This week we start with a tour of the Lewis Family Museum and liquor store in Ferriday, LA, where Jerry Lee Lewis’ sister Frankie Jean shows us around the home where they grew up. Then we visit with the mayor of Ferriday and the people of club/hotel/bus depot/post office Haney’s Big House. Across the river in Natchez, MS, bluesman Hezekiah Early looks back on playing in Haney’s house band. We end in New Orleans, where we talk with Treme Brass Band’s leader and snare drummer Benny Jones and bass drummer Joe Lastie about their late drummer and friend Uncle Lionel Batiste.
We’ll re-visit the moment when the “California long-hairs” took over a Nashville studio to pay tribute to aging country heroes. A look back at the 1972 LP Will The Circle Be Unbroken with John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and his memories of those historic sessions. Then, a conversation with another musician familiar with Nashville, jazz vibraphone master Gary Burton. Plus a visit with Jake Shimabukuro, for whom any genre is a fine match for the ukelele.
For our annual pre-Lenten bacchanal, we bring you classic Mardi Gras songs from the Crescent City and beyond. We begin by revisiting our classic interview with Bo Dollis, the recently passed Big Chief of the Wild Magnolias. Then we travel to Nice, France – grand city on the Cote d’Azure – for a float parade that parodies American fast food assembly lines and French political scandals as stinky as local cheese; From there, on to the vintners village of Limoux, where free glasses of blanchette are never empty. We end our journey in Coney Island NY, where we hear of carnivalesque revelry at America’s great amusement park by the sea and walk with the fishes in the Mermaid Parade.
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.