Put your feet up and relax on this Labor Day weekend with music of work and workers in blues, jazz, country and more. There’s also a conversation with a one-time barber and boxer, reggae legend Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals. Hard-working roots rocker Johnny Rivers drops by to talk about his developing that live Whiskey-A-Go-Go sound.
It’s a reflection on New Orleans and the Gulf South, one year after the Flood of ’05. We’ve got an interview and live performance from historic Congo Square with New Orleans native and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. Visit with the men repairing the Superdome. And Louisiana voices, including Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint, and David and Michael Doucet recall their storm experiences. The words and music of post-deluge New Orleans, one year after the storm.
Head to New York City with American Routes as we search out the beat of the boroughs. Sit in with Seleno Clarke as he hosts a Sunday night Hammond B-3 organ jam at the Harlem American Legion Hall. Pick and grin downtown in Washington Square Park as country comes to the city for a reunion of bluegrass musicians from the 1950s and ’60s. Then it’s up to the South Bronx to trace Latin music from Mambo to Hip-Hop. Plus music from and about the city from John Coltrane, Bob Dylan and other musicians that called New York home.
On the anniversary of his death, Elvis Presley is remembered. Exclusive interviews with bandmates DJ Fontana, Scotty Moore, producer Sam Phillips, and biographer Peter Guralnick focus on the social and cultural interactions unique to Memphis and the Deep South that sparked Elvis’ musical explosiveness. The songwriting team of Leiber & Stoller talk about working with Elvis on their compositions “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock,” and guitarist James Burton describes the Vegas years. Memphis R&B great Rufus Thomas describes the complex relationship many black musicians had to Elvis, and rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson says the king of rock ‘n’ roll was a perfect gentleman on their dates.
From the earliest blues and minstrel tunes to clawhammer bluegrass and forward to newgrass, the banjo has been a part of American music. This week we visit with New Orleans Creole jazzman Don Vappie and hear how the instrument is used in New Orleans traditional jazz. And feel the zeitgeist as San Diego-based Nickel Creek come by for a live set and talk about building onto their bluegrass base and moving beyond.