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.
Feb 23rd: Carnival Knowledge: Monk Boudreaux, Southern France, Coney Island Mermaid Parade
For our annual pre-Lenten bacchanal, we bring you classic Mardi Gras songs from the Crescent City and beyond. We travel to Nice, France - grand city on the Cote d'Azure - for a float parade that parodies American fast food assembly lines and French political scandals as stinky as local cheese; From there, on to the vintners village of Limoux, where free glasses of blanchette are never empty. We end our journey in Coney Island NY, where we hear of carnivalesque revelry at America's great amusement park by the sea and walk with the fishes in the Mermaid Parade. Finally, New Orleans’ own Monk Boudreaux walks us through the sites and sounds of Mardi Gras Day. Big Chief of the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indian tribe, Boudreaux has sewed suits, performed music with the Wild Magnolias and masked on Mardi Gras for over 50 years.
Mar 2nd: 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."
Mar 9th: Small Town Blues: Jeff Tweedy and Jimmy Duck Holmes
Feb 16th: Festivals Acadiens et Creoles and New Orleans Nightlife
This week on American Routes we bring you music from the festival stage and the clubs of South Louisiana. We visit some of our favorite nighttime musical haunts in New Orleans and spend time with guitar man Ernie Vincent and jazz historian Bruce Raeburn. Then, allons à Lafayette for the Festivals Acadiens et Créoles, south Louisiana's annual celebration of Cajun and Creole music, food and culture. We'll hear classic performances from the early days of the festival, talk with founder and scholar Barry Ancelet and sample some of the sights and sounds from the festival grounds.
Feb 9th: Music, Comics & Collecting Records: R. Crumb & Jerry Zolten
This week on American Routes we spin some shellac and wax nostalgic with the iconic cartoonist, musician and record collector Robert Crumb, who’ll share with us his love of musical times gone by. Then we talk to educator and vinyl aficionado Jerry Zolten about the story of Paramount Records, started by a furniture manufacturer, whose recorded legacy is now contained in two swank suitcases.
Feb 2nd: So Many Roads: Bob Dylan’s Back Pages Volume II
Jan 26th: Motor City Music of Detroit
American Routes cruises the musical map of Detroit, catching the sights and sounds of the Motor City. From Hamtramck to Dearborn, we'll meet the proud people who made the cars and played the bars. Jazz modernist Yusef Lateef tells of his time on the assembly line. Smokey Robinson talks about growing up with Motown's future stars. We'll learn how to construct a hit record from Motown studio insiders, then visit a raccoon hunters club, known for bluegrass jams. Plus rockabilly stars, dream cars and polka bands... all from Detroit.