June 21st, 2017

Billie Holiday: Ladies Sing the Blues & Beyond--with Singers Cassandra Wilson and Catherine Russell


We follow Billie Holiday from her beginnings through a complex life of troubles and musical triumphs, her compelling "autumn" voice and untimely passing at age 44. Biographers John Szwed and Robert O'Meally discuss Lady Day's style and significance, while Cassandra Wilson describes and sings her approach to the Billie Holiday oeuvre. Singer Catherine Russell describes reaching back to recreate classic blues and jazz. From our archives we hear Nina Simone and Bonnie Raitt praising their blues heroines in story and song.

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June 14th, 2017

Trombone Shorty... Casts a Long Shadow


This week on American Routes, we're celebrating the life and music of Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews. Schooled in the sounds of his family and New Orleans' Treme neighborhood, Shorty has been a musician since the age of four. His natural prowess as a trombonist and trumpeter has carried Shorty from his roots in traditional jazz and popular tunes to funk and distinctively new New Orleans music as heard on the recent CD Parking Lot Symphony. We'll hear a classic concert, where he joins Kermit Ruffins upriver in St. Paul, MN... and then return to New Orleans where Troy takes the stage with his students from the Trombone Shorty Academy, as Andrews mentors the city's next generation of musicians.

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June 7th, 2017

Guilty Pleasures: Music We Love More Than We Can Say


We take a deep dive into the memory vaults to spin the tunes that we shamelessly love. From guilty pleasures, including a disco dance number, to confessional ballads like James Carr's "Dark End of the Street" and songs of redemption ala Bobby Hebb's "Sunny," we shine a light on our heart's true delights. Plus, we explore social protest anthems including Mavis Staples' "Long Walk to D.C.," Simon & Garfunkel's "Richard Cory," and a standout R & B version of Pete Seeger's "If I Had a Hammer" sung by Shreveport's Toussaint McCall.

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