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American Routes

Thursday, 7 to 9 p.m.

American Routes 
This program is available for sponsorship!
(Contact Ron Horan for more details.)

Hosted by Nick Spitzer, American Routes covers the "vast American musical landscape," spanning genres and eras: From Aretha Franklin to George Jones, Los Lobos to Howlin' Wolf, Count Basie to Beck.

Upcoming Programs

Oct 8th, 2015: Riding the Rivers and Rails: Justin Townes Earle and Captain Doc Hawley

Have you ever sailed the Mississippi on a riverboat? Heard a calliope bounce notes off a barge? Caught the freight train boogie? This week on American Routes, we’re riding the rails and sailing sails with words and music dedicated to two old forms of transport. We’ll visit with Captain Doc Hawley, a calliope player on the “Natchez” in New Orleans to find out what it takes to make a boat sing. And a conversation with singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle, who knows a thing or two about trains. Plus music about rivers, railcars and riding around.

Oct 15th, 2015: Sonic Travelers: Jerry Douglas and Guitar Shorty

It’s a blues and country showdown on American Routes with two instrumental showmen. Jerry Douglas is a master of the dobro, and a favorite session man and band member for so many musicians: from Allison Krauss to Elvis Costello. We’ll talk to Jerry about his recent project, which leads him beyond bluegrass to New Orleans. Then, a visit with the acrobatic bluesman Guitar Shorty, who shares some history on his times traveling the Chitlin Circuit.

Oct 22nd, 2015: Candi Staton and Rhiannon Giddens

Oct 29th, 2015: Sacred Steel Brothers and a Jazz Master: Robert Randolph, Calvin Cooke and Yusef Lateef

Sacred steel guitarist Robert Randolph has gathered together the leading players of the genre for a recent recording, paying tribute to the past, and covering tunes outside the cannon. We’ll speak with him and one of his fellow Slide Brothers, Calvin Cooke. Then a conversation with jazz adventurist Yusef Lateef about his musical mentors and inspirations.

Previous Programs

displays the previous month of programming
Oct 1st, 2015: Singing of the Deltas and Bayous: Iris DeMent and the Lost Bayou Ramblers

Singer-songwriter Iris DeMent returns to the landscape and soundscape of her youth, the Arkansas Delta. We'll speak with Iris about her musical homecoming, and listen in on an exclusive solo piano performance of her most recent songs. Then we catch up with the Lafayette punk and rockabilly-inflected Cajun band, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, fronted by brothers Andre and Louis Michot, who can count Gordon Gano (of the Violent Femmes) as a collaborator and fan.

Sep 24th, 2015: Chuck Leavell & Jon Cleary

Meet two piano professors from the South with two differing styles. First up, from Macon, GA, Chuck Leavell has played in a few of Rock’s most iconic bands, from the Allman Brothers to the Rolling Stones. And while piano might be his day job, he’s also a keeper of a Georgia forest and an honorary forest ranger! We talk to Chuck about his love of the keys and the trees. Then, it’s a lesson in New Orleans funk a la keyboard with Jon Cleary, who breaks down the elements and reveals the Latin tinge to New Orleans piano favorites.

Sep 17th, 2015: John Sebastian & Bonsoir Catin

This week, on American Routes, we travel from the Village to the dancehall. John Sebastian talks about his childhood in Greenwich Village, encounters with blues greats Mississippi John Hurt and Lighting Hopkins, and the musical stew he created with his band The Lovin' Spoonful. Then, a conversation with Kristi Guillory and Christine Balfa of the cajun band Bonsoir Catin about carrying on their musical heritage for the next generation.

Sep 10th, 2015: The Black Keys and the Soul Rebels

We’re sitting down this week with two bands who make their hometowns proud. The Black Keys, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, from Akron, Ohio, have roots in the blues and rock but construct a sound all their own. We chat with them backstage at a performance in the Crescent City. Then New Orleans brass band innovators the Soul Rebels talk about bringing the sounds of the streets to clubs around the world.

Blues Time