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Studio Milwaukee Session: Eliza McLamb

Jen Ellis

Here at Radio Milwaukee, we have a staff full of seasoned interviewers capable of gently steering a conversation in a certain direction. 88Nine’s Dori Zori is certainly one of them, but even she would acknowledge she got quite a gift from Eliza McLamb during her Studio Milwaukee Session on a sunny Friday afternoon.

With our spring membership drive in its fifth day, McLamb was in the midst of answering a question about favorite podcasts and brought up the Slate Culture Gabfest, after which she mentioned, “I was a very NPR kid, so just hearing that kind of … I don’t know, Gen-X sort of cadence does something happy to my brain.”

Ever the professional, Dori spotted her opening and asked McLamb if she wouldn’t mind doing a little on-the-spot pitch for us — something she was happy to take on.

“I love public radio so much,” she began. “I think it’s such a great space where a lot of smaller artists are able to be heard by people and in a way that’s very, truly grassroots, community-oriented. And if public radio is strengthened, then more musicians will hopefully feel less of a need to rely on those platforms that kind of cheapen our art, like a short-form situation.

“I’m a huge public radio fan. I think if you have the funds and you care about music, it’s a great avenue to support financially.”

McLamb and her fellow musicians made it very easy for me to return those kind words and apply them to the four-song set they delivered ahead of their Friday night show at the Vivarium. Pulling from debut album Going Through It, her sweet-sounding voice relayed some of the sour aspects of life as the group moved deftly from the softer, countrified “Before” to the harder-edged “Glitter” to cacophonous closer “Anything You Want.”

Between those second and third tunes, McLamb gave us one of the wider-ranging session interviews we’ve enjoyed lately. In addition to her public-radio pitch, she shared the story of an all-night gingerbread house construction project that turned into a songwriting session, the plastic Yamaha keyboard she “beat the brakes off,” and her very well-thought-out views on TikTok.

Considering this was the first of two Studio Milwaukee Sessions open to the public during our spring membership drive, it was an ideal introduction for anyone joining us for the first time. You can hear it using the player on this page, and make sure to mark your calendar to visit Radio Milwaukee HQ for our next public session Tuesday with Real Estate.

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