American Routes

Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m.
  • Hosted by Nick Spitzer

American Routes is a two-hour weekly excursion into American music, spanning eras and genres—roots rock and soul, blues and country, jazz, gospel and beyond.

How to Improvise

Apr 30, 2015

This week we meet with two practitioners of the art of improvisation.  Béla Fleck joins us for a conversation about banjo traditions and experimentation in bluegrass, jazz and classical music.  Then we'll head to the studio for a jazz breakdown by New Orleans master percussionist Jason Marsalis.

The Funk Soul Universe

Apr 28, 2015

Guitar Heroes

Apr 14, 2015

Festival Time in Lafayette, LA

Apr 7, 2015

We're bringing the blues from the clubs to the church this week on American RoutesThe 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.

Bill Deputy was All Things Considered's guardian of sound. An engineer and the show's technical director for many years, Deputy died Sunday of lung cancer in New Orleans at the age of 58.

Sound was a serious business for Bill. When he wasn't combining words and sound with music in the All Things Considered control room, he was traveling with us on assignments. We worked together everywhere from Baltimore to Gaza City, and his assignments with my colleagues were equally far-flung.

Soul Sisters

Mar 17, 2015

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.

Richard Thompson & Zachary Richard

Mar 10, 2015

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.