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.

By Any Other Name

Oct 2, 2014
Bobby Rush

What's in a name? Listen in and you'll find out why Emmett Ellis Jr. became the bluesman Bobby Rush; how folks get names like Topsy (Chapman), Sherman & Wendell (Holmes); and how country singer George Jones became known as "the possum." Also, we talk to Yale anthropologist David Watts about names of non-human primates.

Lovers, Brothers and Others: Making Sweet Music Together

Sep 30, 2014
Marty Stuart & Connie Smith

Music made by couples, families and siblings often has a special quality. The same is true of people who have a musical attraction to one another: Lennon and McCartney, or Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. Country traditionalist and mandolin player Marty Stuart was 12 years old when he met country chanteuse Connie Smith at a road show in his native Mississippi. Decades later Marty and Connie were married.

R.Crumb

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.

Festivals Acadiens et Creoles and New Orleans Nightlife

Sep 16, 2014
Ernie Vincent

Get Rhythm: A Tribute to Johnny Cash

Sep 9, 2014
Johnny Cash

It's a two-hour tribute in song and story to the Man in Black. We'll hear from his family, friends and associates on the contradictions--preacher, outlaw, loving family man, rockabilly rebel--that made the man.

Soul Sisters

Sep 2, 2014
Baby Washington

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 "The Times," "Nobody Cares," and "That's How Heartaches Are Made." Maxine Brown started as teenager in NYC singing with gospel groups.

The Meters

Time for some "Fire on the Bayou" at a rare reunion of New Orleans' funk jam band and studio wizards, The Meters on stage at the Howlin' Wolf. Then Drive-By Truckers bring their poetic and critical style of Southern rock a la Muscle Shoals, Alabama to New Orleans' historic Civic Theatre.

Dr. Lonnie Smith & Terrance Simien: Keys and Squeeze

Aug 19, 2014
Dr. Lonnie Smith

From the heart of French Louisiana to the streets of New York, American Routes is mixing it up this week with two giants of their genres. We visit with jazz great Dr. Lonnie Smith, whose mastery of the music is synonymous with his ever-present Hammond B3 organ. We drop down deep in the pocket with Lonnie, and get keyed in to the past and present of soul and jazz. And out on the Cajun and Creole prairies we drop in on zydeco accordionist and Grammy award winner Terrance Simien.

Singing of Deltas and Bayous

Aug 12, 2014
Lost Bayou Ramblers

Singer-songwriter Iris DeMent returns to the landscape and soundscape of her youth, the Arkansas Delta. We'll speak with Iris about her musical homecoming, and listen in on an exclusive solo piano performance of her most recent songs. Then we catch up with the Lafayette punk and rockabilly-inflected Cajun band, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, fronted by brothers Andre and Louis Michot, who can count Gordon Gano (of the Violent Femmes) as a collaborator and fan.

Mr. Soul: A Tribute to Sam Cooke

Aug 5, 2014
Sam Cooke

Tune in for a tribute to the man who melded gospel, soul and pop in music and life, Sam Cooke. We'll follow the singer from Clarksdale to Chicago and from the church to the Copa as he revolutionized gospel music with the Soul Stirrers and then secular music with self-penned hits "You Send Me," "Change is Gonna Come," and more. Plus an hour of the musical roots and branches of Sam Cooke.

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