The Lark and the Loon
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The Lark and the Loon

Eureka Springs, Arkansas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Eureka Springs, Arkansas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Duo Folk Jazz

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Press


"Homestead hands review"

This folk duo of Jeff and Rocky Rolfzen, whose all original songs sound like they could of been written 70 to 100 years ago, use a nice array of guitars, both acoustic and resophonic, banjos, accordion, washboard and a shotgun shell stomp box for a bass drum, to put them across with the right feel, melodies and licks minus the scratches in the records they evoke. Their style is reminiscent of some traditional duos who came before them like Nancy and Norman Blake, Malcom Daglish and Grey Larson, Geoff and Maria Muldaur, etc

Montana-born Rocky Steen Rolfzeen has a sweet voice that harmonizes well with Jeff and does not grate when taking the lead vocal as some traditional female singers do. She’s also a darn good yodeler to boot. Her accordion work is spot on for what the tune calls for. As is for whomever is playing the clawhammer banjo. Her Minnesotan, city-born husband, who also spent time in Chicago, seems to be really at home playing country blues on a National Steel. Living for the last few years in an isolated area of the Ozark mountains has no doubt contributed to the authenticity they bring to their original songs that mainly embrace themes from a world that has been passed by, with a few like “One More” and “Drink From The Bottle” that might easily please a frat party crowd.

Although their lyrics embrace a time past, they are certainly tech savvy and have a greeting card style animation on YouTube that demonstrates their tune “The Old Red Rooster,” a letter song between a man who has gone off prospecting, the missus back on the farm, and the longing to be back together again. They also have stepped up their recording situation after the strong reception to their log cabin-recorded CD Songbirds and Fog that has allowed them to tour much of the US and Ireland. On this go round they opted for a professional recording environment. I found that move to be slightly ironic, because though they no doubt benefited on capturing more tone and detail from the instruments they play so well, on certain intriguing story songs they present like “Code Of The West,” “Deal With The Devil” and “Regards To Mr. Hicock,” some key lyrics are acoustically blurred, regardless of what I used to listen to them with, headphones, studio monitors, etc. That said, the one tune I can’t get of my head is “Bitterroot Creek,” an instrumental.

—Ken Spooner - Elmore Magazine


"Live performance review in Kiel Germany"

"Our set is created during the concert, let's see how the mood is today and where the journey is going," says Jeff Rolfzen and discusses on Thursday at the concert in Prince Willy between the songs again and again with his duo partner and wife Rocky"

Together they are The Lark and the Loon, and formally the journey goes way back to the roots of traditional American music.

The first impression: Unfortunately, only a small handful of people have come to the gig. Those, however, experienced a great evening crafted expertly to heart and feet Americana , which seems almost historic, although the couple from the remote Ozarks who take about the northern part of the US state of Arkansas , has written many songs of the evening itself. Any number could have been nearly a century old.

The music: "We try to show the etymology of American music and the different styles," Jeff describes the mental superstructure of the music of The Lark and the Loon. Sounds academic, but sounds very good too. The spectrum ranges from blues, jazz and rag to traditional American, Irish or Franco-Canadian dance music. The authentic and good sound (whose quality Jeff always asks for) is not least supported by the use of classical instruments. Rocky treats the washboard and the accordion as artfully as an old ammo box as a beatbox. In addition, Jeff's harmonica and his fun-virtuoso banjo and guitar playing. That the string stallion even recorded a magnificent resonator guitar, that in the 1920s in the USdeveloped beautiful instrument, in whose body mechanical loudspeakers were installed, should not remain unmentioned here. The sometimes common, sometimes reciprocal singing of the couple then make the picture perfect.

In this way, the musicians presented their debut album Songbirds and Fog and the successor successor Homestead Hands. The original compositions were spiced with jazz standards such as the early song of the duo Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong Gee , Baby, Is not I Good To You. In between stories and anecdotes, whose protagonists ranging from the first US President George Washington to the Western icon Wild Bill Hickok (Give my Regards to Mr Hickok ). Their many common trips made the couple again and again the topic (Drink From the Bottle).

The audience : Small but nice.

What remains in memory: Against all musical trends, against modern compositional and production techniques, these spouses play at the highest level, reaching deep into the stylistic fund of their country. The whole thing seems so honest and undisguised that you can imagine too well that the two enjoy the loneliness and seclusion of their homeland. The part in the land of unlimited possibilities, where there is not even internet ...

Conclusion: The evening was once again such a nugget that really enriched the cultural life of a city. You just have to dig in the right place. - Kieler Nachrichten


Discography

Songbirds and Fog (2016)
Roost Recordings Vol 1 (2016)
Time for Moving on/No Place to Be 7" lathe (2016)
Homestead Hands (2018)

Photos

Bio

The Lark and the Loon are a songwriting duo consisting of husband/wife team Jeff Rolfzen and Rocky Steen-Rolfzen. The two bring their distinct writing styles together in what they call an exploration in the etymology of American music. They take inspiration from prewar blues and jazz, Irish dance music, as well as traditional American music. Named for the state birds of their respective home states of Montana and Minnesota the two often draw inspiration from their dual upbringing in urban and rural life. Their debut album "Songbirds and Fog"  was recorded in their cabin home in the Ozarks after a period of heavy isolation and was met with critical acclaim. Their follow up came in the Fall of 2018 entitled “Homestead Hands” and drew motifs from the prairie landscape and rich western history that plagued and blessed the upper United States at the turn of the 20th century.  The two have performed in the United States as well as Ireland and Germany. When not on the road they enjoy the comfort of their Ozark home where they garden in the rocky soil, hike the scenic hills, and soak in the tranquility before their next venture.



Band Members