American Routes

Saturdays at 7 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.

Love is Strange

17 hours ago

The dead of winter has us planning ahead for Valentine’s Day and life itself with songs of love—lost and found.

American Routes Shortcuts: Cyril Neville

Jan 18, 2019
Cyril Neville
American Routes

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. Cyril later founded his own group, Endangered Species, and has become a community and environmental activist, especially in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Cyril spoke of his musical beginnings some seventy years ago. 

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.

American Routes Shortcuts: Joel Savoy

Jan 11, 2019
Joel Savoy
American Routes

Joel Savoy is a renowned fiddler and producer, and the son of Cajun music greats Marc and Ann Savoy from Eunice, LA. Joel has worked to preserve and revitalize Cajun music through his playing as well as his label, Valcour Records. He started Valcour in 2006.  Joel has recorded south Louisiana artists such as Doug Kershaw, Steve Riley, Bonsoir Catin, Cedric Watson, and the Pine Leaf Boys, and has produced collections of drinking, love and holiday songs.

Record Mavens

Jan 8, 2019

Traveling at the speed of 45 RPM, we sink into the record grooves of some of our favorite songs and talk to the studio wizards who produced them. First stop is Nashville, home to Music Row as well as Easy Eye Sound, the recording studio of Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach. We talk with Auerbach about his journey in music, from hearing vinyl on his parents’ turntable in Akron, Ohio, to cutting records with some of Nashville’s legendary session players.

American Routes Shortcuts: Leiber & Stoller

Jan 4, 2019
Mike Stoller, Elvis Presley and Jerry Leiber
American Routes

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were East Coast guys out in California, who began writing and producing for groups like the Coasters and the Drifters in the late 1940s. After the success of “Hound Dog,” they joined up with Elvis to write and produce around a dozen hits in the late 50s and early 60s. Leiber and Stoller told us how they first learned of the man named Elvis Presley. 

Elvis Lives!

Jan 1, 2019

We remember Elvis Presley on what would be his 84th birthday. Exclusive interviews with bandmates DJ Fontana, Scotty Moore, producer Sam Phillips, and biographer Peter Guralnick focus on the social and cultural interactions unique to Memphis and the Deep South that sparked Elvis’ musical explosiveness. The songwriting team of Leiber & Stoller talk about working with Elvis on their compositions “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock,” and guitarist James Burton describes the Vegas years.

American Routes Shortcuts: The Soul Rebels

Dec 28, 2018
The Soul Rebels
James Billeaudeau

We’re celebrating the New Year ahead, with live performances by the Soul Rebels. We go to the stage for a conversation with the group’s founding fathers, bass drummer Derrick Moss and snare drummer Lumar LeBlanc, to talk about how Soul Rebels came to be. 

American Routes Live! New Years 2018

Dec 25, 2018

Counting down to the New Year, we revel in the live sounds of New Orleans and south Louisiana. First, turn it up for the “New Sound of New Orleans” with the Soul Rebels brass band, live in conversation and performance, joined by “stretch music” trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and preacher’s kid turned soul powerhouse Tonya Boyd-Cannon.

American Routes Shortcuts: Chuck Siler

Dec 21, 2018
Santa's Second Line by Chuck Siler
Chuck Siler

Nick Spitzer speaks to Chuck Siler, a museum curator and visual artist, who tells us about his experience as a black Santa in Vietnam in 1968. He began with a description of his alternative to the traditional white Santa Claus.