“Furfuraceous” and “muliebrity” were some of the uncommon words that closed out a spelling bee Kris Delmhorst attended while also chatting up her current tour.
The energetic singer-songwriter has always been a wordsmith. Delmhorst is a literate and cerebral entertainer, but her lyrics aren’t filled with arcane words.
“I don’t use words like the ones at this event,” Delmhorst said by phone from her home in Buckland, Mass. “I never heard of the word ‘muliebrity.’ You won’t hear anything like that in one of my songs.”
During an interview with Suzanne Vega 20 years ago, the earnest bard was asked if her songwriting changed after she had her daughter. “I write in a less complex manner now probably because of my child,” Vega said.
Delmhorst can relate. Not only does she avoid using words such as “colloquialism,” the married mother of one noticed that after she had her now 10-year-old daughter, her songwriting technique was altered.
“After Hazel was born, I did write in a more simpler manner,” Delmhorst said. “She changed my life.”
Hazel helped shape Delmhorst’s latest album, “The Wild,” released in October 2017.
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When Hazel started school, Delmhorst went through an identity crisis that she worked out on her eighth album.
“I made it through the little-kid phase,” she said. “I was wondering what happened and who I was. I was like a crab leaving one shell for another, but I didn’t know where the other shell was. After becoming a mom, I wondered if I would ever write again.”
Delmhorst crafted a batch of deep, moving folk/pop-rock, which graces “The Wild.”
“I did find myself,” Delmhorst said. “I was relieved. I haven’t stopped writing.”
Delmhorst has written a number of new songs for her forthcoming album.
“I wrote them on the piano so they’re a little different,” she said. “You’ll have to hear them. I’ll play some new ones when I get to Iowa.”
It’ll be an intimate show with Delmhorst backed by guitarist Sam Moss of Boston, who also will open the show Wednesday night (12/12) at CSPS in Cedar Rapids.
“Two guitars and a lot of songs,” Delmhorst said. “I love playing with Sam. It’s fun.”
She knows something about fun. Her 2011 album, “Cars,” is a collection of revamped songs from the iconic Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame band The Cars. Hopefully Delmhorst will dust off some of her folky versions of Cars songs when she returns to CSPS.
“I had the greatest time making that album,” she said. “I loved The Cars when I was a kid. Their songs are so amazing.”
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All good songs are malleable. It’s fascinating listening to a revamped version of The Cars’ “Hello Again,” which Delmhorst transformed from a dated synthesizer-driven cut to a quietly potent song. It’s reminiscent of New Order’s club anthem “Bizarre Love Triangle,” after it was stripped down by one-hit wonder Frente a quarter century ago.
“Yes, the ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ cover was cool,” Delmhorst said. “I just tried to have fun with The Cars songs. I invited (Cars keyboardist) Greg Hawkes to come in and play. He did, and it was just a great time.”
Delmhorst splits her time between recording and touring and child care with her husband, songwriter Jeffrey Foucault, who was touring behind his latest album, “Blood Brothers,” earlier in the year.
“It was his turn then and now I’m taking advantage of my opportunity,” Delmhorst said. “It’s working out for us.”
It’s not surprising that the couple’s daughter is on the creative side.
“She’s getting it from both ends,” Delmhorst said. “I’m not saying what she is going to do but not only is it about creativity and music in our house, we live a little differently than most people. We don’t work in an office space. Every now and again, I wonder what it would be like to just come home at 5 p.m. from the office and do nothing. With what we do, it’s never turned off. But I really like that. I can’t imagine living another way.”
WHAT: Kris Delmhorst with Sam Moss opening
WHERE: CSPS, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids
WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday (12/12)
TICKETS: $17 in advance, $21 show day; CSPS Box Office, (319) 364-1580 or Legionarts.org
ARTIST’S WEBSITE: Krisdelmhorst.com