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  • We’re live at Marigny Studios with Little Freddie King, an old school bluesman from McComb, Mississippi who lives in New Orleans’ 9th Ward. Little Freddie is a great teller of tales. During the session, we talked about his comings and goings in music, and I asked about the story behind his homemade first guitar.
  • Yvette Landry wears many hats: musician, songwriter, educator, author, and record producer. Hailing from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, Yvette grew up listening to music but wasn’t interested in playing music until later in life. After her dad was diagnosed with cancer, Yvette bought a bass for Cajun jam sessions with the Lafayette Rhythm Devils. She went on to join the female-led Cajun band Bonsoir, Catin, and now fronts the Yvette Landry Band. Though she’s performed internationally, Yvette has stayed close to home, teaching American Sign Language and songwriting at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette.
  • This is American Routes from New Orleans, a city of music and songs, many of which have been written about it, often by outsiders. “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans"–music by John Turner Layton and lyrics from Henry Creamer–was published in 1922. “Way Down Yonder” was advertised as "A Southern Song, without A Mammy, A Mule, Or A Moon.” That was a rightful dig at some of the Tin Pan Alley clichés of the day. “Way Down Yonder in”–I say–“New Orleans" has been performed by many: Benny Goodman, the Andrews Sisters, Freddy Cannon, Jan and Dean, and Dean Martin. And now let’s go “Way Down Yonder” and beyond, starting with a fresh version of the old song from New Orleans Jazz Vipers on American Routes.
  • This is American Routes Live, I’m Nick Spitzer. We’ve got jazz trumpeter from Preservation Hall, Wendell Brunious with his New Orleans All Stars.Wendell Brunious is from a famed New Orleans Creole jazz family. He is the son of Nazimova Santiago and John Brunious, Sr., a trumpeter who played with Onward Brass and Young Tuxedo Brass Bands, and Paul Barbarin. Wendell Brunious’ brother was the late John Brunious, Jr., also a trumpeter who lead the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Over the years, Wendell Brunious sang with Chief John and the Mahogany Hall Stompers in the 1960s. He studied at Southern University, worked with Danny Barker in the ‘70s, and later played on Bourbon Street and with Kid Thomas Valentine, Eureka Brass, Lionel Hampton, Linda Hopkins, Sammy Rimington and Louis Nelson. Right now it’s Wendell Brunious and band on American Routes Live
  • This is American Routes for Halloween, All Saints, All Souls days from the Christian and pre-Christian Celtic calendars of saints and spirits, and now the African diaspora to the Caribbean and Gulf South, first with a late beloved Neville Brother of blessed memory.
  • Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers co-founder Chris Hillman is a musician, singer, songwriter, and author. A third generation Californian, Hillman grew up hearing Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, all on his parents’ hi-fi. He discovered bluegrass and picked up mandolin by way of Bill Monroe and the New Lost City Ramblers. At seventeen, Hillman joined his first band, the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers, a bluegrass group that included Eagles’ guitarist Bernie Leadon. He later played with the Golden State Boys, the resident bluegrass band for Los Angeles television’s Cal’s Corral, which became the Hillmen. I spoke to Chris Hillman over Zoom, where he told me how he was recruited to play bass for the Byrds at a studio rehearsal in L.A.
  • Los Cenzontles means “the mockingbirds” in the indigenous Nahuatl language. The band mixes traditional Mexican music with contemporary sounds including American rock and soul. They’ve collaborated with Linda Ronstadt, Taj Mahal, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, and Jackson Browne, but their main collaborators are children. Los Cenzontles is also a community-based arts academy that teaches music, dance, arts and crafts to its young students. We sat down with Los Cenzontles’ founder and guitarist Eugene Rodriguez and with singers Lucina Rodriguez, and Fabiola Trujillo.
  • This is American Routes, about to go live at the New Orleans Jazz Museum with keyboard wizard Davell Crawford on piano. In addition to being the Prince of New Orleans piano, Davell is a fine singer and wily raconteur who grew up in French Louisiana’s “hub city” of Lafayette and also in New Orleans. We’ll learn about his large musical career and interests, but first here’s his tribute tune to one of his greatest heroes, the late James Booker. It’s a “Song for James” on American Routes Live.
  • New Orleans guitar and banjo player Detroit Brooks got a start touring with his musical family, including father George Brooks Sr. of the gospel group Masonic Kings, and his sister, gospel singer Juanita Brooks. Detroit grew up downriver, living four blocks from Fats Domino, and was greatly influenced by the late Creole banjo and guitar player, Danny Barker. He created a festival in his memory. In addition to his career in music, Detroit worked as a barber and for Amtrak. He's well versed in traditional jazz, R&B, soul, and funk. He's here as bandleader of the Syncopated Percolators at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, playing “Hindustan,” on American Routes Live.
  • Max Baca grew up in New Mexico, playing in his dad’s band from age eight. After mastering bass and accordion, he picked up the bajo sexto, a Mexican twelve-string instrument featured in Tejano music. Max Baca Sr. took regular trips to Texas to introduce his sons to the conjunto scene, pioneered by his favorite accordion player, Narciso Martínez. Brothers Max Jr. and Jimmy channeled the San Antonio sound in forming their own band, Los Hermanos Baca. The Bacas were playing cantinas around New Mexico when Max got the call inviting him to tour with the Texas Tornados. He joined the ranks of his musical idol, Flaco Jiménez, and reconnected with the Texas tradition his father instilled. After Doug Sahm’s death in 1999, Max turned full attention to his own group, Los Texmaniacs. The band’s record Borders y Bailes won the Grammy for best Tejano album in 2010.