When they met at Oberlin College in the mid-90s, Elsbeth Todd and Aaron Rester quickly discovered that they shared both a love of music and songwriting and a distant relation to the infamous Aaron Burr. They began performing as The Burrs in some of the local haunts also frequented by classmates like Josh Ritter and Rhiannon Giddens, playing originals and covers by acts like Ani DiFranco and Freedy Johnston.

More than two decades later, the two friends reunited at historic Sun Studio to record a song Aaron had written that didn’t quite fit in with his other projects, and it quickly became clear that their musical partnership remained alive and well.

Aaron Rester (left) and Elsbeth Todd of the band Theodosia, in front of a neon sign in the window of Sun Studio

“There’s a legend that Burr’s daughter Theodosia didn’t actually die in a shipwreck, and that she lived out her days anonymously in North Carolina until the doctor who treated her on her deathbed discovered a portrait that revealed her identity,” says Rester. “That’s what it felt like to play together again after all those years — like an old truth was being revealed again.”

The song Todd and Rester recorded that day in Memphis, “Sorry, Proserpina,” became the first single from the reunited duo, who decided to call themselves Theodosia after their long-lost relation. “It’s time we reclaim her from a certain Broadway musical,” jokes Todd.

Their reborn sound draws not only on the roots and folk music that they cut their teeth on when first performing together but also an expanded palette of electronic and trip-hop influences, drawing inspiration from acts as diverse as Chuck Prophet, Sylvan Esso, and David Gray.

As the duo continues their long-distance collaboration, they intend to keep exploring the new sonic possibilities that technology has made possible. “We’ve come a long way from recording on a boom box in my dorm room,” says Rester, “but we want to try to keep that feeling of spontaneity and possibility alive as long as we can."