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.

Ernie Vincent
American Routes

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peek at our upcoming show. One of the enduring heroes of club life in New Orleans is guitarist Ernie Vincent. Ernie’s parents spoke French- father played guitar and harmonica, and the family used to take regular trips to Thibodaux, LA where his uncles played juke joints and fish fries. Vincent learned to play Jimmy Reed tunes, met Little Johnny Taylor and Little Freddy King.

Festivals Acadiens et Creoles and New Orleans Nightlife

Feb 14, 2017

This week on American Routes we bring you music from the festival stage and the clubs of South Louisiana. We visit some of our favorite nighttime musical haunts in New Orleans and spend time with guitar man Ernie Vincent and jazz historian Bruce Raeburn. Then, allons à Lafayette for the Festivals Acadiens et Créoles, south Louisiana's annual celebration of Cajun and Creole music, food and culture.

R. Crumb
American Routes

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peek at our upcoming show. To hear the full program, listen on WWNO Saturdays at 7 or Sundays at 6, or at americanroutes.org.

Music, Comics & Collecting Records

Feb 7, 2017

This week on American Routes we spin some shellac and wax nostalgic with the iconic cartoonist, musician and record collector Robert Crumb, who'll share with us his love of musical times gone by. Then we talk to educator and vinyl aficionado Jerry Zolten about the story of Paramount Records, started by a furniture manufacturer, whose recorded legacy is now contained in two swank suitcases.

Mavis Staples
American Routes

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peek of the upcoming show. This week, it’s the second installment of our program all about Bob Dylan.  Here’s host Nick Spitzer with Mavis Staples, on American Routes.

NS: Bob Dylan admired the civil rights songs of the Staples singers,  and would hear them on tour in the early 60s. Mavis Staples remembers when her father, Pops, heard Dylan for the first time, and how Dylan’s protest lyrics influenced their family in return.

So Many Roads: Bob Dylan’s Back Pages Volume II

Jan 31, 2017

In this second edition of How Many Roads? Bob Dylan's Back Pages, we'll rejoin the great American wordsmith by listening to his work from the last 25 years. We won't forget the historic and ancient roots of his modern sounds, from the Old Testament to the Civil Rights movement. We'll hear from collaborators and friends, Mavis Staples and Joan Baez, and from Kris Kristofferson who overheard Dylan's recording sessions while working as a custodian in Nashville.

Smokey Robinson
American Routes

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peak at the upcoming episode. This week, our program is about Detroit- the Motor City, Motown. Here’s where the rubber meets the road from recording studio to assembly line, for Smokey Robinson. Born William Robinson in 1940, he came out singing from a tough Detroit neighborhood and went on to become a songwriter and producer for Motown Records. Let’s hear from Smokey about where it started.

Motor City Music of Detroit

Jan 24, 2017

American Routes cruises the musical map of Detroit, catching the sights and sounds of the Motor City. From Hamtramck to Dearborn, we'll meet the proud people who made the cars and played the bars. Jazz modernist Yusef Lateef tells of his time on the assembly line. Smokey Robinson talks about growing up with Motown's future stars. We'll learn how to construct a hit record from Motown studio insiders, then visit a raccoon hunters club, known for bluegrass jams. Plus rockabilly stars, dream cars and polka bands... all from Detroit.

Chris Smither
American Routes

Each week, American Routes Shortcuts offers a sneak peak into the upcoming American Routes episode. This week, New Orleans Bluesman Chris Smither plays a live show in his current home- Western Massachusetts.

Song Makers and Song Takers

Jan 17, 2017

This week on American Routes, we hear from great songwriters and performers and those who emulate them. Original songs can take on new form and meaning when interpreted by different voices, and we'll hear some of those renditions and transformations this week. We'll hear the rocking Southern sound of the Drive-By Truckers covering Bob Dylan, and Ray Charles doing Hank Williams. Our guest William Bell, from Memphis, will tell us all about his music being played by the Byrds, and bluesman Albert King.

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