It’s a Spring Awakening, and we’ve got songs about bunny hops, rockin’ robins, and fragrant flowers but also lonely hours, gospel prayers and post apocalyptic dreams. In hopes that the real and surreal can commingle with joy and hope, plus music from Gillian Welch, Stevie Wonder, Bob Wills and Fats Waller.
Mural and image by Ranna Zahra McSwain
Singer Songwriter Dan Penn is the master behind so many well loved R&B songs, from James and Bobby Purify’s “I’m Your Puppet” to Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” and Alex Chilton and the Box Tops “Cry Like a Baby,” and many more. We’ll talk with him about his prolific catalog of songs, plus stories behind the scenes at Fame Records in Muscle Shoals and American Recordings in Memphis, and scoring his very first with a rockabilly Conway Twitty. Then, from Houston’s Fifth Ward, it’s Blues singer Trudy Lynn who got her start as a high schooler singing with Albert Collins and Archie Bell and the Drells before going on to her own career in blues and R&B.
CARIBBEAN CRUISE & SOUTH LOUISIANA SOJOURN: GARIFUNA GUITARIST AURELIO & CREOLE ACCORDIONIST CEDRIC WATSON
It’s a Caribbean sonic voyage with singer-guitarist and social leader Aurelio, who grew up in the traditional Afro-Indigenous Garifuna culture of coastal Honduras and now lives part time in the Bronx, NY. He’s a global ambassador for Garifuna culture and a member of the Honduran congress. Then live in-studio, the young Louisiana fiddler, accordionist, singer, Cedric Watson and his band Bijou Creole play La-La and zydeco soul. Plus: Kid Ory’s New Orleans jazz; reggae songman, Jimmy Cliff; Cuban descarga from Cachao; and the Trinidad calypso hero Mighty Sparrow.
Main Image: Aurelio in Corozal village, Honduras. Photo Credit: Sarah Weeden
We hit the open road to hear tales of adventure and woe from honky-tonkers and hobos, train-hoppers and busking bohemians. En route we talk with Washington folk singer Brandi Carlile, who dropped out of high school to cut it as a touring musician, and New Orleans’ Meschiya Lake, about her journey from circus performer to jazz chanteuse. Driving on in search of mythic America, we hear the voices of its discontents: Woody Guthrie, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Wilco and Pops Staples. Plus, we “Ramble On” with Lucinda Williams before coming down with a case of “Travelin’ Blues” from Jimmie Rodgers. By planes, trains and automobiles, we journey across our country’s musical landscape with stories from the road.
We meet Raul Malo, the Miami-born and Cuban-descended singer and leader of The Mavericks, known for country, pop and roots rock. We’ll talk about that and Latin music, all behind the band’s huge success in country music and their recent successful all Spanish language recording. Then, a live concert and conversation with the Pine Leaf Boys as Louisiana French two-steps meet rock n roll. Plus music from Celia Cruz, Patsy Cline, Los Lobos and Professor Longhair.