It’s our curated mix of trad and modern jazz, blues, soul and country from Cannonball Adderley and Betty Carter, Guitar Slim and Slim Harpo. We’ll come in out of the blues pouring down like rain and get to the sunny side of the street with Peggy Lee and Benny Goodman, party with Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald; and walk on with Waylon Jennings and Nancy Sinatra. Then a live genre blending, but not bending, set with New Orleans’ trombonist Corey Henry and the Treme Funktet.
We travel from Mississippi juke joints to the streets of the French Quarter to hear from those who record and perform music. Folklorist Bill Ferris recounts his experience documenting blues, gospel, fife & drum music and folk arts in the Mississippi delta and hill country. Ferris recently compiled his recordings in the Voices of Mississippi boxed set. Then, New Orleans’ queen of the clarinet Doreen Ketchens serenades us from her post at Royal and St. Peters Street. Doreen tells how the clarinet brought her from the family’s sweet shop in Treme to a global stage. Plus, hot takes from Hot Tuna, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Lavern Baker and Marvin Gaye.
For St Patrick’s, it’s old and new cultural connections of singers, fiddlers and pickers from Ireland to rural and urban America. Reels and jigs for dancing, jazz takes on Irish tunes and songs about love, immigration and drinking from Hank Locklin, The Clancy Brothers and Louis Armstrong. Then a live set from the 80th National Folk Festival exploring the musical connections of Ireland and Appalachia with Irish musicians John Doyle and Seamus Egan and bluegrassers Rob and Ronnie McCoury.
It’s songs of solace and shelter, hope and joy as we visit with mandolin virtuoso Rhonda Vincent, from Greentop, Missouri, who grew up playing the bluegrass and country music circuit in her family’s bluegrass band and now plays the Grand Ole Opry with her own band, the Rage. Then, Montreal-born, Nashville-based singer, clarinetist and banjo player Allison Russell, on her journey to healing from childhood trauma through travels, words and music. Plus words from Nina Simone, Sister Rosetta Tharp, Lucinda Williams and Johnny Cash.
It’s a sonic map of New Orleans music from the recording studios and nightclubs to jazz parades. Songs about life on Basin Street and Bourbon Street, to Rampart Street and the lady from la rue Dauphine in the voices of Trombone Shorty, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ida Cox and Louis Prima. Then, a live session at Marigny Studios with Creole jazz and soul singer John Boutté who grew up in the Tremé neighborhood in a family of 10 kids, where singing was a household and street corner pastime.
Photo by Marc PoKempner