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HOW BLUE CAN YOU GET? HOWARD TATE AND LYLE LOVETT

When we asked Lyle Lovett why he didn’t stick with journalism, he said, “It’s hard to sing the newspaper.” From blues to country to Texas swing, Lyle and his large band can tell some good stories, and they’re not all about penguins. We’ll hear all about it (and more) when we sit down in conversation with Lyle. Howard Tate is a master of soulful singing, bringing his bluesy touch and deep meaning to such classics as “Get it While You Can” and “Ain’t Nobody Home.” We’ll talk about his life in Philadelphia’s gospel and soul scenes, and his path back to the stage today.

BIG VOICES WITH K.D. LANG & TOPSY CHAPMAN

From shouters to chanteuses, R&B melisma to the high lonesome sound of bluegrass, this week we bring you some of the biggest voices on the American soundscape. Neo-retro vocalist k.d. lang comes by to talk about her loves and influences from 50’s country to smoky lounge music. New Orleans singer Topsy Chapman tells us how a stint as a singing waitress on Bourbon Street and growing up with 15 siblings led her to an international career as a song stylist.

ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS AND WILDERNESS TRAILS

It’s summertime and the living’s easy. Jump in as we hit the road in search of new faces and places. Head north out of New Orleans, across Lake Pontchartrain, to the Abita Mystery House at UCM Museum in Abita Springs. And a refreshing visit to a local New Orleans favorite, Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, servin’ up the best sno-cones you’ve ever tasted. Finally, we remember the late Secretary of the Interior and noted conservationist Stewart Udall as Routes digs into the archives for a raft run on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

FROM BACKROADS TO BACKATOWN: DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS AND TROMBONE SHORTY

Follow American Routes as we travel the back roads for some new Southern sounds. The Drive-By Truckers have been up and down the highways since the mid-90s, delivering their unique mix of social commentary, old-fashioned storytelling and rock n’ roll, between stops in their hometowns of Muscle Shoals, AL and Athens, GA. We sit down with the band in uptown New Orleans to learn more about their journey in music and fascination with the South. Then we head backatown to catch up with New Orleans’ own Troy Andrews, a.k.a. Trombone Shorty, to hear about how he mixes trad jazz, rock and hip-hop to create ‘Superfunkrock.’

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