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.

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peek at our upcoming show. This week, it’s our show, “How many Roads?" Bob Dylan’s Back Pages. Joan Baez sang and recorded many of Bob’s songs of love and loss. She spoke to host Nick Spitzer about her favorite love ballads, Dylan's lyrical writing, and being the subject of songs herself.

NS: I wonder, is there a single love song over the years that most endures for you?

JB: A single love song?

"How Many Roads…?” Bob Dylan’s Back Pages

Apr 18, 2017

Bob Dylan’s songs are part of American consciousness, with sources and symbols drawing from old-time country and folk, blues and ballads, ancient and modern poetry, the beauties and absurdities of life, love and loss.  His contributions to the big river of songs have grown and been recognized worldwide.  The young man from Hibbing, Minnesota, is now an elder… a Nobel Laureate; but his listeners didn’t need that or any such weathervane to prize Bob Dylan. It was, and is, always in his words and voice,  music and memory where fans and friends found inspiration.

Merle Haggard
American Routes

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peek at our upcoming show. To hear the full program, tune into WWNO Saturday at 7 or Sunday at 6, or listen at Americanroutes.org.

Prison Songs: Remembering Merle Haggard

Apr 11, 2017

American Routes explores the music associated with outlaws and life behind bars, from "Ball and Chain" to "Jailhouse Rock," from Johnny Cash’s San Quentin show to Leadbelly’s "Midnight Special.” We revisit our 2000 interview with the late-Merle Haggard, and then talk to Aaron Neville about his experience with incarceration. Plus a visit to the "Wildest Show in the South"--the Angola, Louisiana Prison Rodeo.

Of Highways and Home

Apr 4, 2017

This week on American Routes, we’ll ride along with fiddler and singer Alison Krauss on her journey through bluegrass and country, from small-town Illinois all the way to Nashville. Then it's Hurray for the Riff Raff, a New Orleans folk band fronted by Alynda Segarra, whose roots are in the Bronx. Segarra tells of her own time traveling as a teenager, and what has inspired her to reconnect with her Puerto Rican heritage.

Teddy's Hand
Nina Feldman

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peek at our upcoming show. This week, we travel to Teddy’s Juke Joint – right along blues highway 61 in Zachary, LA. It’s a small, double shotgun house at the end of a gravel road, lit up by Christmas lights all year round. Inside, you’ll find good times and good blues music, served up by Lloyd Johnson Jr., a well-dressed bear of a man in a red suit, sporting a large cowboy hat, and better known to the regulars as Teddy. 

This week, American Routes revisits the best live performances from the 2016 Baton Rouge Blues Festival. We’ll feature swamp blues, Mississippi Delta blues,  hill country blues, and the blues rocked out.  Artists include Howlin’ Wolf’s pianoman Henry Gray, harp player Lazy Lester, Kenny Neal and family, Slim Harpo’s right-hand guitar man James “Chicken Scratch” Johnson, songmaker Luke Winslow King,  New Orleans soul funkster Walter “Wolfman" Washington  and R.L. Burnside’s grandson, Kent Burnside.

Johnny Allan
American Routes

Each Week, American Routes bring you Shortcuts, a sneak peak at our upcoming show. Johnnie Allan is a Swamp Pop legend, born John Allen Guillot, a sharecropper’s son. His mother and grandfather were musicians who played with family member Joe Falcon, on the first Cajun record in 1928. At 13, Johnnie Allan formed a Cajun Band. Later, he joined accordionist Lawrence Walker’s band on steel guitar.

Philly Soul Folks & Louisiana Swamp Pop

Mar 21, 2017

While they don't all have blue-eyes, the white soul and swamp pop guys and gals from Philadelphia and South Louisiana have created distinctive regional sounds of national significance. In Philadelphia, we sample soul roots of the famed band Hall & Oates; and learn from John Oates that -- despite years of pop music, big hair and synthesizers-- at heart he is also a folkie into to country blues and flat-picked guitar a la Doc Watson and Mississippi John Hurt… which he plays live for us!

Shannon Powell
American Routes

Each week, American Routes Shortcuts offers a taste of the upcoming American Routes episode. This week, it’s Timekeepers: drummers and rhythm makers from New Orleans and beyond. Today, Shannon Powell is live in the studio. He showed us how it’s done on the drums and chatted about music in church, growing up in the Treme.

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