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Studio Milwaukee Session: Squirrel Flower

Jen Ellis

“This is the first time we’ve done something with a live studio audience.”

Ella O'Connor Williams made that admission early in Squirrel Flower’s Studio Milwaukee Session, although clearly there weren’t a lot of nerves accompanying the performance. Williams is three studio albums into this project and has stood in front of goodness knows how many audiences by this point, so the “live on the radio with people sitting right in front of you” thing was no biggie.

The session reflected that as Williams and her trio of bandmates smoothly rolled through a few choice cuts from Squirrel Flower’s latest full-length, Tomorrow’s Fire. Pitchfork’s review pointed out that the album “beefs up her sound” (more on beef in a moment), something reflected in two of the three tracks you’ll hear during the on-air performance.

“Full Time Job” and “Alley Light” — both proud residents of the 88Nine playlist — somehow sounded even warmer and fuller in our space, while “Finally Rain” brought some serenity to the proceedings with just Williams and her guitar doing the honors.

She went solo again during the mid-set chat with 88Nine music director Erin Wolf to share a couple of her favorite fellow Chicago musicians (including recent session guest Kara Williams), her album title’s deep familial connection and two more confessions that could potentially rankle Windy City residents: She’s never had an Italian beef and only asks for one particularly divisive condiment on her hot dogs.

You can hear the full interview and broadcast portion of Squirrel Flower’s performance using the player on this page, pick up Tomorrow’s Fire on Bandcamp (or wherever you find your music) and head to their website to see where you can catch them live.

And if you want to guarantee a seat for yourself (and a plus one) at our next Studio Milwaukee Session, visit our membership page to see all the benefits of joining the Radio Milwaukee family.

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Set list

  1. “Full Time Job”
  2. “Alley Light”
  3. “Finally Rain”
  4. “When a Plant Is Dying” (non-broadcast performance)