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This year marks the 150th anniversary of the first Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans. We take the occasion to remember the life and passing of the leader of the Yellow Pocahontas, Allison “Tootie” Montana, the Chief of Chiefs who passed away in June 2005. Also a history behind a burlesque tune-turned Krewe of Rex theme “If Ever I Cease To Love.” And meet the hottest guys in the parade as we tote a torch with the flambeau carriers, lighting the route and accepting gratuities along the way.


We’ll take a trip west on Route 66, all the way to the end of the line at the Santa Monica pier in California, with some interesting stops along the way. Plus there’s music from Los Lobos, Wes Montgomery, Michelle Shocked and Woody Guthrie.


How do we “see” sound? Local artist Bruce Brice depicts the big sounds and scenes of New Orleans in murals; and photographer Herman Leonard tells us about a half century chronicling the greatest jazz players. Plus Lafcadio Hearn’s meditations on the blueing water enroute to the French West Indies. Hear music from Bo Diddley, Van Morrison, Billie Holiday, Mose Allison and more.


This American Routes celebrates the blues by veering off Highway 61 to examine the east coast songster tradition and west coast/Kansas City jump blues. Maryland-based guitarist Warner Williams lets his guitar do most of the talking as he moves through a live set of Piedmont blues. Jump blues king and Creole chameleon Deacon John talks about his career as both a New Orleans sideman and fronting his own band, the Ivories. Plus great music from T-Bone Walker, Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt and more.