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Who better to supply an all-American 4th of July soundtrack than our humble citizen selves? This year, we’ll meet two soulful gentlemen who could only have come from the good ol’ USA. Smokey Robinson talks about his voice and his timeless Motown singles with the Miracles, as well as the songs he wrote and produced for others: like “My Guy” for Mary Wells and the Temptations’ “My Girl.” And meet Mr. Wiggles, the king of Richmond, Virginia’s “Fatback Sound.” Also craftsman Charles Gillam who carves blues history out of Mississippi River driftwood. It’s a red, white, and blues Independence Day… may the Fourth be with you!


Get out of your late August funk by hearing some cool blues live in the studio with Mississippi’s Big Jack Johnson on guitar. And keep cool in conversation with elder dudes of the California surf scene regarding the aesthetics of their sport and the music that goes with it. Also shark tales from Belize’s reef islands, and songs that keep an ear on summer.


This week we look how music is enshrined at three spots around the country. In Memphis, the Stax Records Museum has opened last spring and we’ll hear stories from artists on the label like Isaac Hayes, the Bar-Kays, the Memphis Horns, and Rufus Thomas. Then we’ll head west and visit the massive Experience Music Project in Seattle with its high-tech focus on rock and roll. Finally, Peggy Bulger of the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center tells us about their Save the Sounds project – preserving 50 of the most important recordings ever made.


Come along for a jaunt around New Orleans, as we visit some great nightclubs and tune in to some live local music. Celebrate 25 years of the legendary Tipitina’s, an Uptown institution that showcased homegrown talent like Professor Longhair, James Booker, Dr. John, and the Neville Brothers. Then head over to Donna’s Bar & Grille in the French Quarter, where clarinetist Evan Christopher and piano player Tom McDermott are making waves with their unique blend of New Orleans, Caribbean, and classical music. Plus a recipe for classic New Orleans cocktail, the Sazerac, and music for late night parties and hangover mornings.


American Routes settles back into the groove with the mellow music and words of our guest Lazy Lester: a hardworking bluesman from Louisiana’s provincial capitol of Baton Rouge. Then a tour of the world of African and African-American music from Morocco to Brooklyn with jazz pianist Randy Weston. Plus, author Jason Berry on the transformation of New Orleans’ Congo Square from a historical trading post to a center for emerging jazz artists.