Talia Schlanger

Talia Schlanger hosts World Cafe, which is distributed by NPR and produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. She got her start in broadcasting at the CBC, Canada's national public broadcaster. She hosted CBC Radio 2 Weekend Mornings on radio and was the on-camera host for two seasons of the television series CBC Music: Backstage, as well as several prime-time music TV specials for CBC, including the Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy's Ocean Floor. Schlanger also guest hosted various flagship shows on CBC Radio One, including As It Happens, Day 6 and Because News. Schlanger also won a Canadian Screen Award as a producer for CBC Music Presents: The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions, a cross-country rock 'n' roll road trip.

Schlanger is a proud alumna of Ryerson's Radio and Television Arts program. Previously she worked as a professional actress and singer, including performing in the first national US tour of Green Day's rock opera American Idiot, Mirvish Productions' original Canadian company of Queen's We Will Rock You and Mamma Mia!. Born and raised in Toronto, Schlanger denies the accusation that she's biased toward Canadian bands. But she is proud to introduce American audiences to a lot of them.

One day, you're touring in a rock band in your 20s, and then, all of a sudden, the checkout guy at Trader Joe's calls you "sir."

It's a mistletoe milestone! After 25 years of bringing cheers to our ears, the alt-country rockers of the Old 97's have released their first album of holiday jams. Love the Holidays is packed with delightful originals, including songs inspired by the Ramones, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer's love life and the social significance of snow angels.

Every single artist who visits us at World Cafe makes a mark with their words. Some have changed the way I hear a lyric, some have changed the way I see the world. Sometimes the shift is subtle, sometimes it's tectonic. With heartfelt thanks to every guest we've had on the show in 2018, here are 10 of my favorite quotes from World Cafe interviews this year — 10 moments in which an artist shared something that rewired my brain, opened my eyes and gave me something I'm still thinking about.


"Let's start a beef, you guys." Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker erupt into laughter before they can fully flesh out a fake feud that might satisfy the "supergroup" designation some have assigned their collaboration. This exchange typifies what makes the trio's debut EP as boygenius so special.

"Odds are the people that love you are just dying for you to tell the truth." When Kiley Lotz, who records as Petal, says this, you believe her. Kiley made her second full length album, Magic Gone, while she was coming to terms with seeking help for major depressive and panic disorders and subsequently going through treatment. She also came out as queer at that time.

Today, we're traveling back 50 years to 1968 Memphis, Tenn. to take a peek inside one of the most influential recording studios, Stax Records. Co-founded by brother and sister Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton, Stax was home to the likes of Otis Redding, the Staples Singers, Booker T.

On the night Jeff Tweedy was set to visit the Free Library of Philadelphia to talk about his new memoir, Let's Go (So We Can Get Back), in front of an audience of fans, the first snow storm of the season had caught the city off guard. Traffic was gnarly and Tweedy was genuinely concerned.

A bunch of artists rent a house in Glorieta, N.M. for a week of tequila, hot tubs, home cooking and music-making. Some of them know each other, some are meeting for the first time. It may sound like the premise for a spring break movie, but it's actually the premise for a new album — one that has equal measures of sweaty, raucous fun and arresting, emotional depth.

Hozier is an artist who can create musical moments big enough to galvanize every molecule of air around them into action and tiny enough that they can burrow themselves in the hidden corners of your own heart. His ability to do both on the same album — and sometimes, even on the same song — is what makes him so special.

Willie Nelson, Mazzy Star and Neil Young have all inspired today's guest to make inviting music that carries an air of mystery, nostalgia and ease. Anna St. Louis started writing songs when she moved to LA about five years ago. Her debut full-length album, If Only There Was a River, came out earlier this year.

Today, a Cinderella story, but with a glass cowboy boot for a slipper. It's about Lori McKenna, a songwriter from a small town outside Boston, who made a massive name for herself in Nashville, won her first Grammy in 2016 and became the first woman to win Songwriter of the Year by the Academy of Country Music in 2017.

I couldn't make it through Ruston Kelly's full-length debut in one stretch the first time I tried. Between the mortal question — "How the hell do I return to normal / If I'm always ending up flat on my back?" — he poses on the opening track and the heart-wrenching harmonica on the next tune, by the time the vocoder washed over the image Kelly as the "son of a highway daughter, born in gasoline" on Track 3, I had to take a welled-up walk away from my desk.

