The sounds may seem old but the songs are not. This week on American Routes we visit with a few musicians who are known for crafting modern country music from old-time inspirations. Gillian Welch and David Rawlings share with us how they fit “an electric peg into an acoustic hole.” Then conversation with Austin’s king of the honky-tonks, Dale Watson, who literally wears his musical inspirations on his sleeve.
This week on American Routes, we travel from the Village to the dancehall. John Sebastian talks about his childhood in Greenwich Village, encounters with blues greats Mississippi John Hurt and Lighting Hopkins, and the musical stew he created with his band The Lovin’ Spoonful. Then, a conversation with Kristi Guillory and Christine Balfa of the Cajun band Bonsoir Catin about carrying on their musical heritage for the next generation.
Elemental blues, jazz and country from two performers with deep roots and cosmic connections. In the ’60s, young Tracy Nelson left the midwest for psychedelic San Francisco to front the R & B rock band, Mother Earth. Now deep in the Tennessee hills, she’s looking back to country sounds. From South Carolina to deep space, guitarist James “Blood” Ulmer takes us on his journey from childhood gospel to free form harmolodic jazz with Ornette Coleman. Blood now brings it all to bear on a brutal, personal version of the blues.
There’s lots to celebrate this 4th of July with American Routes. It’s the 50th anniversary of Arhoolie Records and we’re bringing the party to you. Live in concert from Berkeley, CA, Nick is joined on stage with the pioneering label’s many admirers including Ry Cooder, Taj Mahal, Michael & David Doucet of Beausoleil, New Orleans’ Treme Brass Band and sacred steel masters, the Campbell Brothers. We’ll also chat with Arhoolie’s founder, Chris Strachwitz about his passion for American roots music on record. It’s an event not to be missed!