IPR Music

Matt Alvarez / IPR

A "special edition" of the annual Iowa City festival focusing on music and literature has been announced for September 17-19.

Ralph Homan / Flickr

Musicians, just like everybody else, are staying home as much as possible these days. Fortunately, because of modern technology and the internet, we can still hear new music from them. The following is a selection of five songs that have been recorded and shared since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Some are newly written in response to the pandemic. All are by midwesterners, some of whom live or used to live right here in Iowa.

Duane Tinkey / Facebook

If you stuck at home looking for something new and different to explore, this weekend would be the perfect time to take the plunge into the opera world.

Alexey Ruban / Unsplash

Like virtually everything else, the music business is being shaken up by the current pandemic. 

Iowa Public Radio’s Studio One is part of the non-commercial radio world, which is an interconnected system of stations, promoters and record labels, and the music you hear on shows like “Studio One Tracks” has not been spared from the slow down we’re all feeling.

Jonathan Tichler / Met Opera / Facebook

With an American opera house of international caliber, why miss the opportunity to see and hear the world’s best performances from the Metropolitan Opera?


Due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, the MET is offering a handful of operas for free through their "Nightly Opera Stream" series. They are also streaming much of their catalog for free if you sign up for a seven day trial of the MET's "on demand" platform or for a $4.99 rental per work. 


Here are a few recommendations not to miss from IPR's Jacqueline Halbloom. 

Madeleine King / IPR File

The coronavirus outbreak has been devastating for live music. Nationally-touring bands and local musicians alike have canceled shows, which are a primary source of income for artists and others who make their living from live performances. In these trying times, there are still ways to support your favorite musicians. 

Roberta / Flickr

COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has disrupted everything. IPR's Karen Impola, who hosts the Folk Tree, says she finds music a big source of comfort and has some recommendations.

Madeleine King / IPR File

As the current number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Iowa continues to rise, postponements, cancellations, and closures are a daily occurrence. By order of the governor, restaurants, bars and other public spaces remain closed in an effort to restrict the spread of the novel coronavirus. We’re definitely in uncharted waters! Here's what we know. 

Credit Wartburg College, Wartburg Choir

Choral groups around our state have canceled or postponed concerts until it’s safe to congregate. Instead of “Big Lists Of Choral Events,” we're going to start sharing videos of some of our favorite choral performances from around Iowa. 

Gerry Hardy / Flickr

Songwriters will write songs about what inspires them, and often they (like us) are inspired by other musicians and songwriters.  

Omar Prestwich

There’s a flood of news regarding the spread of the novel coronavirus across the state and across the country. It’s important to take a step back, even if just for a moment, to think about something else.

Here are five videos from Iowa artists who have recently played in our studio or have joined us for Studio One Underground, our live concert series at xBk in Des Moines, that we hope offer you some respite. 

Des Moines Symphony / Facebook

Events and public gatherings of all kinds are being canceled in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19 across the state of Iowa. If you have tickets to a show or event in the coming month, we recommend checking in with the hosting organization to ensure it’s not been canceled or postponed.

@thefordly / Facebook

If music is an expression of the human condition, music videos are the visualization. Lily DeTaeye’s new music video “Tusk” is a fierce example.

Since the release of DeTaeye’s album BiTe Back, she has been singing about what it means to be a woman in today’s political landscape. Her just-released video “Tusk” is a challenge to men who believe they deserve to be ever dominant. 

Roberta / Flickr, https://tinyurl.com/va6q5pn

Codfish Hollow has cancelled the last indoor show of the season following news about cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in Iowa.

Venue owner Tiffany Biehl is monitoring information being provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) closely and is prepared to cancel shows, and potentially the entire season, if that’s what experts recommend.

Meg Vogel / NPR

The 2020 Tiny Desk Contest is underway, and it represents a potentially life-changing opportunity for unsigned musicians across the country.