Kacey Musgraves is magnetic — there are no two ways about it. It's not just that she can sing like a bird and write like a bard. It's the calm charisma that a person who knows exactly who she is and wishes the same for others can't help but exude.

The ceilings are low. Other than a handwritten sign taped above the mixing board that says "Try," the walls are blank. There's a violin that only has one string lying under the desk, and a bunch of pieces of a drum kit in a corner next to some keys. We're in the basement studio in Edinburgh, Scotland where Young Fathers made its Scottish Album of the Year Award-winning record Cocoa Sugar.

Robyn's latest album, Honey, out now, is her first new full-length solo album in eight years. While making the record, the Swedish pop singer was dealing with two big losses: the end of a relationship and the death of a longtime friend and collaborator, Christian Falk. She came out the other side with an outstanding album that offers dance as an alternative to sitting down through sadness.

According to KT Tunstall, the best Scottish chips have a lot in common with the best songwriters: they're "soggy and crunchy at the same time." World Cafe visited KT in Edinburgh — where the artist was born — the day after a sold-out show featuring songs from her new album, WAX. The record certainly passes the chip test: It has the bite and crunch of a big rock record and the tender heart of a singer-songwriter confessional.

Bonjay's debut full-length album, Lush Life, is a love letter to the swirl of cities and the people they bring together. It's what happens when strangers clink glasses on rooftops and collide in bike lanes and offer each other seats on subways and sweat it out in basements blaring dancehall.

When she recently accepted the Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award, Rosanne Cash called artists and musicians "the premier service industry for the heart and soul." Throughout Cash's discography and especially on her new album, it's clear Cash takes that service seriously.

Stella Donnelly may win the World Cafe award for least high maintenance and largest musical impact. She came in with her guitar, a big warm smile and a totally unassuming personality, and asked if we had a room she could use for a quick vocal warm-up. OK, sure. Ten minutes later, she emerged, plugged in her guitar and delivered a flawless one-take performance with the kind of vocal control they could write singing textbooks about, and the kind of clever and poignant words that make you want to read the lyric sheet after.

It starts in sing-song. It could be the lullaby that played every time you opened the music box passed down through generations of your family.

Cocoa Sugar

Don't be sad

To say your bye byes

Don't you worry

I'll be here

Until the sunrise

Something truly magical happens when Amelia Meath (from Sylvan Esso), Molly Erin Sarlé and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig are in the same room, huddled around the same mic, breathing and harmonizing together.

Back in July, Elvis Costello announced to fans on social media that he would be cancelling a handful of tour dates to recover from surgery for a a small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy. In the same post, he announced a bright side. He and his band, the Imposters, would release a new album in the fall.

For more than 50 years, guitar and songwriting giant Richard Thompson has twisted the traditions of British folk, shattered the boundaries of genre and stretched the limitations of human hands.

Candi Staton has earned the title of her latest album, Unstoppable, many times over. Candi grew up poor in Hanceville, Ala. In the 1950s as a teen, she used her remarkable voice to tour across the country as a member of the famous Jewel Gospel Trio. Candi became pals with Sam Cooke and Lou Rawls and worked with Aretha Franklin.

More often than not, when you hear songs that ring out with the urgency and complexity of being in a relationship at a difficult time, you're hearing just one side of the story; what passion and loss and doubt and loneliness and lust feels like from just the side of the person making the music.

Dolly Parton, Devendra Banhart, Flor de Toloache and They Might Be Giants all contributed original songs to a new compilation called 27: The Most Perfect Album.

If you're a more detail-oriented person than I am when it comes to getting places, maybe a happy accident of music discovery like this has never happened to you. But about a decade ago, when I thought I was going to see a friend's regular drums, bass guitar indie band, I walked into the venue and saw in front of me a woman lying on the floor playing a light-up sousaphone that was pointing up at the sky, a guy on violin and a lead singer who was in the throes of klezmer-pop-party mania. Let's just say this was not my friend's indie band, and I was very thrilled to have made the mistake.

It's not enough to make list after list. The Turning the Tables project seeks to suggest alternatives to the traditional popular music canon, and to do more than that, too: to stimulate conversation about how hierarchies emerge and endure. This year, Turning the Tables considers how women and non-binary artists are shaping music in our moment, from the pop mainstream to the sinecures of jazz and contemporary classical music. Our list of the 200 Greatest Songs By Women+ offers a soundtrack to a new century. This series of essays takes on another task.

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