The Houston-born singer/songwriter Rodney Crowell talks about growing up on the rough side of town with the ghost of Hank Williams as a “family member,” as well writing songs for his recent duet partner Emmylou Harris. He also wrote for many of the country heavy weights from Jerry Reed to Guy Clark and Bob Seeger, and was also the antagonist in Rosanne Cash’s signature tune “Seven Year Ache.” Then we’ll sit down live in a rare visit to Nashville (!) with the Crescent City’s Nite Tripper himself Dr. John, who reminisces about and demonstrates his early days at the piano, and on a music industry, “spying mission” that could only happen in New Orleans.
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 ?uestlove 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.
A conversation with a man of many talents: songwriter, actor, boxer, military man, among many titles, Kris Kristofferson, reflecting on his life in music, his songwriting craft, and the nature of gratitude for his life’s adventures, as expressed in his recent album, Feeling Mortal.
Do the words make the song or the notes? What does it take to tell a good tale in music or about music? We put those questions to a few writers of both songs and stories. Singer-songwriter and memoirist Rosanne Cash sits down before a live audience to tell us about her authorial journey, then we chat with novelist Cyril Vetter on translating a musician’s life into fiction. And New Orleans bluesman Little Freddie King spins a few tall tales from the juke joint.