For NPR Music's Bob Boilen, the host and producer of the Tiny Desk Concerts, it's also an opportunity to discover talented artists who otherwise might remain undiscovered. 

Matthew Alvarez / IPR

The Mission Creek Festival is right around the corner. As usual, a diverse and talented selection of artists will be appearing at this annual festival focusing on music and literature April 1-4 in Iowa City. 

Penny Peach / Courtesy of Elizabeth Moen

Have you had that moment when you realize a chapter in your life is over, you can't go back, and you have to adjust to the way things are now?

Elizabeth Moen has too, and she's here for your feels with a sultry new ode to life in the ever after. 

Courtesy of the University of Northern Iowa

All across Iowa, choirs are planning impressive spring concerts in the coming months. 

Here's a list of everything we know about that's happening in March. If your concert is missing, email us, and please let us know what we should add!

Barrett Emke

Kevin Morby has been making music since he was 10 years old when he started playing the guitar. When he was 17, he dropped out of high school, got his GED and moved to Brooklyn where he released his first album.

Fast forward to 2020, and he’s released five solo albums. His newest, “Oh My God,” reflects on our culture’s relationship with a higher power, both in terms of the thoughtful and the trivial. 

Good Era Film

Singer-songwriter Ben Rendall, who is a member of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls band TWINS, has released a new single and music video, “In Your Twenties.”

Madeleine King / IPR File

Hinterland is back this summer for its sixth year July 31 – August 2.  

Chris Pizzello / AP Photo

Hollywood produced some truly incredible movies in 2019 with some truly incredible soundtracks. If after watching some of these movies you find yourself thinking “wow, I wish I knew where to find more music like that,” here are some recommendations based on movies that are nominated for "best soundtrack" at this year’s Academy Awards. 

Madeleine King / IPR File

Winter in Iowa can be harsh.  Rather than keeping you at home, perhaps the snow and cold can spur you on to see a great band in a warm venue! Here are a few upcoming shows that caught my attention. With a couple of exceptions, these are all nationally touring acts passing through our state.  In addition, there is a wealth of Iowa talent to be heard performing near you in the next couple of months!

Jack Plunkett / Invision/AP

We’ve put the lid on 2019.  And we’ve looked back at the decade just finished, reveling in all the great music that has come our way.  Of course, every year has its share of stellar sounds, and 2020 will be no exception.  Here are five records coming out in the next few weeks that we are eagerly awaiting. 

IPR/Matthew Alvarez

Nearly a dozen people sat in a small room painted black and lit only by two theatre lamps, drawing attention to a DJ booth with its chrome and silver equipment glimmering.

DJ Patrick Blin stepped up to the booth, and the silence was broken by the sounds of record scratches as those watching pulled out their phones to begin filming. Smiles broke out across their faces.


A handful of us at IPR have spent entirely too much time obsessing over what we think the best albums of the decade are. After much deliberation, here are our picks. 

We also want to know what your favorite albums were! Tweet us @IowaPublicRadio #iprmusic. 

Madeleine King / IPR

2019 was another great year for Iowa music, with a wide variety of artists releasing new songs, EPs and albums.  Here are ten noteworthy full-length albums from the past year, listed in the order of their release.

30 Albums From 2019 You Should Hear

Dec 18, 2019
Madeleine King / IPR

There was a lot of good music that came out in 2019. If you're like us and anxiously awaiting the new Tame Impala album which is forthcoming in early 2020, here are the best records to listen to between now and then. 

Mission Creek is turning 15 this year. Festival organizer Andre Perry says he’s looking forward to bringing back some of the aspects of the festival that make it unique and has programmed this year's event with the intention of making it a more intense experience. 

Dates for this year’s fest are April 1-4. In the past, the event has spanned six days. This year, they’ve shortened it to four. 

Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

It's easy to grow tired of hearing the same holiday songs over and over again. Happily, there's a lot of seasonal music that's not heard as much and is just waiting to be discovered!