Kin, in 2014. A few years later, they started their own record label and began producing their own albums - a rare feat for women in the male-dominated music industry.

    "We're women in a predominantly male field. Even deeper, when you zoom into rock and roll and blues rock and roll, we are so outnumbered," Rebecca told Mundane magazine. "Writing a song that specifically pointed to this twisted concept that success and ability come down to being a man... that felt so ridiculous for ourselves because we absolutely feel like self-made men. We started our own record label in 2017. We started producing our own records."
  • When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many musicians held back their albums slated for a 2020 release because they weren't able to go on promotional tours. Larkin Poe, however, went ahead and released Self Made Man, which went to #1 on the US Blues Albums chart. Rebecca told Loud Hailer magazine why the band didn't postpone the release. "We're big believers in keeping things fresh. We want to give fans the most honest, up-to-date perspective of where we are. So even though it was disappointing not to be able to take the songs to the stage immediately, it felt right to go ahead and release Self Made Man out into the world so that the songs could become companions to listeners and hopefully put a smile on someone's face. Everything in its time."
  • Rebecca explained how the lyric, "I was down and out, now I'm up again," was exemplified in the wake of the pandemic. "We always have a sense for how things should go. We write our own stories and we have a calendar. We're looking forward always and I think, especially with Corona, the sense that we're not entirely in control and that there are days where you're up and there are days where you're down," she told Mundane. "The message of that song is that you can exert control and influence your future to some degree, but by the same token you are also bound by the currents of the world and the universe that we have very little control over. What's important is your response to the situations and your perseverance through hard times and that makes a self-made man."
  • In December 2020, Larkin Poe performed many songs from the album, including this track, during a collaborative, livestream concert with the hybrid chamber orchestra Nu Deco Ensemble at Miami's North Beach Bandshell. The performance was released as the live album Paint The Roses.

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