New Orleans’ own Basin Street Records is a homegrown record label featuring superstars of the local sound like the Rebirth Brass Band, Davell Crawford, Jason Marsalis and Kermit Ruffins. The label got its start with a live recording of Kermit’s band at the Uptown club Tipitina’s in 1997. Now, over two decades later and several Grammy Awards under its belt, Basin Street Records still holds true to the sounds of New Orleans. We talk with Basin Street founder Mark Samuels about the label’s history. We listen in on the artists that call it home, including Jon Cleary, whose “Quarantini Sessions” streaming live from his Funk Headquarters in the 9th Ward are helping us get through these challenging times. Then, a live concert and conversation with Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers from Esplanade Studios in the Historic Treme neighborhood of New Orleans.
It’s back to the Golden Age of doo wop and classic songs of the era from Black and White groups. A conversation with Dion DiMucci, the Bronx born and raised singer who made his name first with his neighborhood group the Belmonts. We talk about his Italian American roots and his love of the blues, plus his life in music. Then, we explore the roads to doowop from gospel quartets, R&B and jazz including songs by Sam Cooke, The Mills Brothers and Jimmy Reed .
AMERICAN ROUTES LIVE: CREOLE SONGLINES OF LEYLA MCCALLA AND SAXOPHONIST DONALD HARRISON'S JAZZ JOURNEY
We go live in concert and conversation with two New Orleans artists each of whom bring their family heritage forward into contemporary music. Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Leyla McCalla has called New Orleans home for many years, but her family ties are to Haiti. She draws on French Creole roots for inspiration, as well as from the poetry of Langston Hughes. Then jazz saxophonist Big Chief Donald Harrison, whose musical journey includes time in New York with drummer Art Blakey’s band, talks about “Afro-New Orleans” culture and demonstrates how to bring soul, funk, and Black carnival traditions into modern jazz.
The dead of winter has us pondering warmer times with the help of songs of love – lost and found. Whether it’s from swooning crooners or heartbroken honky-tonkers, love has wedged itself prominently in the American songbook. We talk to two songwriters who specialize in matters of the heart: ’60s folk chanteuse Judy Collins and Americana songmaker Jim Lauderdale, a.k.a. “The King of Broken Hearts.” Plus we hear soulful sweet songs from the Pointer Sisters and the Four Tops, ballads of love on the rocks from George Jones and Tracy Chapman, and love confessions for “My Girl, Josephine” by Fats Domino and “Ophelia” by The Band. Join us for songs of love sad and happy, sexy and silly, careless and calculated on American Routes.