American Routes

Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m.
  • Hosted by Nick Spitzer

American Routes is a two-hour weekly excursion into American music, spanning eras and genres—roots rock and soul, blues and country, jazz, gospel and beyond.

American Routes Shortcuts: Dion

Jan 22, 2021
Dion and the Belmonts
American Routes

This is American Routes, following the roots of doo-wop music into rock and roll as part of the life of singer and songmaker Dion DiMucci. Dion was born into a Bronx, New York Italian family in 1939. His father was in vaudeville. Dion gained notoriety as a singer with an appearance on American Bandstand. Back in the neighborhood, he made street music called doo-wop.  I asked Dion how an immigrants’ son from the Bronx was able to channel the Southern music of his youth into doo-wop and rock and roll.



American Routes Shortcuts: Donald Harrison

Jan 15, 2021
Donald Harrison
American Routes

This is American Routes Live from Marigny Studios with jazz saxophonist Donald Harrison and Quintet. I talked with Donald between songs about his life in music, from growing up in New Orleans to playing with Art Blakey in New York, and putting his own stamp on modern jazz.



American Routes Shortcuts: Jim Lauderdale

Jan 8, 2021
Jim Lauderdale
American Routes

Americana icon Jim Lauderdale followed his love of music from the Carolinas to Nashville, New York and Los Angeles. Despite great songs, his genre-defying style made it hard to get a record deal. Now considered a songwriting legend, Lauderdale has penned tunes for George Strait, Patty Loveless and Solomon Burke, collaborated with Willie Nelson, Ralph Stanley and the Grateful Dead’s lyricist Robert Hunter. Lauderdale was inspired when he saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show.



Meschiya Lake & Tom McDermott
American Routes

Pianist Tom McDermott is a native of St. Louis and a lifetime explorer of the music downriver here in New Orleans, across the Caribbean and to Brazil. Singer Meschiya Lake started out in Rapid City, South Dakota and landed hereabouts as a circus performer. Meschiya and Tom came together for us in the sonic wooden glory of an old Presbyterian church, now called Esplanade Studios.



American Routes Shortcuts: Xmas Bonfires

Dec 25, 2020
Xmas Bonfires
American Routes

Usually each December 24th, along the Mississippi River above New Orleans, families gather around massive bonfires–some shaped as log cabins or animals–to light the way for Santa Claus or Papa Noel. It’s a holiday tradition that goes back to colonial times along what is now called Côte des Allemands, the German Coast. I caught up with CJ and his young son CJ Jr. who were tending a big bonfire on the levee in Lutcher, LA.