Elizabeth Moen talks her first big tour, songwriting, new album

Elizabeth Moen returns to the Englert this weekend, a year after her album drop concert.


Wyatt Dlouhy

Elizabeth Moen performs at the Englert Theater on Friday, September14, 2018. The concert was part of Elizabeth Moen's LP "A Million Miles Away" release tour.(Wyatt Dlouhy/The Daily Iowan)

Austin J. Yerington, Arts Reporter

It has been an eventful year for Iowa City musician Elizabeth Moen – the busiest of her life, she said. With a tour that took her all over the country, she is ending her outing at the Englert Theater this coming Saturday.

This tour has been different than the past ones Moen and her band have been on in more ways than one. The biggest difference has been the assistance she’s getting from management and bookings, she said.

“I’ve been doing our booking for the last few years, and we’ve got people helping us out this time,” Moen said. “That help is really coming through, and it has been really great.”

Due to the new assistance, Moen has now found more time to plan and write songs for her next unrecorded, unnamed album.

“I wasn’t writing at all when I was overwhelmed with self-managing, self-booking,” Moen said.  “So once we got more people on board to help out, more songs started to fart right out.”

Many of the new songs Moen has written have been performed on her tour, and she said she is excited to play them to a local crowd.

“Most of the songs we’re going to play are brand new [to Iowa City], unheard stuff,” Moen said. “It’s fun to play those a bunch before that show and get our nerves out.”

The scope of this new album is larger than anything she has recorded before, Moen said, with the main adjective “epic” coming up often while describing it.

“I think the songs I’ve been writing and the vision I have for them are bigger,” Moen said. “We’re going to try and get some funding and make it as big as we can, because I think these songs deserve that.”

With dreams of trumpets, strings, and “a bunch of harmonies,” Moen hopes this new album will be grander than anything she has ever recorded.

“The next record will have more of an edge, more grittier,” Moen said.

Related: Elizabeth Moen to play at Englert in celebration of new album release 

With the nature of these more intense and sincere songs, they can conjure up past selves that have long passed, but performing them are important to her, said Moen.

“I do always go back into that zone, however intense it was when I was writing it,” Moen said. “Now when I’m done performing, I take a couple minutes to myself before going to the merch stand and talking with people.”

The themes of past Moen records have been about love, loss, and identity. Her upcoming album deals with experiences that Moen is feeling now.

“A lot of these songs are about personal growth, things that have happened,”  Moen said. “Kind of just being a young adult and figuring out what the hell anything is.”

For those who follow Moen’s music career, they will know how her lyrics are both beautiful, yet also raw and honest. Moen hopes that she can continue to pursue this honesty in her songs.

“My lyrics are always pretty intense, no filter,” Moen said. “I think the less of the filter I put on the lyrics, the less of a filter there is between me and the listener.”

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