When she moved from Los Angeles to her farm in northeast Iowa in 2015, Lissie wanted to get away from the music business.
Seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, though, she can’t wait to get back into the thick of it.
“One of the things I really miss is the camaraderie of it all,” said the Quad Cities-reared singer-songwriter, a Twin Cities favorite since her single “When I’m Alone” hit local radio in 2010.
“When you’re there with your band, the crew, the promoters, the venue and you’re all working toward the same goal to put on a good show, it’s a great feeling.”
The real-life Elisabeth Maurus, 37, will finally have five chances to generate that feeling again over the next week in the town she now calls “my music hub.”
She’s hosting a five-part concert series, dubbed An Autumn Escape, at Icehouse in Minneapolis starting Sunday, when she plays two sets with her mostly Twin Cities-based band (3 and 7 p.m.). Two solo shows follow Tuesday and Wednesday, and then another band gig on Thursday.
Announced just last week, the series was mostly sold out at press time. Truth is, all five shows could have been solo gigs and probably sold just fine.
Lissie demonstrated her prowess as a solo performer on “When I’m Alone: The Piano Retrospective.” Last year’s album featured stripped-down versions of her best-known songs, including “Don’t You Give Up on Me” and “Best Days.” It also boasted a simmering cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” adding to the Stevie Nicks comparisons the husky-voiced folk-rock singer has been the subject of since Day One.
But getting to play with her band again is one of the reasons Lissie is doing these Icehouse shows — and the main reason she’s doing them in Minneapolis.
“It has all sort of worked out perfectly,” she said of her Twin Cities-based backing unit, which includes drummer Luke Anderson, keyboardist Dayton Brock, bassist Justin Blair and guitarist Peter Sieve. (Her usual guitarist and bassist, Toni Lindgren and Megan Mahoney, are also locals but are each currently residing on the coasts.)
“I can pop in my truck, hop on Hwy. 52 and do the 2½-hour drive up to Minneapolis to rehearse with them when I want. I like the drive, honestly.”
After canceling a swath of summer dates due to the pandemic — including a sorely missed show in Oslo, Norway, marking the 10th anniversary of her debut album “Catching a Tiger” — Lissie and the band finally got to perform again at Minneapolis’ Parkway Theater in August, a livestreamed concert benefiting the theater.
“From the moment we started rehearsing there, I started choking up,” she remembered. “I realized how much I really missed it.”
That gave her the itch to also play again in front of a live audience. Then she saw recent social media posts with Chastity Brown, Chris Koza and David Huckfelt — “some of my favorite artists from up there, or anywhere,” she said — playing safely distanced shows on the patio outside Icehouse, where she hosted her Spring Fling concert series in 2017.
“It had to be outdoors this time, so obviously it had to happen soon,” she said, noting that she’s still skittish about performing indoors.
“Outside should be fine, as long as it’s spaced out and people wear masks when they get up. It really comes down to trust. I trust the venue and the audience will be smart about making safe decisions.”
Already planning a light year in 2020 after touring heavily behind her last all-new album, “Castles,” Lissie said she has had no trouble filling her time. She enrolled in a Master Gardener course through Iowa State University and planted “all the flowers I could,” she said. She has also been studying ways of managing the woodlands on her 50-acre spread near Decorah.
“I’ve sort of been focusing on the things within my control to make my little corner of the world better and more beautiful,” she said.
“A lot of times I think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. But this year, it’s been nice to have no shortage of things to do around here.”
One thing she admits she hasn’t done a lot of is write songs for her next album. On top of all the other calamities in the world, the singer went through a breakup this spring.
“It’s going to take me a while to unpack everything this year has delivered,” she said.
In the meantime, she plans to release a second EP’s worth of cover songs, details of which will be announced soon. Some of her most popular streaming tracks are her reworkings of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” and Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness.”
“It’s fun for the band and I to work on [covers], and sometimes I feel more emotionally attached to those songs than I do my own,” she said.
Whenever she does have her own new songs to unveil, Twin Citians can expect to be among the first to hear them.
“I think I’ve got a pretty good thing going on there,” she said of her adopted music scene. “People there seem to crave live music and go out to see it whatever the weather.”
Lissie’s Autumn Escape
Band shows: 3 & 7 p.m. Sun., 7 p.m. Thu.
Solo: 7 p.m. Tue. & Wed.
Where: Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls.
Tickets: $50-$65, icehousempls.com.