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Folk Tree Songs For Staying At Home

The Awful Purdies
The Awful Purdies are an Iowa City based band. Their music video for the track "Rest These Bones" is one IPR's Karen Impola flagged as a great song for comfort during these strange times.

Here’s a collection of songs from Midwestern artists, most of them newly recorded from wherever the artists find themselves these days. As the weeks of sheltering-in-place go by, IPR's Karen Impola encourages you to continue to seek out new music to listen to, and to sing, play, and dance to. 

Carrie Newcomer - Sanctuary

Singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer specializes in songs that touch the heart and nourish the soul. This song originally appeared on her 2016 album “The Beautiful Not Yet.” She shared a new performance of it last week from her home in Indiana.

Peter Mayer - Blue Boat Home

Minnesota singer-songwriter Peter Mayer first appeared on our airwaves from our Cedar Falls studios in the mid 1990s. He played one of his best-known songs, “Blue Boat Home,” from his backyard this past Wednesday in honor of Earth Day. 

Susan Werner - The Blessings

Susan Werner grew up on a farm near Manchester, and studied at the University of Iowa. She originally trained as an opera singer but went on to conquer the world as a singer-songwriter. She’s in Philadelphia right now, and has been livestreaming a concert every Sunday night, as well as writing new material. This song is part of a series she calls “Songs of Social Distance.”

Catfish Keith - A True Friend is Hard to Find

Catfish Keith is another Iowan who has gone on to national and international renown. A devotee of country blues and a master of the resophonic guitar, he has 18 albums to his credit. Keith makes his home in Iowa City, but March found him on tour in Oaxaca, Mexico when the gigs dried up.  He’s sheltering in place near the beach in Puerto Escondido and sending music out into the world.

Awful Purdies - Rest These Bones

This is a pre-pandemic video from the Iowa City band Awful Purdies. Listen and watch for gorgeous harmonies, gorgeous instrumentation, and some gorgeous Iowa scenery. I hope you’re able to get out and enjoy the countryside.


Please remember that these are difficult times for musicians, who can’t rely on a regular paycheck. If you are able to do so, buying their merchandise or contributing to their virtual tip jars and Patreon accounts will help.


If you’re a musician making videos from home, I’d love to check them out. Folk Tree listeners, what songs do you find particularly comforting right now? Keep in touch! My email address is kimpola at


Karen Impola is the host of IPR's The Folk Tree