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.

Sunny and the Sunliners
American Routes

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peak at our upcoming show. This week, we hung out with members of San Antonio’s Sunny and the Sunliners. Keyboard player and singer Little Henry Lee Parrilla tells us about the band’s R&B and blues- influenced sound. 

San Antonio Sounds: Music of the Mission City

Aug 16, 2017

The great Texas river city is a mix of Mexican, German, Anglo and African American cultures, among others. Home to the Texas Conjunto Festival and the International Accordion Festival,  San Antonio is best known for Tex-Mex or Téjano music played by squeeze box masters like Flaco Jiménez, Narciso Martinez and Mingo Saldivar among many. We’ll speak with Flaco, who in collaborations with Doug Sahm, Ry Cooder, and Los Super Seven, has carried the music worldwide.

San Antonio Sounds

Aug 15, 2017

The great Texas river city is a mix of Mexican, German, Anglo and African American cultures, among others. Home to the Texas Conjunto Festival and the International Accordion Festival,  San Antonio is best known for Tex-Mex or Téjano music played by squeeze box masters like Flaco Jiménez, Narciso Martinez and Mingo Saldivar among many. We’ll speak with Flaco, who in collaborations with Doug Sahm, Ry Cooder, and Los Super Seven, has carried the music worldwide.

American Routes Shortcuts: Jimmy Duck Holmes

Aug 11, 2017
Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
American Routes

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peek at our upcoming show. This week, we speak with bluesman Jimmy “Duck” Holmes about his time running a juke joint in Bentonia, Mississippi called the Blue Front Café. It was at the Blue Front where he learned the Bentonia style of blues guitar from the revered Jack Owens.

Small Town Blues

Aug 8, 2017

Wilco frontman, Jeff Tweedy tells of the impact on his songs of growing up in the blue collar town, Belleville, Illinois.  Music became his creative outlet in high school and lead to founding the seminal Americana band, Uncle Tupelo.

American Routes Shortcuts: Gershwin's "Summertime"

Aug 4, 2017
George Gershwin
American Routes

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peak at our upcoming show. This week, we bask in the summer heat and listen to our favorite versions of the George Gershwin classic, “Summertime,” from the 1934 opera Porgy and Bess.

At the peak of the Summer season, American Routes is riding the airwaves to exotic destinations, swinging  and surfing to all manner of beachside rhythms from the Beach Boys, Toots and the Maytals, Wilco, and the Kinks. We also stay home to bask in the sultry heat of "Summertime," composed by George Gershwin and novelist Dubose Heyward in 1934 for the opera Porgy and Bess . It's one of the most covered tunes in the American songbook with over thirty thousand renditions. We'll hear takes from Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Sam Cooke, and the Zombies.

American Routes Shortcuts: Mavis Staples

Jul 28, 2017
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.

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

Jul 25, 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.

American Routes Shortcuts: Sea Breeze Beach

Jul 21, 2017
Sea Breeze Beach
American Routes

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peek at our upcoming show. This week, we travel to Sea Breeze Beach in North Carolina. In the late 19th century African American beach communities emerged along the East Coast as havens for black vacationers excluded from white beaches. Sea Breeze provided summertime leisure to African Americans throughout the Jim Crow era and became one of the few integrated places where blacks and whites could hang out, hear music, and dance together.

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