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.

American Routes Shortcuts: Sonny Burgess

Sep 8, 2017
Sonny Burgess
American Routes

This week on American Routes Shortcuts, we revisit an interview with the late Sonny Burgess. Sonny grew up in Newport, Arkansas, and was part of the first generation of white musicians to mix country or hillbilly music with the blues to make a new sound: rockabilly. Burgess quit farming to play music in local clubs and became known for his wild stage antics. Sonny fronted bands like the Moonlighters and the King’s Four, and recorded at Sun Records with his band, the Pacers, in 1956.

Rockin' the Blues

Sep 5, 2017

Tune in and rock the blues with two guitar men who do it with great authority. First up is Arkansas wild man and original Sun Records rockabilly Sonny Burgess who tore it up, playing his hits "We Wanna Boogie," "Red-Headed Woman" and others well into his eighties, before passing away last month. And hear a live set from the late great New Orleans bluesman and human jukebox Snooks Eaglin , recorded in 2007 at his home base, the famous Rock ‘N’ Bowl nightclub, where one can do either of those, or both, at the same time.

American Routes Shortcuts: Bill Kirchen

Sep 1, 2017
Bill Kirchen
American Routes

This week on American Routes Shortcuts, we visit with Titan of the Telecaster, Bill Kirchen, of Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen. The father of "dieselbilly," Kirchen helped Commander Cody take their hippie, honky-tonk satire up to the Top 10 with the 1972 hit “Hot Rod Lincoln.” Though he’s long been flying solo, Kirchen stuck with the automotive theme and high-octane sound. We spoke to Bill back in 2010 about his musical journey.

For Labor Day weekend …it’s Roots Rock & Soul, Jazz & the Working Man’s Blues. Summer’s end is in sight, but we get a little break from the grind ’cause blue Monday is at least another week away. Today we honor working folks with songs about coal miners, factory girls, a Labor Day carnival, and payday.  Plus … a live rockabilly show in New Orleans with guitarist Bill Kirchen.

Of Highways and Home

Aug 22, 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.

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.

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.

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