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THE BEST OF AMERICAN ROUTES LIVE IN STUDIO AND ON STAGE

This holiday weekend, we’ve hand picked some of the best live performances on American Routes. From Willie Nelson in our studio to soul queen Irma Thomas and other roots music heroes at Rock N Bowl, Preservation Hall and the Civic Theater in New Orleans. We feature blues harpist Charlie Musselwhite, Baton Rouge blues pianist, Henry Gray, New Orleans traditional jazz clarinetist Dr. Michael White and Topsy Chapman. Plus the Cajun band Beausoleil and zydeco accordionist Geno Delafose. And, from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival: Los Texmaniacs and the Chuck Brown Go-Go band. So, turn on the radio and take a break from work (just two hours) for American Routes!

TIMEKEEPERS: THE ART OF DRUMMING WITH JM VAN EATON, ZIGABOO MODELISTE, TITO PUENTE, BEN RILEY AND SHANNON POWELL

This week on American Routes, we’re keeping the beat with drummers and rhythm makers across the genres: everyone from Sun Records’ Rockabilly drummer JM Van Eaton, to jazz percussionist Ben Riley, who had to keep up with the unconventional rhythms of Thelonious Monk. In between, we listen live in-studio to New Orleans’ King of Treme, Shannon Powell, whose music takes us from the church to the streets and beyond. The funky backbone of The Meters, Joseph “Ziggy” Modeliste tells us what it really means to hit a groove, and we’ll play an encore presentation of our interview with New York City percussionist, Tito Puente, El Rey de los Timbales.

MUSIC AND MEMORIES ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI: THE LEWIS FAMILY MUSEUM, HANEY'S BIG HOUSE AND NEW ORLEANS JAZZ FUNERAL

How do we capture the intangible power of music and memories? We’ll first take a tour of the Lewis Family Museum and liquor store in Ferriday, Louisiana, where Jerry Lee Lewis’ sister Frankie Jean shows us around their family home decorated with show posters, weapons, magazine clippings, religious icons and other memorabilia. Then we’ll visit with the mayor of Ferriday and the people who turned memories into reality of club/hotel/bus depot/post office Haney’s Big House that burned down in 1966. Across the river in Natchez, MS, blues drummer and harp player Hezekiah Early looks back on playing in Haney’s house band. Back down in New Orleans, we’ll talk with Treme Brass Band‘s leader and snare drummer Benny Jones and bass drummer Joe Lastie about their late drummer and friend Uncle Lionel Batiste who was memorably embalmed standing up in street parade finery.

LOVERS, BROTHERS AND OTHERS: MAKING SWEET MUSIC TOGETHER

Music made by couples, families and siblings often has a special quality. The same is true of people who have a musical attraction to one another: Lennon and McCartney, or Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. Country traditionalist and mandolin player Marty Stuart was 12 years old when he met country chanteuse Connie Smith at a road show in his native Mississippi. Decades later Marty and Connie were married. They talk about their spring-fall relationship and making music together as “old souls.” We’ll talk to Joan Baez about writing for Bob Dylan and her singing his songs. Plus the Black Keys tell us how they teamed up, as did real brothers Trombone Shorty and James Andrews. We’ll also hear from the Cajun married duo of Marc and Ann Savoy.

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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