We’re bringing the blues from the clubs to the church this week on American Routes. The Campbell Brothers, from Rochester, NY, are masters of sacred steel. With both pedal and lap steel guitars, they summon the spirit in voice and sound. We’ll talk about growing up in the church and playing gospel blues on the guitar. Then, New Orleans bluesman Walter “Wolfman” Washington stops by the American Routes studio for a conversation about his life in the music and in the clubs around town.
We talk to three soul singers from the formative era of the mid-1950s through Motown of the late ’60s, and an all-female New Orleans brass band. Justine “Baby” Washington talks about growing up in Harlem and her hits such as “That’s How Heartaches Are Made.” Maxine Brown started as teenager in NYC singing with gospel groups. By 1960, she penned the hit, “All in My Mind,” and would later have hits with “Oh No Not My Baby” and a duet with Chuck Jackson on “Something You Got.” Chris Clark is a rare white soul singer who recorded for Detroit’s Motown Records. Finally, the Original Pinettes Brass Band is a young, ten-member, all-women’s New Orleans jazz band who have received major recognition in a field dominated by men.
This week on American Routes, we’ll talk to folk rocker songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson. An advocate for British lyric and music tradition in new settings with refashioned traditional songs and stories, Thompson evolved from playing in the seminal folk-rock band, Fairport Convention, to his present day role as an in-demand guitarist and songwriter. Then we’ll visit with accordion-man Zachary Richard about growing up in French-speaking south Louisiana but needing to go to France and Quebec to realize the significance of the Cajun culture into which he was born.
American Routes takes a trip through the music of the Yellowhammer State—Alabama. Visit the Muscle Shoals Sound studio and find out what’s in the water around “the Shoals” to make it a historic hotbed for R&B hits by Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and more. Also, a trip through Hank Williams’ childhood home in Georgiana, and W.C. Handy Music Festival in Florence. And music from Shelby Lynne, the Birmingham Sunlights and the Delmore Brothers.