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Art in the time of COVID-19: Elizabeth Moen

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This series, Art in the time of COVID-19, highlights musicians and artists in eastern Iowa whose life and work have been upended by the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state.

If you would like to recommend someone to be featured in this space, please reach out to Little Village.

Elizabeth Moen, March 18, 2020. — Zak Neuman/Little Village

Elizabeth Moen, singer/songwriter

When Iowa City’s Elizabeth Moen dove into songwriting, it was head-first and no looking back. In the less than five years Moen’s been writing and recording, she’s released three albums, and has one in the wings. Her self-titled debut prompted our reviewer Kent Williams to write, “This is a remarkable first album, that seems to have come — as the best things sometimes do — out of nowhere.”

Moen has been playing guitar since middle school and singing, she wrote in an email, “since day one.” Her warm folk stylings don’t come out of nowhere, but out of an enormous amount of work, discipline and savvy. And Moen always seem to be working on something new. Just today, she submitted an entry to the NPR Tiny Desk competition. (You can view it below.)

“It’s just me being quarantined and bored,” she wrote.

Moen puts most of the money she earns on tour right back into the operation — paying her bandmates, buying gas and keeping the tour van running. “After that,” she said, “I take home enough to live alright and stay on couches of friends and family.”

Her new tour was supposed to be different.

“These upcoming shows were the start of me maybe making some extra to start saving for my own apartment,” she said, “but that piggy bank has been crushed with a pan(demic).”

Current associated acts: Elizabeth Moen. “Just that for now,” Moen said. “Dream would to start playing guitar, bass, or drums in friends’ bands!”

Listen:

Purchase: Find all of her albums digitally at elizabethmoen.bandcamp.com (but consider waiting till Friday, March 20, when Bandcamp will be waiving its share of revenue to show support and raise awareness of the need to support artists during the pandemic); grab LPs or great merch on her website at elizabethmoen.com/merch.

How many gigs have you canceled or had cancel on you since serious social distancing kicked in?

40+.

Where do pandemics rank, on your list of primal fears?

Wellllll, they were super low on the list but now they’re climbing up the charts.

What is the role of art in a crisis?

Just like what it always is. It’s here for us to process our emotions. Feel our feels. We’re all going through a lot inside our minds right now and the best way to sort out all those things is with some art. Music, visual, dance, etc.

What’s your favorite corny aphorism that you find actually helpful?

All for one and one for all. STAY HOME Y’ALL!

How can we help?

Online support. Like and share my music with your friends. Stream it. Follow it. Buy it. Also by staying healthy and informed. I care about this community so much and I need y’all staying healthy out there for future fun times!


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