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Laura Cantrell, Banking on a Music Career

For the past dozen years, in Jersey City, N.J., WFMU listeners have tuned in to hear rare vinyl tracks on a show called the Radio Thrift Shop. The WFMU Web site says "host Laura Cantrell scours the bargain bins, church bazaars and yard sales for those forgotten rekkids of all RPM. Often scratchy, swingy and stringy."

But Cantrell is more than a deejay. She's also a singer. Her latest recording is Humming by the Flowered Vine. She tells Liane Hansen about life as a performer, her role as a musical historian, and her decision to give up her day job on Wall Street to pursue a fulltime music career.

Humming has songs old and new, including "Letters," a cover of an unreleased Lucinda Williams track. Cantrell grew up in Nashville, but she can't be pigeon-holed as a country singer. Elvis Costello, who used Cantrell as an opening act, told Britain's Word magazine: "If Kitty Wells made Rubber Soul it would sound like Laura Cantrell."

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Liane Hansen
Liane Hansen has been the host of NPR's award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday for 20 years. She brings to her position an extensive background in broadcast journalism, including work as a radio producer, reporter, and on-air host at both the local and national level. The program has covered such breaking news stories as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the deaths of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy, Jr., and the Columbia shuttle tragedy. In 2004, Liane was granted an exclusive interview with former weapons inspector David Kay prior to his report on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The show also won the James Beard award for best radio program on food for a report on SPAM.