Life of Letter to Memphis
June 23, 2015
After battling extreme anxiety and substance abuse, Devon Cahill, vocalist and ukulele player for the Folk band Letter to Memphis , found herself with music.
The group started in 2011 as a duet between Devon Cahill and Gene Starks, now engaged, playing in small bars around St. Louis. Devon grew up in a performing family and got into musical theater as she grew older.
“When I was a kid, probably about 2 or 3, my mom noticed I was very hammy. i was off the walls and wanted to perform. She got me into musical theater when I was pretty young. It was a wonderful experience and I wouldn’t take it back for anything. eventually Gene and i met, we were room mates, and we just started jamming in the living room, playing cover songs, laughing and having a blast. That turned into writing and we made the transition into playing original folk music,” said Devon.
Letter to Memphis blends blues, country, and soul into indie folk to create a style that has been described by critics as whimsical and powerful at the same time. Both Devon and Gene had lost their way, going through substance abuse and a failed marriage respectively. Their backgrounds in music and their past experiences gave them the inspiration for much of their style and their new song Thursday Night Blues.
“Both of us kind of lost our way, which was an inspiration for our song Thursday Night Blues. When we met, it actually took a little bit, but we started being really musically inspired by each other and neither of us had played music in a while. Eventually, after coming together, we sort of lifted each other up in a way,” said Devon.
The band grew in 2012 with the addition of upright bass player Paul Niehaus IV, then again in 2013 with violinist Sarah Velasquez.
“Paul joined us in 2012. We were playing a show, he just came in and sat down with his upright bass and all of a sudden I was ready to dance. t was weird because I didn’t even really know what bass was. He st down and I was like Please never leave because I like this sound. In 2013, we added Sarah Velasquez who plays violin and sings. It’s mostly Gene and I who do the writing but we all collaborate,” said Devon