american routes shortcuts

American Routes Shortcuts: Bernard Fowler

Oct 11, 2019
Bernard Fowler
American Routes

Rolling Stones percussionist and backing singer Bernard Fowler has put a new twist on some of the band’s songs. His album “Inside Out” is a spoken word collection of their lyrics. Bernard has toured and recorded with the band since 1989. He uses a monitor on stage to anticipate Mick Jagger’s vocals. Bernard grew up in New York City’s black and Puerto Rican Queensbridge Projects, surrounded by the city’s soul and salsa sounds. He went on to form the New York Citi Peech Boys, whose dance hits were widely sampled, making Bernard’s voice a soundtrack for many.

American Routes Shortcuts: The Soul Rebels

Oct 4, 2019
The Soul Rebels
James Billeaudeau

This week on American Routes, we’ve got 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 Shortcuts: Carlos Santana

Sep 27, 2019
Carlos Santana
American Routes

Carlos Santana began playing mariachi on violin in the streets of Tijuana, but he was soon drawn to blues musicians: BB King, Jimmy Reed, and John Lee Hooker. At age 8, he switched to guitar and began developing his own sound, incorporating blues, rock, jazz, with Latin and African percussion. His father José Santana, a mariachi violinist, was not pleased, but allowed Carlos to follow his passions.  


Aretha Franklin
American Routes

After Aretha Franklin signed with Atlantic Records in 1967, producer Jerry Wexler brought her to record in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Known for its local recording studios, including FAME and Muscle Shoals Sound, the Tennessee River town produced many hits and allowed the black and white music worlds to coalesce.  In 1967, Aretha recorded her first big hit, “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)” at FAME studios, but all did not go smoothly. Studio guitarist Jimmy Johnson tells the story. 


American Routes Shortcuts: Guilty Pleasures Volume 2

Sep 13, 2019
Guilty Pleasures
American Routes

In 2017, we created a program called “Guilty Pleasures.” Actually here in New Orleans “guilty” is not often used as an adjective for pleasure, but in the rest of America a guilty pleasure is liking something you’re not supposed to like or that’s not cool to like.  That has really never been our philosophy on American Routes. We revel in the freedom to create an eclectic flow in these days of algorithmic radio. For “Guilty Pleasures Vol. 2,” we asked listeners to make suggestions, and then we built segues around them. 

American Routes Shortcuts: Jesse Colin Young

Sep 6, 2019
Jesse Colin Young
American Routes

Jesse Colin Young’s career began in Greenwich Village during the 60’s folk revival. After releasing solo albums, Jesse teamed up with guitarist Jerry Corbitt, keyboardist and guitarist Lowell "Banana" Levinger, and drummer Joe Bauer to form the Youngbloods. Their iconic 1967 hit “Get Together,” originally by Dino Valenti, called for peace and unity. Young moved to the San Francisco area in 1969, but relocated to Hawaii after he lost his house in a fire in 1995. He used music to get through those hard times and suffering from Lyme disease.

American Routes Shortcuts: Earl Barthé

Aug 30, 2019
Earl Barthé
American Routes

This holiday weekend we have live music from the French Quarter Festival as a soundtrack for a break from work. In New Orleans, there has long been a link between the work of building artisans and music. Johnny St. Cyr was a jazz banjo player in Louis Armstrong’s band, The late trumpeter Lionel Ferbos was a tin smith. Mardi Gras Indian Chief Tootie Montana was a lather. R&B piano player Eddie Bo was a carpenter. In 2002 the New Orleans Museum of Art presented “Raised to the Trade,” an exhibition of Creole building arts based on research by the urban studies program at the University of New Orleans. Among the many people interviewed was the late Earl Barthé. Mr. Barthé would go on to receive a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Award in 2005 and appear posthumously in a recent PBS film Good Work

American Routes Shortcuts: Big Jay McNeely

Aug 23, 2019
Big Jay McNeely
American Routes

At the most human scale Los Angeles is defined by the scenes along legendary streets: Sunset Boulevard, Melrose, La Brea, and Central Avenue. Beginning in the 1920s, Central Avenue was the place to hear jazz, later R&B and bebop. For the late tenor sax player Big Jay McNeely, the scene began on Central Avenue.

American Routes Shortcuts: The Coen Brothers

Aug 16, 2019
The Coen Brothers
American Routes

Words like “quirky,” “ironic,” “funny,” and “violent” describe the films of the Coen Brothers. From their first film Blood Simple in 1984 to True Grit in 2010, and then Inside Llewyn Davis and 2018s Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Joel and Ethan Coen have defied expectations, twisted genres, and reworked classic story lines around characters, like the Dude.

American Routes Shortcuts: Marquise Knox

Aug 9, 2019
Marquise Knox
American Routes

This week we’re exploring the sonic hues of the blues in jazz, R & B, country, Cajun and pop. We crash a blues house party and workshop at the 2018 National Folk Festival in Salisbury, Maryland, where we speak with twenty-eight-year-old St. Louis guitarist Marquise Knox. 


Nick Spitzer: I’m Nick Spitzer with American Routes, onstage at the 2018 National Folk Festival in Salisbury, Maryland, where we’re going to speak with the St. Louis guitarist Marquise Knox about how he found the blues.