By mail, by ballot box, by pulling a lever or pushing a button on November 3rd, Americans will exercise their democratic right to vote for President, Senators, Congresspeople and, in many local elections, for legislators and judges to mosquito control officers and dogcatchers. It’s a big one folks! So we’ve created a soundtrack in words and music to get you to the polls. With jazz and gospel takes on American anthems; cool versions of civil rights songs like “If I Had a Hammer” and “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free”; blues treatments warning “Be Careful How You Vote!”; a soul variation on “This Land is Your Land”; and songs about revolution… and restraint. It’s time to face the music and vote!
Vote! image used with permission by Globe Collection and Press at MICA
Singer Songwriter Dan Penn is the master behind so many well loved R&B songs, from James and Bobby Purify’s “I’m Your Puppet” to Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” and Alex Chilton and the Box Tops’ “Cry Like a Baby,” and many more. We’ll talk with him about his prolific catalog of songs, plus stories behind the scenes at Fame Records in Muscle Shoals and American Recordings in Memphis, and scoring his very first with a rockabilly Conway Twitty. Then, from Houston’s Fifth Ward, Blues singer Trudy Lynn who got her start as a high schooler singing with Albert Collins and Archie Bell and the Drells before going on to her own career in blues and R&B.
We reflect on these difficult times with sounds of solace and uplift to see us through solitude and the unknown. From Blue Skies and the Milky White Way to downhome and earthly struggles with Mavis Staples and Elvis, Bill Monroe, and Louis Armstrong.
The Mississippi River runs from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico passing through rural forests, Iowa farm country, petrochemical coasts and major cities. In the process, the river water goes from crystal clear to muddy. River cities St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans have produced great cultural icons in jazz, blues, gospel, rockabilly, roots rock and soul and many other music styles near its banks and levees. Join us for “Down by the Riverside” a live American Routes concert with artists from the cafe au lait portion of the river and its connected watershed of bayous and backswamps in French south Louisiana, including: Cajun brothers Michael and David Doucet; the calliope-playing captain of the Natchez steamboat, Clarke “Doc” Hawley; and Dr. Michael White’s Original Liberty Jazz Band playing New Orleans traditional jazz, joined by Bourbon Street singer Topsy Chapman. The program begins with Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe elder and canoe builder Wayne Valliere speaking of the significance of the Father of Waters to Native Americans.