Cara Louise specializes in melancholy melodies, narrative songwriting, and reinventing her sound. Formed in 2013 in St. Louis, Cara Louise—formerly known as the Cara Louise Band—is made up of Cara Louise Wegener on vocals and guitar, her husband Adam Donald on electric and steel guitar, Scotti Iman on drums, Simon Chervitz on bass, and Buddy Shumaker on the keyboard.

Cara Louise’s 2019 EP, Fragile Heart, strayed from the country-like ballads on the 2015 self-released EP To Be Dead Is To Be Known and enters Americana territory with synthesizer and vocal effects in play.

The band worked with producer David Beeman at Native Sound, a full-service recording studio in St. Louis, to create Fragile Heart. With honest lyricism, heavy guitar, and a stand-alone love song that anyone who has argued with a partner will relate to, the five-song EP marked a new beginning for Cara Louise.

Since November, the band has been back in the studio at Native Sound with David creating their first full-length album with plans to release it this summer. Because of the necessity to stay home in 2020, Cara and Adam had plenty of free time to experiment with their songwriting and wrote more than twenty songs at their St. Louis home.

“Most of the songwriting happens between the two of us, but then we love to see what the band brings to practice,” Cara says. “When the song is complete, we’ll show it to them, and everyone writes their own parts.”

Cara and Adam, who married in 2018, both love ’60s and ’70s rock, including Pink Floyd and Neil Young, but Cara also receives plenty of song-writing inspiration from contemporary artists like Courtney Marie Andrews.

“I can definitely see some of my songs taking on her style and being inspired by her,” she says.

It’s no surprise that Cara—who received her creative writing degree from Webster University in St. Louis—flourishes in songwriting with many of her songs making the listener feel as though he or she is in the ballads she sings.

“I do tend to lean toward the darker, sadder, kind of existential outlook and worldview whenever I write anyways,” Cara says. “I feel like most artists are kind of inspired in these times of chaos, and I think a lot of that has come through in my writing.”

In “Empty Promise,” Cara sings, “Settle down, it won’t be long. The world’s used up, it’s almost gone.” Another verse showcases sadness, too: “Living for an empty promise, you’ll die waiting for someone honest.”

Although some of her lyrics have gloomy undertones, you can usually find her dressed in bright colors and white go-go boots while performing on stage. On the new album, Cara plans to lean into more pop influences and maybe even write a few cheerful songs along the way.

“I hope I can write something more upbeat and inspiring for listeners as well because not everything can be so dark and dreary all. the time,” Cara says with a laugh.


Photo // Kristen McGeehan