Devitt Elverson was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He began playing music at the age of eight when his sister returned home from summer camp and asked her parents to buy her a baritone ukulele. She taught her younger brother some chords on the ukulele and he was hooked. The following spring, they went to one of the border towns in Mexico and bought a Mexican guitar for $12. They restrung it with nylon strings and Elverson began to learn how to play the guitar. He took guitar lessons at a local music store and learned how to play the hits of the day by groups like Herman’s Hermits, the Animals, and the Beatles. He got his first electric guitar when he was about 10 years old. He began jamming with other musicians when he was 13 or 14. They were much more experienced than he and introduced him to the blues.
In high school he and four other classmates formed a band that they named Cold Ridge. They performed at after school parties, playing mostly cover songs. Because the drummer was very advanced, they picked difficult songs such as “Blind Eye” by Uriah Heep and “To Cry You a Song” by Jethro Tull. In 1971, Elverson teamed up with fellow band mate and bass player George Rodgers and together they wrote and produced a rock opera called “Revelation.” It was performed twice at their high school auditorium. After high school Elverson played in a number of informal pick-up jam bands in college. There were a series of parties called Porto parties where people paid a dollar to get in and there was an endless supply of beer. Elverson and friends provided the music. He spent a year in Germany, again jamming with local musicians.
In the late 70s and early 80s Elverson began writing music again. He put together a band called the Gestalt Benders and they recorded some songs which were released on a cassette tape. “In 1982, now in New York, Elverson teamed up with several musicians to form a band called the Platonics. They played the local clubs and recorded a cassette tape called “Victims of the Modern Age.” One of the songs that Elverson penned called “In this Chair,” was published and shopped. Elverson worked for a while with the engineer of that record, Joe Albano, a multi-instrumentalist with a master’s degree in music and a recording engineer with a burgeoning business. Together they put up together a band called Safety in Numbers. All of the musicians in that band were trained musicians with considerable experience. This forced Elverson to expand his knowledge of music theory and charting. The band recorded extensively but never released any of the recordings. Elverson wrote or co-wrote the majority of the songs. Safety in Numbers gained somewhat of a following and played the 10 PM slot at the Bitter End on Saturday nights for a number of months. They also played a number of other venues. Eventually the band split it into two groups. Elverson, the bass player, Tom Semioli, and one of the singers, Pat Tamburi, formed a new group with several other musicians, called Jacob’s Ladder for which Elverson wrote or co-wrote the majority of the songs. The band recorded extensively to work out arrangements prior to going into the studio and rehearsing. They played a few gigs and then a more promising prospect enticed the majority of the band to leave the band. Some of the songs were released on Elverson‘s first solo CD “When My Ship Comes In.”
Elverson stopped listening to or playing music from the late 80s into the mid-nineties, when the singer songwriter movement began. Intrigued by the sound of these artists, he began to write again. In the past he played almost exclusively electric guitar but during this phase he moved into acoustic guitar and mandolin. In 1995 he released his second CD “When I was a Child.” Simultaneously he joined band named Tex Wagner, playing guitar and mandolin. Tex Wagner appeared in several night clubs such as the Spiral. They recorded extensively and eventually the CD “Flammable America“ was released in 2020 after the rest of the band recorded and re-recorded several songs. The CD contains several songs pinned by Elverson and some in which he was co-writer.
From the late 90s until approximately 2012-2013, Elverson stopped playing and writing music. A friend, with whom he played in The Platonics, called and suggested they try to write together. Elverson was reluctant at first, but acquiesced, provided that he write the songs on mandolin. They wrote and recorded several songs together. Meanwhile Elverson started to write a number of songs and recorded the CD “Not Your Grandfather’s Mandolin“ on which former Texas Wagner bandmate, Stu Richards, sang. Elverson composed all of the songs on mandolin and played all of the instruments other than the drums.
For his next CD, “Helping Hands,” Elverson wrote and recorded a number of new songs and hired professional musicians to play the drums, bass, keyboards, and other instruments. Additionally, he hired a professional vocalist. He followed the same process his double CD called “The Forest for the Trees.” From 2019-2020 he wrote and recorded the tracks for his next CD “Interesting Times.” During this time, Elverson had been playing mandolin in a group called Magic Forest. They played various clubs such as The Sidewalk and Otto’s Shrunken Head. The band gave it’s last performance in 2018, but has regrouped with Elverson now playing guitar.
Elverson draws from a wide range of musical styles. Of course, like most guitarists of his day, he was strongly influenced by the first and second British invasion and the popular American bands. But he was also a big fan of English and Irish folk music, especially Steele Eye Span and Richard Thompson. He always was mesmerized by the Bossa Nova and in 1974 while working in a record store in Frankfurt Germany, heard Elis Regina, a very popular Brazilian singer in the 70’s. That lead to a many year infatuation with Brazil and its many musical traditions culminating in a two-week drumming course in Salvador Bahia with Bira Reis in 2002. In 1999, Elverson traveled to Senegal and Cape Verde on a musical pilgrimage with Afropop seeing the likes of Baaba Maal and Youssou N’Dour and a number of other Senegalese artist. The following year was a trip to Mali, again with Afropop traveling with a number of musicians including Habab Koite and Bonnie Raitt and seeing countless Malian artists. In 2001 he traveled to Cuba, again with Afropop. All of these Afropop trips were extremely intense and dived deeply into the culture and music of the countries visited. 2003 took him to The Festival in the Desert in Essakane in the Sahara desert outside of Timbuktu where Ali Farka Toure, Robert Plant and a number of Tuareg bands played for three mesmerizing day. This was followed by a musical trip to Ethiopia to further explore its music. All of these influences have woven their way into his music.