Talia Schlanger

Talia Schlanger is a host and radio producer at World Cafe, produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. Schlanger joins the World Cafe team straight from CBC, Canada's public broadcaster, where she hosted a triple-A radio show on Saturday and Sunday mornings. She was the on-camera host for two seasons of the CBC television series CBC Music: Backstage Pass, which saw her interview some of Canada's best and brightest artists. Schlanger also hosted several prime-time music TV specials for CBC, including the Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy's Ocean Floor featuring Serena Ryder, CBC Music SongCamp and the CBCMusic.ca Festival Special 2015. Schlanger served as the the interim host of CBC Radio 2's Canada Live and was a regular guest host on CBC Radio One's flagship artist and culture show q. She also filled in on Canadian current-affairs radio shows including As It Happens, Day 6 and Because News. Some of her favorite music interviews include St. Vincent, Tanya Tagaq, John Fogerty, Barenaked Ladies and Grimes.

Schlanger's first project at CBC was as a producer for CBC Music Presents: The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions, a cross-country rock 'n' roll road trip which won a Canadian Screen Award in 2014. She was also the digital producer for Hockey Night In Canada Song Quest, CBC Music's search for the next great hockey song.

Born and raised in Toronto, Schlanger is a proud alumna of Ryerson's Radio and Television Arts program. She's also a professional actress, singer and voiceover artist. Schlanger spent most of 2012 performing in the first national tour of Green Day's rock opera, American Idiot, at various theatres throughout the United States. (She thought she would be really cool when she met Billie Joe Armstrong after he watched American Idiot. She was not cool at all.) She has also performed on stage with Mirvish Productions' original Canadian company of We Will Rock You, as well as in the ensemble and understudying lead roles in Scaramouche, Oz (Canon Theatre, 2007/2008), and in Mamma Mia! (Royal Alexandra Theatre, 2003/2004).

You've been here before. You're staring at fresh cookies through the oven door, they smell so good, you want so badly to eat them, but you have to wait until the timer goes off. And they cool down. Today's session, for me, is like those cookies.

First Aid Kit came through World Cafe headquarters in October. But we had to wait until today - the day their new record Ruins is out — to share it with you. Ding! Cookies. Are. Ready.

Brace your abs for an emotional gut-punch. Brandi Carlile is here with bandmates and co-writers Tim and Phil Hanseroth. Together, they have a new album called By the Way, I Forgive You. It was recorded at Nashville's legendary RCA Studio A, produced by Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings. And it's filled with emotionally stirring songs — some that are massive and some that are stripped bare.

We're lucky to have a lot of remarkably talented artists deliver impressive performances here at World Cafe (ok, humblebrag). But our whole team was pretty floored by Lizz Wright. The combination of Wright and her band (Bobby Ray Sparks on organ, Brannen Temple on drums and Chris McQueen on guitar) was effortless and elevated, in a way that's hard to articulate in words, but you can experience in a session here.

The night before St. Vincent came in to World Cafe, she played a show at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. And when I say she played a show, she really played a show.

There's a danger, when an artist has as compelling a story as Margo Price has, that the personal will overshadow the musical. So let's just get one thing straight first: Margo Price writes really beautiful songs. And boy-oh-boy can she sing.

You can hear a sense of wandering, the wistful shuffle of no fixed address, in Bedouine's music. She was born Azniv Korkezian but chose the artist name Bedouine from the Arabic-speaking Bedouin people, who wander the Middle Eastern desert as nomads.

So many of us have spent Christmas with Elvis' music, but Priscilla Presley actually spent Christmas with Elvis. Priscilla shares heartwarming memories of holidays with the King, from the first time they ever exchanged gifts to their tree-trimming traditions as a married couple living at Graceland, to how that changed when Priscilla gave birth to their daughter, Lisa Marie, and how Priscilla feels when she hears Elvis' music now.

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real make exactly the kind of music you would hope for from a new generation carrying the country-rock torch — music with guitars muscular enough to reach the back of the bar or tender enough to play for fireflies on the front porch. And there are lyrics with plenty of humor, heartache and just plain heart.

Michael McDonald's distinctive voice is woven right into the fabric of popular culture. You don't need to hear his name to know it's him singing in any one of his many different musical incarnations.

In this session, we slip into the world of Emily Haines and The Soft Skeleton. Haines is the lead singer of the electro-tinged rock and roll band Metric, but in her solo work you won't find any wailing guitars or radical synths — the spotlight shines right on her voice and the work of art that is her songwriting.

Hear Emily Haines, solo on the piano, in the player above.

When Rory Graham was 19 or 20 years old, he sang in public for the first time. And he didn't really think there was anything special about his voice. Turns out, the world disagrees.

Ever hear a song that you know you've heard performed by another artist and wonder: Who did it first? Well, we are tackling that question in an ongoing series, "Me and My Shadows," where we pair original songs with covers that might just blow your musical mind.

Some covers bring together artists from completely different sonic worlds, like The English Beat's ska take on Smokey Robinson and The Miracles' Motown classic "Tears of a Clown." Other covers make you hear a song you've heard many times before in a totally new way — see Aurora's take on David Bowie's "Life on Mars."

What do you get when you cross an Australian post-punk drummer with a lute player who is the descendant of Greek musical royalty? Easy: Today's guests Xylouris White!

Xylouris is George Xylouris, from a famed family of musicians based in a mountain shepherding village on the Greek island of Crete. George has been a professional musician since he was 12.

