When Tanya Tucker was just thirteen, she had something most teenagers couldn’t even imagine: a recording contract with Columbia Records and the studio guidance of Country’s leading producer: Billy Sherrill. In 2019, over 45 years later, Tanya returned to the studio with the help of singer Brandi Carlile to record While I’m Livin’, an album filled with songs that speak to her personal history. Tanya Tucker’s road to Nashville started in Wilcox, Arizona, where she lived with her parents.
Singer Tanya Tucker got her start as a very young singer in Nashville. At age 13, she had her first hit with “Delta Dawn.” Since then, she’s seen a lot of the world of Country Music but still kept her landmark sound. We’ll talk about her new Grammy-nominated record and her love of cutting horses in the Desert West. Then the King of Swamp Pop, Warren Storm brings us back to Louisiana where he’s taking the world by storm with a new recording of classic songs.
Cyril Neville, the youngest of the Neville fraternal order, grew up surrounded by New Orleans rhythm and blues hit makers, like James Booker, Earl King, and his brother Art, whose band the Hawketts recorded “Mardi Gras Mambo” in 1954. Cyril got an early start in music playing percussion with his uncle Jolly’s Mardi Gras Indian tribe, the Wild Tchoupitoulas. He joined Art’s funk group, the Meters, in the early ‘70s, and in 1977, Cyril and Art teamed up with Aaron and Charles to form the Neville Brothers.
For the Martin Luther King holiday we honor his spirit and struggle with African American spirituals, protest anthems, freedom jazz and soul power. New Orleans musician and activist Cyril Neville tells of growing up with Mardi Gras Indian rituals and street music and the importance of both to Black community life in the city. From our archives, the late jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard talks free form music and freedom of expression. Plus, Bob Dylan gives voice to the social unrest of the Sixties.
Pianist Arturo O’Farrill was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City, surrounded by the Latin Jazz scene in the 1960s. His father was Chico O’Farrill, the Cuban trumpet player, composer and, bandleader, and his mother, Lupe, was a Mexican singer.
We travel to Jamaica and Cuba, with connections in NY and New Orleans. Singer Jimmy Cliff is the global reggae star whose career was launched a half century ago by the iconic film and sound track, The Harder They Come. We talk with him about his start in the early days of Jamaican recorded music and his work to make the world a better place for everyone. Then Bandleader and pianist Arturo O’Farrill shares his family heritage in Afro-Latin jazz and a recent project playing music of all kinds on the US side of the Mexican border at the Fandango at the Wall.
Jimmy C. Newman grew up in French Louisiana, hearing Cajun music as well as Gene Autry and other country musicians. He began playing with Chuck Guillory’s Rhythm Boys. Later he played on the Louisiana Hayride, and in 1956, he joined the Grand Ole Opry. Even with commercial success as a country music star, Newman recalled his roots, introducing a wider audience to Cajun sounds. After his passing in 2014, producer and musician Joel Savoy teamed up with Jimmy’s son Gary Newman, to record a tribute, Farewell, Alligator Man, released on Valcour Records in 2017. Here’s Gary.
We trace stardom back to its source, traversing the roots and routes that led small town musicians to national fame. Pop icon Boz Scaggs and the late Cajun honky-tonk man Jimmy C. Newman took very different paths to the stage but carried with them the sounds they grew up hearing. Boz Scaggs achieved mainstream success with his own platinum records as well as his work with Steve Miller and Duane Allman.
At American Routes, we’re getting ready for a New Year coming, with live homegrown music: jazz, soul, blues, Cajun and funk recorded in the streets at the annual French Quarter Festival. We’ve got Rebirth Brass Band, Little Freddie King, Leroy Jones, John Cleary, Charmaine Neville, the New Orleans Nightcrawlers, and pianist Ellis Marsalis, patriarch of the Marsalis family.
It’s time to celebrate the New Year with live music from the French Quarter including the Rebirth Brass Band, jazz with Leroy Jones and Ellis Marsalis, Little Freddie King’s country blues, funk from Jon Cleary and songs from Charmaine Neville. Start the New Year right with American Routes.