116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
After celebrating her 40th birthday and Thanksgiving in Iowa City, singer/songwriter Lissie Maurus is driving home to Decorah and planning her next road trip.
“I’ll be on the road in a couple of days on my way to Chicago and then I’ll be back in Iowa City,” Maurus said while calling from Marion. “I’ve always had a connection with Iowa City.”
Her father went to medical school at the University of Iowa, where her mother was an undergrad.
“So I went to my share of football games at the University of Iowa and I saw plays at the Hancher Auditorium when I was growing up.”
Maurus would travel with her family from her Rock Island home. Now she visits her brother, who resides in Iowa City.
“It’s such a cool town,” Maurus said. “It’s a great music city.”
“Carving Canyons,” Maurus’ latest album, which dropped in September, will be showcased Friday at Wildwood Saloon in Iowa City. The autobiographical release was inspired by a breakup during lockdown.
“A lot of people went through what I experienced,” Maurus said. “The album is a document of how I processed my experiences and emotions.”
Maurus went through the gamut from anger to sorrow to relief.
“The album was so therapeutic since I experienced so much,” she said. “It’s a collection of grief and pain but the reality is that time heals all wounds. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s so true. I lived through so much during lockdown.”
The moving “Unlock the Chains” reflects the newfound clarity Maurus experienced during the pandemic: “Everything I thought I knew/About what I wanted might not be true/Time will tell and make my eyes new/Unlock the chains of love.”
“The pandemic is horrible with all of the death and illness, but there is a silver lining,” Maurus said. “This has been a wake-up call for so many people. We had to confront ourselves and deal with some cold, hard facts. I’ve grown up since the pandemic arrived.”
The latest cold, hard fact for Maurus is hitting 40.
“It was scary turning 30, but I have no problem with being 40,” she said. “For some reason reaching this age just doesn't bother me. I feel like I’m up for relaxing at 40.”
Good luck with that, since Maurus not only writes, records and tours, but she also has a cute side business, the popcorn company Otts’ Pops Indie Pop.
The endeavor features bags of gourmet popcorn with a music theme. There’s Brit-pop, which is cheese and onion flavored. Synth pop, which is dark chocolate, strawberry with a hint of cayenne. “It's a moody, romantic flavor that’s a little fiery,” Maurus said. “We try to have fun with it.”
There’s even a Lissie popcorn. “That one is, of course, cheesy,” Maurus cracked. “I’m having fun with this, since I like to be busy. The popcorn business is fun, but it’s about the music for me.”
Maurus won’t be previewing songs in her upcoming concert. The engaging performer will focus on “Carving Canyons” and her five prior studio releases.
“I have plenty of material to draw from,” she said. “I’m going to tour behind this album for the next couple of months.”
Maurus will return to Europe in February for a month full of shows.
“It’s funny that I’m more popular in other countries than I am in Iowa,” she said. “I also haven’t played Iowa City that much during my career, but I always look forward to returning, since my family can see me and I obviously love Iowa or I would live in another state.
“I have a lot of memories in Iowa City going back to those days at the University of Iowa games,” she said. “There’s no place like Iowa.”