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Lori McKenna On World Cafe

Lori McKenna
Becky Fluke
Courtesy of the artist
Lori McKenna

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.

The story involves fairy godparents Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, a coach to Music City driven by fellow songwriter Mary Gauthier and some really moving songs.

Lori started playing music out at open mic nights when she was 28 years old. By then, she was mother to three of the five children she has with her husband, Gene, who Lori met in third grade and married at 19. So you might not be surprised to know family is important to Lori and has shown up in a lot of the songs throughout her career. But her latest album, The Tree, features the first song she's ever written about her dad who raised Lori and her siblings after their mom died when they were young.

In this session, I'll talk to Lori about her story, but first she starts us off with a solo performance of the song "Young And Angry Again." Hear the complete session in the player above.

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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.
Since 2017, John Myers has been the producer of NPR's World Cafe, which is produced by WXPN at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Previously he spent about eight years working on the other side of Philly at WHYY as a producer on the staff of Fresh Air with Terry Gross. John was also a member of the team of public radio veterans recruited to develop original programming for Audible and has worked extensively as a freelance producer. His portfolio includes work for the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, The Association for Public Art and the radio documentary, Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio. He's taught radio production to preschoolers and college students and, in the late 90's, spent a couple of years traveling around the country as a roadie for the rock band Huffamoose.