White is Jim White, an Australian post-punk drummer with a deft touch, able to go from thunderous to tender on a dime. Jim held it down in the instrumental trio Dirty Three, and has also backed Cat Power and PJ Harvey.

Luna On World Cafe

Dec 4, 2017

Around the time Luna announced it was breaking up back in 2004, lead singer Dean Wareham said, "This is what bands do." But you can bet any fan of Luna's dreamy, moody sound was secretly hoping they would undo it. And after about a decade, Luna did. (Or: undid.)

Since Fleetwood Mac released its debut album nearly 50 years ago, there have been many incarnations, comings and goings, couplings and uncouplings. But here's a new combination — Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie have released a record together!

Dhani Harrison's new record, IN///PARALLEL, feels a bit like walking through a lucid dream. It's complex and artful, and at first listen, maybe a little dark. But as he explains, he uses the dark to inspire catharsis, not fear. Dhani also told me he writes lyrics with caution: "You have to be careful with — with the words you use in the daytime, I think, because the English language, I think, is probably just a big magic spell, and when you say things they can tend to manifest."

Over the past year, we've had some unbelievable artists walk through our studio doors and melt our musical minds. Laura Marling nailed a live vocal performance so perfect you might swear you're hearing a studio mix she'd worked on for weeks rather than a live one-off.

Beck On World Cafe

Nov 22, 2017

According to Beck, listening to his new album Colors may feel like "jogging in a glass box while there is a blizzard outside and you are wearing a form-fitting body suit ... maybe there are some wolves trying to get in or something." Unpredictable and a little wacky? Yep, but that's Beck. Ever since his 1993 song "Loser" brought rap, sitar, steel guitar and a little Spanish together in what became a surprise hit, he's continued to surprise his fans.

Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn's new album is called Echo In The Valley. Both artists have built lives on squeezing more sound, story and emotion out of the banjo than you may have thought possible — she in the clawhammer style of her hero Doc Watson, and he from the three-finger school of Earl Scruggs.

I'm so happy to share our latest session with David Crosby. He made me howl with laughter, he's got so much heart, and he was truly generous in sharing his stories. Crosby is here to talk about his new album, Sky Trails, which features some of his contemporary collaborators — Becca Stevens, Michelle Willis, Mai Agan, and Michael League of Snarky Puppy. But we covered a lot of ground on Crosby's formative cronies, too, including The Byrds, Crosby Stills & Nash, Miles Davis, Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell.

We're in South Louisiana — somewhere between Arnaudville and Leonville — in the backyard of Louis Michot, looking out at his pond. In 1999, Louis and his brother Andre co-founded the band Lost Bayou Ramblers. And the sounds we hear in their backyard in the bayou actually appear on their latest album, Kalenda. So does music, of course; the band isn't here to play the cricket or the frog — more like Louis on the fiddle and vocals and Andre on accordion and lap steel guitar. But the music really does take you to a real place.

William Patrick Corgan would be the first to admit that many people's image of him was locked down back in 1995 as Billy Corgan: frontman of The Smashing Pumpkins. The Pumpkins had just released Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the album with the song "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" -– you know, the one where despite all his rage, he's still just a rat in a cage?

This past spring Grandaddy released its first album since taking a 10-year hiatus. It's called Last Place, and features everything that has made Grandaddy great since they formed and released their first cassette tape in 1992 — the meeting of fuzzed-out indie rock and the lo-fi psychedelia of video games.

Phoebe Bridgers has one of those voices that can make a rowdy arena crowd go silent and then leap to its feet. I saw it happen when she joined Conor Oberst on stage this past summer at the WXPN XPoNential Music Festival. I can't imagine many people in the crowd knew who she was before they heard Conor invite her on stage for a duet. By the time she was done — standing ovation.

As the lead singer of Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant has one of the most recognizable, and some have said, best voices in rock and roll.

Watching my guest Josh Ritter stand on stage and perform, you would swear that his feet aren't touching the ground. It looks like he's been lifted straight up by the music he's playing, somewhere between standing on his tip toes and actual levitation. His smile is huge. And you get this overwhelming sense of joy.

My guest David Rawlings has a new album. Well, a new old album. It's called Poor David's Almanack, and in writing it, Rawlings set out to craft new folk songs that evoke old folk traditions.

There can be no more personal or generous a gift from an artist to their fans than to say: Here is the museum of my heart as I prepare to die. Please come in. This room smells like Chanel No 5. It's the scent of all the letters sent by my old flame. That room is an exact replica of my baby's nursery. It's where we performed our old "Bedtime" routine: "I'd get you to your crib, slowly lower you down. Then pull my hands away, as if from a bomb. Then I'd step away, one step at a time, the floors were full of sounds, all the creaks of time." That window looks out at "The Lake," Lake Ontario.

We get a lot of music in the mail here at World Cafe and sometimes a song and a story hits me right in the gut. Kyle Vanes, of the band The Dales, wrote to tell us the story behind "Still the Love," a song inspired by finding, and losing, the love of his life Heather Marie Allman. She had stage 4 breast cancer when they met. Kyle and Heather were friends for a while before they fell in love and stayed together until she died in January of 2015.

In this session, we welcome Son Little, whose new album, called New Magic, is bumpy blues meets rooted R&B meets old school nu soul meets... well... magic.

Son Little was born Aaron Livingston, in Los Angeles. He's since settled in Philadelphia — that's where he first met the Roots and Questlove, who became his community and his collaborators.

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