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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

Jul 7th, 2016: Delbert McClinton and Buckwheat Zydeco

American Routes goes from Texas roadhouses to Zydeco dancehalls with two men known for their live performances, Delbert McClinton and Buckwheat Zydeco. Harmonica player, vocalist and songwriter Delbert McClinton has gone from backing up Jimmy Reed and Howlin’ Wolf in the 1960s to top 40 success. But he never stops delivering what his fans want—sweaty, country-tinged rhythm and blues shows. Stanley Dural, Jr., better known as Buckwheat Zydeco, grew up hearing traditional accordion from his father from the very beginning, but preferred soul, funk and R&B. Now he’s known for mixing them all together for high-energy shows across southern Louisiana and the world. All this plus great music from Lightnin’ Hopkins, Emmylou Harris, Fats Domino and more.

Jul 14th, 2016: Billie Holiday: Ladies Sing the Blues & Beyond--with Singers Cassandra Wilson and Catherine Russell

For Billie Holiday's centennial celebration, we follow her from her beginnings through a complex life of troubles and musical triumphs, her compelling "autumn" voice and untimely passing at age 44. Biographers John Szwed and Robert O'Meally discuss Lady Day's style and significance, while Cassandra Wilson describes and sings her approach to the Billie Holiday oeuvre. Singer Catherine Russell describes reaching back to recreate classic blues and jazz. From our archives we hear Nina Simone and Bonnie Raitt praising their blues heroines in story and song.

Jul 21st, 2016: The Folk Revival Revisited: Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, Jim Kweskin, Jerry Garcia, Alan Lomax, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Joan Baez, Bonnie Raitt and more

The American folk music revival that grew from the Post-WWII era to the Sixties was about more than just music: it wrapped in political activism, romantic visions of the self and the “folk,” group “sing-a-longs,” “hootenannies” and careers of singer-songwriters. We interview folk heroine Judy Collins about her move from traditional British folk songs to the new songs and sounds in Greenwich Village. Jug bandleader Jim Kweskin talks about his love of communal living. The late Pete Seeger and Alan Lomax offer opinions on their divergent views of folk music and the quest for authenticity. Jerry Garcia tells of his most influential folk music source and we’ll hear Dylan go electric at Newport in 1965. Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops talks about bringing back the peoples’ music of another era today.

Jul 28th, 2016: Cure for the Summertime Blues: William Bell and more…

Previous Programs

displays the previous month of programming
Jun 16th, 2016: Earth and Blood: James Blood Ulmer and Tracy Nelson

Elemental blues, jazz and country from two performers with deep roots and cosmic connections. In the '60s, young Tracy Nelson left the midwest for psychedelic San Francisco to front the R & B rock band, Mother Earth. Now deep in the Tennessee hills, she's looking back to country sounds. From South Carolina to deep space, guitarist James "Blood" Ulmer takes us on his journey from childhood gospel to free form harmolodic jazz with Ornette Coleman. Blood now brings it all to bear on a brutal, personal version of the blues.

Jun 9th, 2016: The Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Black Experience in Country Music

This week, we talk to the founding members of the Grammy award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops. Justin Robinson, Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons started playing music together under the tutelage of legendary black old-time fiddler, Joe Thompson in his backyard shed. The Chocolate Drops came together to carry on the old time and country traditions from the Piedmont region in the Carolinas, but they wanted to do more than just play. They wanted to show their audiences that African American music finds its roots in genres beyond blues and jazz. Then we delve into the archives for our classic conversation with the late, great Ray Charles - and pianist Johnnie Johnson tells us about the surprising origins of Chuck Berry's "Maybellene."

Jun 2nd, 2016: Creole Eyes and Classical Ears: Tom McDermott and Van Dyke Parks

Conversation with and music from Van Dyke Parks, an eclectic, popular classicist known as a composer and keyboardist, arranger and producer, with a great love of calypso and Hawaiian cowboy music. The man behind the curtain for so many artists, the Hollywood-based Parks is well-regarded for writing and studio work with Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, Ry Cooder, Lowell George and Randy Newman, among many. He recently became a fan of pianist Tom McDermott, a St. Louis-born, New Orleans-dwelling and Brazilian-influenced vernacular virtuoso. Parks thought enough of McDermott's recorded repertoire to collect and reissue some of it as Bamboula--so named for the composition by the mutually-admired New Orleans 19th century pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Tom McDermott, also a fan of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Professor Longhair and James Booker, plays in his parlor for us.

May 26th, 2016: NEA Heritage Fellowship Concert 2015

Since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has presented the fellowships - America's most prestigious award for folk & traditional arts. We'll hear music and conversation from Fellows in years gone by, like Doc Watson, Staple Singers, Clifton Chenier, Ralph Stanley, B.B. King, Flaco Jimenez and New Orleans' own Treme Brass Band. Then we present the 2015 Fellows, many performing live from the stage at George Washington University, including the Gee's Bend quilters, a circus aerialist, Piedmont bluesman, klezmer musicians, mariachis and more.

 
 
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