This Labor Day weekend we bring out the best from the clubs in New Orleans. Recorded during the 2012 New Orleans Jazz Fest weekends, this music is sure to get your barbeque hopping and your picnic popping. We’ll visit Preservation Hall for songs and stories by Steve Earle and Tao Seeger, plus a special tribute to late New Orleans trumpeter John Brunious. Then we head over to the Howlin’ Wolf for a late night set by the 2012 Grammy winning Rebirth Brass Band.
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.
Follow American Routes this week to the City of Brotherly Love, as we hang out on the musical street corners with some of Philadelphia’s finest, including bobby-soxer idol Bobby Rydell, hip hop drummer and city champion Questlove of the Roots, and the city’s mayor, Michael Nutter, who can also claim fame as a disco DJ. We’ll visit a famous operatic cafe and sit in with a neighborhood jazz organ trio. Plus catch a choir rehearsal at one of the city’s historic churches and a conversation with a mother-daughter klezmer duo. And musical postcards from artists who call Philly their hometown.
Meet two piano professors from the South with two differing styles. First up, from Macon, GA, Chuck Leavell has played in more than a few of Rock’s most iconic bands, from the Allman Brothers to the Rolling Stones. And while piano might be his day job, he’s also a keeper of a Georgia forest and an honorary forest ranger! We talk to Chuck about his love of the keys and the trees. Then, it’s a lesson in New Orleans funk a la keyboard with Jon Cleary, who breaks down the elements and reveals the Latin tinge to New Orleans piano favorites.
Have you ever sailed the Mississippi on a riverboat? Heard a calliope bounce notes off a barge? Caught the freight train boogie? This week on American Routes, we’re riding the rails and sailing sails with words and music dedicated to two old forms of transport. We’ll visit with Captain Doc Hawley, a calliope player on the “Natchez” in New Orleans to find out what it takes to make a boat sing. And a conversation with singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle, who knows a thing or two about trains. Plus music about rivers, railcars and riding around.