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American Routes
Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m.

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.

Latest Episodes
  • This is American Routes Live from Esplanade Studios with Jason Marsalis and his quintet. Jason is the sixth son of Dolores and Ellis Marsalis Jr. Three of his siblings are jazz musicians: trumpeter Wynton, saxophonist Branford, and trombonist Delfeayo. Jason is the timekeeper who played with his father and notable others: Joe Henderson, Lionel Hampton and Marcus Roberts. Pianist, composer, teacher and father, Ellis Marsalis Jr. passed on April 1st, 2020. I asked Jason Marsalis about his father, known as a modernist, about his relationship to New Orleans traditional jazz.
  • Aurora Nealand was recently praised as one of the top ten soprano saxophonists in America by Downbeat Magazine. She grew up in an eccentric family on the California coast and then Colorado, listening to Stravinsky, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Joan Baez and the Pixies. Her mom was a gardener who played classical piano, her dad an archivist who went to rock band practice between jobs. She received musical training at Oberlin College and Jacques Lecoq School of Physical Theatre in Paris, all before embarking on a bike trip across the US to chronicle the dreams of rural America. In 2004 Aurora ended up in New Orleans, where she learned to play traditional jazz in the streets. Now she leads her band, the Royal Roses, and sometimes has the persona of Rory Danger. Aurora attributes the interest in a broad range of styles to her travels and nontraditional upbringing.
  • It’s a Spring Awakening, and we’ve got songs about bunny hops, rockin’ robins, and fragrant flowers but also lonely hours, gospel prayers and post…
  • We’re delving deep into the words and music of Dan Penn, whose songs made the charts with so many great artists from Aretha Franklin to Conway Twitty and…
  • Aurelio Martinez grew up in the Garifuna village of Plaplaya on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. He’s a percussionist, singer and guitarist who’s played…
  • Meschiya Lake was named from Hebrew as “the anointed one.” Though Ms. Lake has yet to save the world, Meschiya has come a long way from Rapid City, South…
  • Raul Malo was born in Miami to Cuban parents. In 1989 he started The Mavericks. Named for going against the grain, the Mavericks began in the punk and…
  • This is American Routes, our program devoted to Sam Cooke. Sam’s ambitions in music were matched by his quest for knowledge. Longtime friend LeRoy Crume,…
  • The pandemic has been very tough on bars and restaurants everywhere and especially in New Orleans, with a culture of food and hospitality. The closing of…
  • While Mardi Gras parades, gatherings, krewe balls and house parties are not permitted this year due to Covid, we look back to celebrate the music, people…