Ring in the new year with some of our favorite live music from 2007. We’ll have a set from New Orleans’ trumpet player Kermit Ruffins, joined by an all-star Crescent City band featuring vocalist Thais Clark. Lafayette, Louisiana’s Pine Leaf Boys bring rock and roll energy to their own version of traditional Cajun music. Step into a holiday soiree of reels, jigs and waltzes by French fiddlers in Westbrook, Maine. And pull up a seat for a club set from singer and banjo player Don Vappie and the Creole Jazz Serenaders. It’s a festive set of live music that will keep you swinging well into 2008.
There’s no place like home for the holidays. Our guests for this holiday version of American Routes wax nostalgically in words and music. Jazz pianist and singer Diana Krall recalls her childhood on Vancouver Island and how those traditions are being carried on in her own home today. Jimmy and Tootie Heath of the Heath Brothers reminisce about a life in jazz and their late brother Percy. Baby, it’s cold outside. Stay in, snuggle up and enjoy.
American Routes joins with two record men this week to study the means of production in jazz and country. Michael Cuscuna, founder of Mosaic Records, talks about his reissuing of lavish collector’s sets of jazz from Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Count Basie and many more. Al Hawkes joins us from the wilds of Maine, where he’s been making old-time country, bluegrass and rockabilly records since 1955—some of his own, some on his independent Event Records label.
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.