Blues, rock, soul, and jazz… all with a little twang of country. This show features artists who take elements of the great country tradition, mix them up and make them their own. Nick talks with a living legend of old time country, Ralph Stanley. Also hear an interview and a short live set from young House of God steel guitarist Robert Randolph. Plus a talk with Cajun country elders the Hackberry Ramblers, and the down-home rock sound of the Sadies out of Canada.
Join American Routes for the year’s first official road trip holiday, Memorial Day. To commemorate it, we’ll visit roadside sites that are sacred: a shrine to Our Lady of the Highways and the grave of Jimi Hendrix. Plus an early traveler in rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll; James Burton tells some tales.
ROBBIE ROBERTSON / JOHNNY OTIS / DEW DROP INN
A visit with legendary bandsmen including roots rocker Robbie Robertson and California jazz bandleader Johnny Otis. Robertson was a prime mover behind The Band, who, along with the Grateful Dead and others, defined the image and sound of American rock with folk roots in the 1960s and ’70s. Johnny Otis shaped the West Coast jump boogie sound, working with artists such as Jackie Wilson, Big Mama Thornton, and Etta James. Also a trip back in time to the Dew Drop Inn, a halcyon New Orleans nightclub which also served as a hotel, eatery, barber shop and post office. We’ll hear about one of the Dew Drop’s most infamous characters, female impersonator and R & B singer Patsy Vidalia.
A tribute to mom in music, with spoken sentiments on motherhood from our guests. Alt. rock mama Kristin Hersh talks about caring for her two kids on the road. Lindy Boggs – former congresswoman, New Orleans native, and mother to journalist Cokie Roberts – offers some unique family memories and songs. Zydeco matriarch Queen Ida tell us how she raised a child who would one day play in her band. Also, music from Queen Mothers in jazz, blues and soul, including Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James and Aretha.
American Routes explores Latin ties to American music with mariachi bandleader Natividad “Nati” Cano. Mariachi has influenced Western swing and others styles. Cano has worked closely over the years with Tucson-born vocalist Linda Ronstadt. Plus the unlikely Italian-American “bongo king” Jack Costanzo on learning Latin, tropical, and jazz styles from the likes of Desi Arnaz and Perez Prado.