January 26th, 2011

Blues Born and Learned: Bobby Rush & Sonny Landreth


Join us this week as we visit with the King of the Chitlin Circuit, Bobby Rush. The singer, songwriter, manager, harmonica player, guitarist and bus driver talks about a life in the blues and breaks down his famous stage show. Mississippi-born, Louisiana-bred guitarist Sonny Landreth drops by for a live set and reveals his special technique with the slide.

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January 19th, 2011

Recordmen: Collector, Producer, DJ


We're hauling out the vinyl and giving it a spin this week on American Routes. First we'll revisit our 2005 interview with the late Jerry Wexler, who produced many soul and R&B hits on Atlantic Records. Then we'll go down into Maryland record connoisseur Joe Bussard's basement to sample his wall-to-wall collection of rare blues and country 78s, and the massive sound system to play them. Also, a visit in Shreveport, Louisiana with record producer Stan Lewis to learn about his days producing pop, blues and R&B on the Jewel and Paula labels. Plus Bird Brain, the legendary Shreveport DJ who "broke" the records in the local black community... and nationally.

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January 12th, 2011

Motor City Music of Detroit


American Routes cruises the musical map of Detroit, catching the sights and sounds of the Motor City. From Hamtramck to Dearborn, we'll meet the proud people who made the cars and played the bars. Jazz modernist Yusef Lateef tells of his time on the assembly line. Smokey Robinson talks about growing up with Motown's future stars. We'll learn how to construct a hit record from Motown studio insiders, then visit a raccoon hunters club, known for bluegrass jams. Plus rockabilly stars, dream cars and polka bands... all from Detroit.

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January 5th, 2011

Words to the Wise: Loretta Lynn, Bill Kirchen & Les Freres Michot


This week on American Routes we're sharing some words of wisdom. Loretta Lynn blazed a trail through the male-dominated world of country music, bringing her experience as a mother and wife to songwriting and challenging stereotypes along the way. We'll hear about her journey from the hills of Butcher Hollow to the studios of Music City. Rockabilly guitarist and singer Bill Kirchen might be best known for his time in Commander Cody's band, and his hot licks on "Hot Rod Lincoln," but we'll learn more about the man called the "Titan of the Telecaster," who won't be pegged by genres. Then we'll stop for a few environmentally sound Cajun tunes and visit with a band of brothers, Les Freres Michot.

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