American Routes

Sundays from 6pm-8pm

American Routes is a weekly two-hour public radio program produced in New Orleans, presenting a broad range of American music — blues and jazz, gospel and soul, old-time country and rockabilly, Cajun and zydeco, Tejano and Latin, roots rock and pop, avant-garde and classical. Now in our 15th year on the air, American Routes explores the shared musical and cultural threads in these American styles and genres of music — and how they are distinguished.

The program also presents documentary features and artist interviews. Our conversations include Willie Nelson, Tom Waits, B.B. King, Dr. John, Dave Brubeck, Abbey Lincoln, Elvis Costello, Ray Charles, Randy Newman, McCoy Tyner, Lucinda Williams, Rufus Thomas, Jerry Lee Lewis and many others. Join us as we ride legendary trains, or visit street parades, instrument-makers, roadside attractions and juke joints, and meet tap dancers, fishermen, fortunetellers and more.

The songs and stories on American Routes describe both the community origins of our music, musicians and cultures — the “roots”— and the many directions they take over time — the “routes.”

Ways to Connect

A Grateful Journey

Sep 11, 2018

A conversation with a man of many talents: songwriter, actor, boxer, military man, among many titles, Kris Kristofferson, reflecting on his life in music, his songwriting craft, and the nature of gratitude for his life’s adventures.

Fellow Travelers

Sep 4, 2018

We’re on the road again, dialed into high-flying honky-tonk as we cruise through Texas cotton patches and Midwestern pastures of plenty. Starting off in Illinois farm country, we meet up with Margo Price, who followed her dreams of songwriting to Nashville, Tennessee. She put her name on the map with songs about growing up in rural America, and has since dug in her heels while singing about a landscape of gender and economic inequities.

Labor Day Live With the Baton Rouge Blues Fest

Aug 28, 2018

The long-running Baton Rouge Blues Festival draws on the Louisiana capital’s definitive musical legacy. This Labor Day, we play live cuts from BRBF’s 2018 festivities: Harmonica man and singer Lazy Lester revisits the R&B singles he released on Excello Records in the ’50s and ’60s. Guitarist Jimmy “Duck” Holmes plays Bentonia-style blues, which he learned growing up in Mississippi around the family juke joint. Cowboy Stew Blues Revue — a supergroup of Lafayette, LA-musicians including blues rocker C.C.

Routes Live!

Aug 21, 2018

Some great live performances in and beyond New Orleans. First, from the cavernous Howlin’ Wolf club in the Warehouse District, The Meters perform a set of their bass-heavy funk blended with R&B and Mardi Gras Indian chants.

New Blues and Bluegrass

Aug 14, 2018

Facing the hot season head on, we hit up juke joints, dancehalls and folk festivals to get our fill of hot licks from blues and bluegrass musicians, oldtimers and newcomers alike. We talk shop with Mississippi Hill Country bluesman Cedric Burnside about playing music alongside his grandfather R.L. Burnside, finding his voice and translating old school sounds for a new generation.

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