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American Routes Shortcuts: Spring Awakening

New Orleans Mural
Ranna Zahra McSwain

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 apocalyptic dreams. In hopes that the real and surreal can commingle with joy and hope.



Nick Spitzer: I’m Nick Spitzer, this is American Routes. It’s springtime. Trees are leafing, flowers budding, sun shining, weather warming. It’s a “Spring Awakening,” and we’ve got songs of bunny hoppin’, rockin’ robin, and fragrant flowers, but also still some lonely hours, gospel prayers and doomsayers, as the real and surreal combine with joy and hope now in Spring 2021 for your consideration and pleasure.

NS: In Mountain Country music, when you think of songs about flowers, they are often metaphors for women as fragile and tender. Think the Carter Family’s “Wildwood Flower” or “Sweet Fern.” Gillian Welch has a song about a sturdy flower, heralding of spring–despite lingering snow and cold along rivers and gorges in the Southern Appalachians. Joined here by partner David Rawlings on acoustic guitar for their 1996 recording Revival, it’s the tale of the “Acony Bell.” 

John Prine: Hi this is John Prine, and you’re listening to American Routes radio. 

NS: The late John Prine 1971, “Hello in There,” about avoiding ageism and reaching out to elders. John Prine was a longtime supporter of American Routes. He passed away from Covid in April 2020. We sure miss him. Stay well, until that time when we can all walk through the streets together again on American Routes from PRX, Public Radio Exchange. 

To hear the full program, tune in Saturdays at 5 and Sundays at 6 on WWNO, or listen at