Join American Routes for two hours of wry humor, outlandish puns and gonzo attitude when we sit down with two high-flying musicians: Dan Hicks and Commander Cody. Mr. Hicks spins tales of sartorial genius and fine times in the ’60s as a ragtime-country-cowboy-jazz musician in San Francisco. And direct from the Adirondacks, we’ll spend time with the artist and bandleader Commander Cody to hear about his musical travels and travails with the Lost Planet Airmen, across the country and through space with stops in Texas, of course.
What’s in a name? Listen in and you’ll find out why Emmett Ellis Jr. became the bluesman Bobby Rush; how folks get names like Topsy (Chapman) and Sherman & Wendell (Holmes); and how country singer George Jones became known as “the possum.” Also, we talk to Yale anthropologist David Watts about names of non-human primates.
This week on American Routes we’ll sample the sabor latino in American music. Join us for conversation with Los Lobos on their mix of American pop and Mexican traditions. We’ll visit Los Cenzontles, a community arts center in San Francisco dedicated to the teaching of Mexican music, and drop by a Philadelphia radio show spinning salsa hits for the neighborhood. Then we’ll sit in with pianist and bandleader Oscar Hernandez of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra for some Nuyorican beats and salsa moves. Plus a special performance by San Antonio’s queen of the conjunto accordion, Eva Ybarra.
Earl Scruggs’ legendary banjo playing, aptly named “Scruggs Style,” has left its mark on American pop culture and inspired generations of banjo players. In the late 1960s, Scruggs, along with his sons, bravely crossed musical boundaries, but his musical journey really started back at the beginnings of bluegrass. We’ll talk to Earl and his sons Randy and Gary about performing on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium and why he doesn’t need to crack jokes about the banjo. New Hampshire-born folk singer songwriter Tom Rush may have gone to Harvard and studied with a ballad scholar, but he still knows how to sing the blues. We’ll visit with Rush to learn more about Boston’s folk scene in the 1960s, his time as a radio DJ and his inspired approach to songwriting.
Come stir the pot with American Routes as we bring you a sampling of great live music from our home state: Louisiana. First we’ll stop by the soon to be legendary BlackPot Festival in Lafayette for some new flavors of Cajun and Creole tunes, as well as some old favorites by special guests. Then we’ll walk through the streets of New Orleans with the Prince of Wales Social Aid and Pleasure Club during their annual second line parade.