We’ll spend time with two eclectic NYC-based musicians who mix up country with jazz and other traditions. Multi-instrumentalist Andy Statman comes from a family steeped in Jewish musical traditions, but got the bluegrass bug playing with David Grisman and Tony Trischka. We’ll talk about his explorations of bluegrass, klezmer, free jazz and now duets with tea kettles. Then singer and pianist Norah Jones, known for her own personal stamp on jazz, shares the country side of life in her recent work with The Little Willies. Plus lots of “citified” country songs and downhome urban tunes.
The singer-songwriter Ben Harper has been on the scene since the early ’90s, but now he’s digging deeper into the blues with the legendary harpman Charlie Musselwhite. We’ll talk with Ben about the musical journey from his family’s music store to his recent recording that he calls his “graduation” album. Then an in-studio conversation with a guitarist who has played with Sun Ra and now plays banjo with Preservation Hall, New Orleans’ own Carl LeBlanc.
American Routes reflects on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. in words and music. Join us as we speak with those who knew Dr. King, from music scholar Albert Murray and historian Julian Bond to musicians Harry Belafonte and Mable John. Also, Mississippi riverboat captain Doc Hawley shares a unique memory of Memphis. Plus songs of freedom, deliverance and hope to commemorate this holiday weekend.
Whether you’re spinning 45s, 78s, or LPs, you’ll discover gold in the vinyl this week on American Routes. We check in with the record label dedicated to resurrecting lost sounds for the digital age, Dust-to-Digital. For some soul sides, we hear from Gabriel Roth, founder of Daptone Records, who’s re-imaging classic soul with the band Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. We’ll also talk to the man who got the Bossa Nova on record and started the Impulse label, jazz producer Creed Taylor. Then it’s off to Ville Platte for a conversation with Cajun recordman Floyd Soileau of Swallow Records. Plus tunes to get the jukebox shaking!
Conversation with the eclectic song stylist Shelby Lynne—formerly of rural Alabama, now of Palm Springs to hear about the vicissitudes of her musical and emotional journey from country to pop—including a recent embrace of Dusty Springfield. Elusive singer-songwriter Michael Hurley talks about a family devoted to opera and his sometimes-dark often humorous disaffected songs about the mysteries of modernity and werewolves. Plus a visit to an Alabama cemetery for revered ‘coondogs. We surround it all with Southern soul, hard country, deep blues, traditional jazz and respect for what is still significantly unknowable and magical in American culture.