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This American Routes takes a look at the two-way musical influence between the Caribbean and Latin America and the U.S. Plus we’ll examine the role of the violin, and fiddle, in jazz, blues, country and other genres. In hour one, Cuban vocalist and Buena Vista Social Club star Ibrahim Ferrer recalls his long life and career as a guarachero and bolerista. Jazz violinist Regina Carter joins us in hour two and talks about going from Detroit to the conservatory and back again. And there’s great music including Fats Domino, Celia Cruz, The Band and much more.


This week one of America’s great traveling troubadors Willie Nelson pulls his tour bus into New Orleans. Willie chats and the Nelson family band plays a live set, including the old favorite, Angel Flying too Close to the Ground and the title track of his 2000 record, Milk Cow Blues. Also, we pay tribute to the late Piedmont bluesman John Jackson who played his brand of country blues from the Eastern Seaboard.


American Routes belts it out in celebration of big voices. We’ll sample three from across the musical board: the eerie smoothness of Little Jimmy Scott, an 79-year-old jazz singer who’s recently been rediscovered; the crooning of country star Ray Price; and the gritty shout of Chicago blueswoman Koko Taylor.


Our Easter/Passover show, as Nick Spitzer talks to the one and only Rev. Al Green about growing up in rural Arkansas and how soul music leads to saving souls—including his own. Plus nouveau klezmer musician Steven Bernstein on jazz and Jewish tradition swinging together. Also we explore Pagan, Deep South, cowboy and cartoon versions of the Easter bunny and kin. Plus seasonal music from Irving Berlin, Fats Domino, Gene Autry and Cassandra Wilson.