american routes shortcuts

American Roots Fourth of July Concert on the National Mall July 4, 1993
National Council for the Traditional Arts

For the 4th of July, we've been digging in the archives for a series of live concerts between 1993-2001 in front of a million people annually on the National Mall from the Washington Monument to the White House fence, and millions more on public radio nationwide. It was the roots of American Routes. 



American Routes Shortcuts: Narvel Felts

Jun 26, 2020
Narvel Felts
American Routes

Singer and guitarist Narvel Felts had 42 singles on the Country Billboard charts in the 1970s and ‘80s, but his roots are in Rockabilly. As a teenager in the 1950s, he had a radio show in Missouri. Later Narvel navigated the early rock and roll music industry, recording at Sun Records, Mercury, and even at Nashville’s famed RCA Victor Studio B. Born in 1938 near Keiser, Arkansas, Narvel Felts grew up the son of sharecroppers, who later moved to Missouri.

American Routes Shortcuts: Fontella Bass

Jun 19, 2020
Fontella Bass
American Routes

On this Juneteenth, we honor the struggle for equality with the sounds of freedom. One singer who heard the sounds of the Civil Rights movement was Fontella Bass from St. Louis. She walked a line between sacred and secular music having sung in churches, traveling shows and blues clubs. “Rescue Me” from 1965 is her best known song. 



Original Pinettes Brass Band
American Routes

This sounds like a typical Sunday afternoon in the Crescent City, before sheltering at home, with the sound of a brass band setting the tempo in Armstrong Park. But on this day, there’s a difference. It’s the Original Pinettes Brass Band, New Orleans’ only female brass band. The Pinettes have been around for well over twenty five years, blazing a hard fought musical trail to put women musicians front and center in a tradition once lead only by men.

American Routes Shortcuts: Carlos Santana

Jun 5, 2020
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.