american routes shortcuts

American Routes Shortcuts: John Mayall

Dec 6, 2019
John Mayall
David Gomez

John Mayall and his band the Bluesbreakers pioneered British blues rock, introducing it to a larger audience. They included musicians who went on to join legendary bands like Cream, Fleetwood Mac, and the Rolling Stones. Mayall moved to the states in 1968, and today has a discography of 70 studio and live albums. At 86, John still tours widely and comes home to his favorite climate and way of life in Los Angeles, but it was in Macclesfield, Cheshire where he first heard the blues. 


Josephine Lobato
American Routes

This week on American Routes we're celebrating the National Heritage Fellows, past and present. It’s our annual tribute to great traditional artists, musicians, storytellers, and craftspersons, who have been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts since 1982. 


Nick Spitzer: Grant Bulltail, a 2019 Heritage Fellow is a native of Crow Agency, Montana, and comes from a family of storytellers who held the history of the Apsáalooke people. Grant spoke of his path in storytelling and sustaining his family’s traditions. 

American Routes Shortcuts: Robert Finley

Nov 22, 2019
Robert Finley and Dan Auerbach
American Routes

In his mid-sixties, Robert Finley is finally getting his due. After serving in an Army band, working as a carpenter, and busking, Robert’s talents were discovered in 2015 by Music Maker Relief Foundation. He released a debut album, “Age Don’t Mean a Thing.” Robert later connected with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, who produced the next one, “Goin’ Platinum.” Robert Finley took us back to his youth in Winnsboro, Louisiana. 


American Routes Shortcuts: Joan Shelley

Nov 15, 2019
Joan Shelley
American Routes

Songwriter and singer Joan Shelley prefers to make music in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky rather than the industry centers of Nashville and New York City. She’s recorded a series of well-crafted contemplative albums with guitarist Nathan Salsburg at home in Louisville, at Jeff Tweedy’s Loft in Chicago, and even in Iceland. You’ll find references to rivers, waterways, and oceans in her songs and albums. We began asking her what the Ohio River means to her. 


American Routes Shortcuts: Duane Eddy

Nov 8, 2019
Duane Eddy
American Routes

Twang master Duane Eddy was a teenager in Arizona when he began sneaking into clubs and backing up local country bands. He soon stepped to the front of the stage with his twangy riffs, evoking images of a car racing across the desert on forty miles of bad road, or the noir TV soundtrack, Peter Gunn. Surf guitar players in California took a cue from Eddy, and players from BB King to George Harrison have sung his praises. 


American Routes Shortcuts: Supaman

Nov 1, 2019
American Routes

Christian Parish Takes the Gun, also known as Supaman, is an Apsáalooke rapper from Crow Agency, Montana. Supaman grew up in and out of foster care with alcoholic parents. He turned to hip-hop to escape from struggles he faced on the reservation. His music draws on a connection from urban style and words to cultural and spiritual life as a Native American. Supaman preserves his culture with his music and fancy dancing to express himself and uplift those around him. 


American Routes Shortcuts: Shannon and the Clams

Oct 25, 2019
Shannon and the Clams
American Routes

After meeting in the Bay Area a decade ago, Shannon Shaw and Cody Blanchard began brewing up the Doo-Wop meets punk sound of Shannon & the Clams. Their love of pulpy horror and sci-fi books, John Waters movies and teenage torch songs of the ’60s folds into a musical persona that is visually and sonically rich. The band recently teamed with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys who produced their fifth album, Onion. Shannon tells of growing up Mormon in rural California and finding an escape in music.


American Routes Shortcuts: Ben Jaffe

Oct 18, 2019
Ben Jaffe
American Routes

Ben Jaffe grew up in Preservation Hall, surrounded by jazz legends, immersed in the musical traditions his parents fought to preserve. He marched in Mardi Gras parades and jazz funerals, and toured the country with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, honing his chops as a bass and tuba player. After earning a music degree from Oberlin, Ben moved home to manage the hall. He is now creative director and has opened Preservation Hall to other styles of music. 


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.