american routes shortcuts

American Routes Shortcuts: Sam Moore

Nov 17, 2017
Sam Moore
American Routes

Sam Moore and Dave Prater burned through the late 1960s as the dynamic soul duet singers, famous for their stage moves and harmonies. The late Dave Prater was a Georgia country boy; Sam grew up in Miami. What they shared was an upbringing in gospel music, the sacred foundation for soul that found its way stylistically into their upbeat hits. But it’s also in the voicing of the ballads. Sam tells about meeting Dave and forming soul duo Sam & Dave.

American Routes Shortcuts: The Tedeschi Trucks Band

Nov 10, 2017
Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi
American Routes

This week on American Routes Shortcuts, we feature Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks of the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Susan Tedeschi grew up outside of Boston in a family of grocery store owners. Derek Trucks was raised in Jacksonville, Florida, listening to the Allman Brothers, his uncle Butch Trucks’ band. Worlds apart, Susan and Derek each honed their chops at local blues jams and pursued musical careers destined to collide. Susan attended the Berklee School of Music, toured with the Dead, and released eight solo albums.

American Routes Shortcuts: Jerry Wexler

Nov 3, 2017
Jerry Wexler
American Routes

The late Jerry Wexler was born into a Jewish working class family in New York City in 1918. A combination of good ears, business sense, and chutzpa took Jerry from Manhattan window washer to the top of the R&B charts, producing artists like Ray Charles. Before his career as a record producer, Jerry Wexler did stints at BMI music publishing, Billboard Magazine, where as a writer he coined the term rhythm and blues.

American Routes Shortcuts: Ivy Billiot

Oct 27, 2017
Ivy Billiot
American Routes

This week on American Routes Shortcuts, in honor of the harvest and hallows, we travel down the bayou in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, to visit wood carver and Houma Indian Ivy Billiot. Ivy learned the Houma tradition of basket weaving from his father, and although the wood is scarce these days, Ivy still crafts hunting blow guns, violins, and painted carvings of animals. He tells host Nick Spitzer about his relationship to the natural and supernatural worlds.

American Routes Shortcuts: Charlie Gabriel

Oct 20, 2017
Charlie Gabriel
American Routes

Sax and clarinet player Charlie Gabriel’s roots are in New Orleans traditional jazz, but he made a name for himself playing with Lionel Hampton and Aretha Franklin. Charlie learned how to play saxophone and clarinet from his father in the Crescent City, and he began playing in local bands at age 11. As a teen, his family moved to Detroit, where he lived for almost 60 years before returning home to New Orleans to play with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

American Routes Shortcuts: Laura Cantrell

Oct 13, 2017
Laura Cantrell
American Routes

This week on American Routes Shortcuts, we hear from Nashville-native, Laura Cantrell, about finding success as a country singer after moving to New York City. Laura worked as an investment banker, a day job she happily gave up a couple of years ago when her musical career took wing. With a strong sense of the country song tradition, Laura is also the host of her own show, Radio Thrift Shop, on the freeform station WFMU in Jersey City. Laura recalls her Nashville pedigree.

American Routes Shortcuts: Charles Neville

Sep 29, 2017
Charles Neville with the Jazzmen at Angola Prison
Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

This week on American Routes Shortcuts, saxophonist Charles Neville shares about his time at Angola Prison in the '60s. He was among many great musicians who were sent to the penitentiary for drug offenses. One of his great contributions as an inmate was helping to racially and musically integrate prison life. Charles helped form the unlikely but prolific bebop group, the Nic Nacs, and found solace in the music he encountered while at Angola.

American Routes Shortcuts: Tito Puente

Sep 22, 2017
Tito Puente
American Routes

This week on American Routes Shortcuts, we hear the mambo and rumba sounds of the late Puerto Rican percussionist, Tito Puente. Tito was born in New York City in 1923. After a youth of dancing, playing drums, and hearing Cuban musical influences, his great break came when he joined Machito’s big band as a teenager in the early 40s. He formed his own band a few years later, and literally brought his instrument, the timbales, to the foreground by moving them from the back to the front of the stage.

American Routes Shortcuts: Candi Staton

Sep 15, 2017
Candi Staton
American Routes

This week on American Routes Shortcuts, we hear from Candi Staton who has been working in music for over four decades. From her Christian upbringing to the Chitlin’ Circuit, from making records in Muscle Shoals to disco, her path hasn’t always been easy. One of her earliest memories was making a pillow out of a cotton sack and falling asleep as her father worked the field. 

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.