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.

Billie Holiday: Ladies Sing the Blues & Beyond

Jun 20, 2017

We follow Billie Holiday from her beginnings through a complex life of troubles and musical triumphs, her compelling "autumn" voice and untimely passing at age 44. Biographers John Szwed and Robert O'Meally discuss Lady Day's style and significance, while Cassandra Wilson describes and sings her approach to the Billie Holiday oeuvre. Singer Catherine Russell describes reaching back to recreate classic blues and jazz. From our archives we hear Nina Simone and Bonnie Raitt praising their blues heroines in story and song.

Trombone Shorty… Casts a Long Shadow

Jun 13, 2017

This week on American Routes, we're celebrating the life and music of Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. Schooled in the sounds of his family and New Orleans’ Tremé neighborhood, Shorty has been a musician since the age of four.

Guilty Pleasures: Music We Love More Than We Can Say

Jun 6, 2017

We take a deep dive into the memory vaults to spin the tunes that we shamelessly love. From guilty pleasures, including a disco dance number, to confessional ballads like James Carr’s “Dark End of the Street” and songs of redemption ala Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny,” we shine a light on our heart’s true delights. Plus, we explore social protest anthems including Mavis Staples' "Long Walk to D.C.," Simon & Garfunkle's "Richard Cory," and a standout R & B version of Pete Seeger's "If I Had a Hammer" sung by Shreveport's Toussaint McCall.

American Routes Shortcuts: Jesse Winchester

Jun 2, 2017
Jesse Winchester
American Routes

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peek at our upcoming show. This week the late songwriter Jesse Winchester tells of his musical life on the road. Jesse Winchester grew up around Memphis, where he was surrounded by gospel and country music as well as early rhythm & blues and rock & roll radio, sounds that would define his own musical and songwriting style throughout his life. In the early ’60s, he moved to Massachusetts for college and then fled to Quebec to avoid being drafted to Vietnam.

Jesse Winchester, Wayne & Jayne Henderson

May 30, 2017

We’ll remember the late singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester, through his music and his own words. Then a visit to Rugby, VA for a close listen into sustainable guitars and ukuleles, made by Jayne and Wayne Henderson, of Henderson Guitars.

Koko Taylor
American Routes

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peek at our upcoming show. Each year, American Routes honors National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellows. This week, host Nick Spitzer bring you conversations blueswoman Koko Taylor and rockabilly Wanda Jackson.

Memorial Day with the NEA National Heritage Fellows

May 23, 2017

American Routes celebrates Memorial Day weekend with a sonic feast from National Endowment for the Arts’ Heritage Fellows--recipients of America's most prestigious award in folk & traditional arts. We'll hear music and conversation from past Fellows: bluegrass picker Del McCoury, rockabilly Wanda Jackson, sacred steel guitarists, the Campbell Brothers, and late blues singer Koko Taylor. The 2016 Fellows included: Mardi Gras Indian Chief Monk Boudreaux, Irish accordionist Billy McComiskey and Mexican-American singer Artemio Posadas.

T-Lou
American Routes

 

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peek at our upcoming show. This week, our program travels to Los Angeles, where host Nick Spitzer spoke with Creole accordionist T-Lou. He moved from his home in Grand Coteau Louisiana, and made a new one South Central LA.

NS:      Hey,

TL:       Hey, how ya’ll doin?

NS:      Alright, T-Lou!

TL:       How you been?

NS:      Ca va?

TL:       Hey Man

NS:      Parle un petit peu en Creole?

TL:       Oui, oui, un petit peu…

Los Angeles: Soundtrack for the Angels

May 16, 2017

In this special program, American Routes' host Nick Spitzer uncovers the music and cultural traditions of Los Angeles: from Hollywood to neighborhood. Join Nick as he travels across the City of Angels to hear from L.A. legends -- including Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and songwriter Randy Newman -- and explores musical cultures with Cambodian-born rapper PraCh Ly in Long Beach, Louisiana Creole zydeco accordionist T-Lou in South Central, and East L.A.'s Ersi Arvizu.

Sonny Rollins
American Routes

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peek at the upcoming show. This week, we celebrate Mothers Day with a montage of musicians, honoring their moms. To hear the full program, tune into WWNO Saturdays at 7 or Sundays at 6 or listen at americanroutes.org

We’ve got saxophonist Sonny Rollins on the essential support from his mother to persevere in jazz. Also Creole accordionist Geno Delafose tells of Mama coming out to the dance hall. And St. Louis soul singer Fontella Bass telling a tale of trying to take a train out of town, until her mother found out.

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