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Jordan Sellergren Returns To The Stage, And Hopes To Stay This Time

It took more than a year, but Iowa City’s Jordan Sellergren is finally playing shows again, performing songs from her latest album.

“Sweet, Bitter Tears” is Sellergren’s first album that she’s released under her own name: she’d previously written and released music under the moniker Milk & Eggs. The album was scheduled to be released early in May of 2020. After the pandemic began, Sellergren decided to follow the lead of other musicians and push back her album release and accompanying show to May 21, 2020.

“I was like, ‘We’re gonna think positive!’” said Sellergren, with a rueful laugh.

jordan sellergren cedar basin
IPR/Tony Dehner
Jordan Sellergren performing at the Cedar Basin Music Festival in June of 2021, in Cedar Falls.

Of course, the postponements and cancellations didn’t stop there, and Sellergren doesn’t mince words when it comes to her feelings at the time.

“It sucked,” she said. “I hadn’t played with a full band until we started on this record, and I was just really getting into the swing of it, as a performer and a bandleader. For me, the saddest part, beyond the pandemic itself, was feeling like I was taking steps back in my progress as a performer.”

On top of everything else, Sellergren and her family contracted COVID-19, about a year into the pandemic, and after she’d received her first dose of the vaccine. She describes the experience as “scary” and “shocking.”

“I had this ongoing, physical ‘fuzziness,’ and the feeling in my lungs was scary,” said Sellergren. ”I kept getting this vision of charcoal in my lungs. But I didn’t get any long-term effects that I know of.”

Jordan Sellergren headshot
Tyler Erickson
"Sweet, Bitter Tears," Jordan Sellergren's first album under her own name, was released in May of 2020.

“I was doing a lot of moping around and being angry at the world,” she said. “I don’t know if I played a lot of music. It was like a week-long blackout.”

Sellergren is once again performing live, with a band of Iowa City musicians: Randall Davis on guitar, Richard Wagor on bass, and Matt Bernemann on drums. She’s happy to be doing it, but with the delta variant raging and hospitalizations going up, Sellergren wonders how long it’ll last, and says she supports vaccination requirements for shows.

“A lot of my shows aren’t ticketed, so it’s up to the restaurant whether or not they want to enforce that,” said Sellergren. “If I did a ticketed, headline event, I would absolutely require vaccinations. I am like that. Sorry!”

Jordan Sellergren is IPR’s Artist of the Month for September. She’ll be performing on September 17 at Octopus College Hill in Cedar Falls, and Sutliff Farm & CIder House on October 10. She’ll also be at xBk in Des Moines on December 4, along with Ryan O’Rien & The Bowling Green Revival. “Sweet, Bitter Tears” is available on Spotify and Bandcamp.