This week on American Routes~ Lovers, Brothers and Others: Making Sweet Music Together

February 12th, 2014 ~ Music made by couples, families and siblings often has a special quality. The same is true of people who have a musical attraction to one another: Lennon and McCartney, or Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. Country traditionalist and mandolin player Marty Stuart was 12 years old when he met country chanteuse Connie Smith at a road show in his native Mississippi. Decades later Marty and Connie were married. They talk about their spring-fall relationship and making music together as “old souls.” We’ll talk to Joan Baez about writing for Bob Dylan and her singing his songs. Plus the Black Keys tell us how they teamed up, as did real brothers Trombone Shorty and James Andrews. We’ll also hear from the Cajun married duo of Marc and Ann Savoy. Read more…

The Emperor and the Professor of New Orleans Music: Ernie K-Doe & Professor Longhair

(photo by Dave Cash)

October 30th, 2013 ~ We recall two grand figures of New Orleans music beginning with Ernie K-Doe, the surreal soul man of catchy songs, and flamboyant antics in New Orleans R&B, from his hit “Mother-in-Law” to the “Burn K-Doe Burn” approach to his local radio show and serving as host and main attraction of his and wife Antoinette’s Mother-in-Law Lounge. Ben Sandmel who wrote Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans joins the carnivalesque conversation. Then a piano tribute to Professor Longhair by Dr. John, Jon Cleary and George Porter Jr.

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This week on American Routes~ Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Country Strings and Vibes with John McEuen, Jake Shimabukuro & Gary Burton

October 23rd, 2013 ~ We’ll re-visit the moment when the “California long-hairs” took over a Nashville studio to pay tribute to aging country heroes. American Routes look back at the 1972 LP Will The Circle Be Unbroken with John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and his memories of those historic sessions. Then, a conversation with another musician familiar with Nashville - jazz vibraphone master Gary Burton. Plus a visit with Jake Shimabukuro, for whom any genre is a fine match for the ukelele.

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This week on American Routes~ Singing the Deltas and Bayous: Lost Bayou Ramblers & Iris DeMent

October 16th, 2013 ~ Singer-songwriter Iris DeMent returns to the landscape and soundscape of her youth, the Arkansas Delta. We’ll speak with Iris about her musical homecoming, and listen in on an exclusive solo piano performance of her most recent songs. Then we catch up with the Lafayette punk and rockabilly-inflected Cajun band, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, fronted by brothers Andre and Louis Michot, who can count Gordon Gano (of the Violent Femmes) as a collaborator and fan.

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This Week on American Routes~ Backroads to Backatown: Drive-By Truckers and Trombone Shorty

October 9th, 2013 ~ Follow American Routes as we travel the back roads for some new Southern sounds. The Drive-By Truckers have been up and down the highways since the mid-90s, delivering their unique mix of old-fashioned storytelling and rock ‘n’ roll, between stops in their hometowns of Muscle Shoals, AL and Athens, GA. We sit down with the band in uptown New Orleans to learn more about their journey in music. Then we head backatown to catch up with New Orleans’ own Troy Andrews, a.k.a. Trombone Shorty, to hear about how he mixes trad jazz, rock and soul to create ‘Superfunkrock.’ Listen here…

Lee Andrews and the Hearts perform “Teardrops” live. Doo-wop legend Lee Andrews is the father of hip-hop trailblazer Questlove, of the Roots.

Here more of America’s doo-wop heritage on this week’s American Routes.

The Flamingos perform “I Only Have Eyes For You” on theSaturday Night Beech-Nut Show, July 11, 1959.

Hear more from the Flamingos, and Aaron Neville’s other doo-wop influences, on this week’s American Routes.

Miriam Makeba performs “Khawuleza” in 1966.

Listen to Makeba explore the routes from doo-wop to afro-beat in this week’s American Routes.

This Week on American Routes~ Doo-Wop Voices: Aaron Neville and Kenny Vance


September 25th, 2013 ~ Join American Routes on the street corner for some “shang-a-langs” and “do-wop de waddas” from the past and the present. Confused? Listen in to our conversation with New Orleans own Aaron Neville about his recent album of ’50s classics, including his take on the harmonizing genre. Then we visit with Brooklyn bred Kenny Vance, founding member of Jay and the Americans, to talk mechanics and art of the doo-wop sound. You’ll be “shama-lama ding dong”-ing in no time!

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Dr. John interviewed by NPR's Nick Spitzer at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville