December 24th, 2014

The Sonic Journey of Alan Lomax: Recording America and the World

 

American Routes follows the journeys made by folklorist Alan Lomax as he documented the diversity of the traditional music of America, in the face of what he felt was the increased threat by popular "monoculture." We'll look into Lomax's work as a sound recordist, cultural theorist, radio host and above all, shaper of 20th century pop culture through his discoveries.

 

December 31st, 2014

American Routes Live!: Musical Geographies of the Gulf South

 

American Routes celebrates music and musicians from New Orleans, Mississippi and French Louisiana. Recorded live at New Orleans' venerable (1906) Civic Theatre, the show features New Orleans clarinetist Dr. Michael White and the Original Liberty Jazz Band with the definitive Creole music born in the Crescent City: traditional jazz. White is joined by fellow NEA Heritage recipient, Cajun fiddler Michael Doucet and the influential band of the French Louisiana cultural revival BeauSoleil ('good sunshine'). The downhome blues of guitarist and wordslinger Little Freddie King of McComb, Mississippi kicks off the show and the spirit-filled gospel of Electrifying Crown Seekers from New Orleans' west bank take us home. Our special guest is beloved jazz vocalist Topsy Chapman, also famed locally as the first black cocktail waitress on Bourbon Street in the 1960s.

 

January 7th, 2015

Creole Eyes and Classical Ears: Van Dyke Parks & Tom McDermott

 

Conversation with and music from Van Dyke Parks, an eclectic, popular classicist known as a composer and keyboardist, arranger and producer, with a great love of calypso and Hawaiian cowboy music. The man behind the curtain for so many artists, the Hollywood-based Parks is well-regarded for writing and studio work with Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, Ry Cooder, Lowell George and Randy Newman, among many. He recently became a fan of pianist Tom McDermott, a St. Louis-born, New Orleans-dwelling and Brazilian-influenced vernacular virtuoso. Parks thought enough of McDermott's recorded repertoire to collect and reissue some of it as Bamboula--so named for the composition by the mutually-admired New Orleans 19th century pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Tom McDermott, also a fan of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Professor Longhair and James Booker, plays in his parlor for us.

 

January 14th, 2015

Words and Music in the Spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

American Routes reflects on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. in words and music. Join us as we speak with those who knew Dr. King, from music scholar Albert Murray and historian Julian Bond to musicians Harry Belafonte and Mable John. Also, Mississippi riverboat captain Doc Hawley shares a unique memory of Memphis. Plus songs of freedom, deliverance and hope to commemorate this holiday weekend.