For this special American Routes program, we follow the lives of two giants of jazz: Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. From their humble North Carolina beginnings to their triumphs on the world stage, we’ll trace their individual and inspired paths to creativity. And we’ll visit with the musicians who played with the greats, including McCoy Tyner and Pharoah Sanders, and the next generation, TS Monk and Ravi Coltrane.
This week we toe, walk and cross the blurry line between country and blues, as performed by both black and white artists. Guests include white blues harmonica player, Charlie Musselwhite, who tells us about his lifetime journey from Mississippi to Memphis to Chicago to California; and Charley Pride talks about his upbringing in Sledge, Mississippi, his baseball career, and being an African-American country singer with 29 number one hits to his name. Plus bluesy-country and country blues from Hank Williams, Howlin’ Wolf, Aretha Franklin and more.
We’ll talk with a pair of musical couples, to learn the secrets of sharing the spotlight and making beautiful music together. Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion are folk musicians who met in the alt-country scene in LA. Today, with two daughters and a successful career sharing the stage, they sing for families and clubs around the country. Leroy Jones is a trumpet player from New Orleans and his wife, Katja Toivola is a trombone player from Finland. We’ll visit their home in the Treme to find out more about their love of bringing New Orleans jazz to world.
Follow American Routes as we travel the back roads for some new Southern sounds. The Drive-By Truckers have been up and down the highways since the mid-90s, delivering their unique mix of old-fashioned storytelling and rock ‘n’ roll, between stops in their hometowns of Muscle Shoals, AL and Athens, GA. We sit down with the band in uptown New Orleans to learn more about their journey in music. Then we head backatown to catch up with New Orleans’ own Troy Andrews, a.k.a. Trombone Shorty, to hear about how he mixes trad jazz, rock and soul to create ‘Superfunkrock.’