Singer Tanya Tucker got her start as a very young singer in Nashville. At age 13, she had her first hit with “Delta Dawn.” Since then, she’s seen a lot of the world of Country Music but still kept her landmark sound. We’ll talk about her recent Grammy winning record and her love of cutting horses in the Desert West. Then the King of Swamp Pop, Warren Storm brings us back to Louisiana where he’s taking the world by storm with a new recording of classic songs.
New Orleans’ own Basin Street Records is a homegrown record label featuring superstars of the local sound like the Rebirth Brass Band, Davell Crawford, Jason Marsalis and Kermit Ruffins. The label got its start with a live recording of Kermit’s band at the Uptown club Tipitina’s in 1997. Now, over two decades later and several Grammy Awards under its belt, Basin Street Records still holds true to the sounds of New Orleans. We talk with Basin Street founder Mark Samuels about the label’s history. We listen in on the artists that call it home, including Jon Cleary, whose “Quarantini Sessions” streaming live from his Funk Headquarters in the 9th Ward are helping us get through these challenging times. Then, a live concert and conversation with Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers from Esplanade Studios in the Historic Treme neighborhood of New Orleans.
This week, we celebrate the cultural minglings in New Orleans with a visit to the 2019 French Quarter Festival: a free, homegrown, four-day annual event featuring a vast array of local music presented on stages throughout the city’s oldest neighborhood. We’ll hear from Soul Queen Irma Thomas, the late piano patriarch Ellis Marsalis, and the Preservation Hall Brass Band. We’ll also catch the French-Creole jazz of Don Vappie and Evan Christopher, Cajun dance music from Bruce Daigrepont, vaudeville and gospel from Topsy Chapman and Solid Harmony, Klezmer-funk fusion from the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars and traditional jazz from Dejan’s Olympia Brass Band. The Festival plans its return for April 2021.
Photo by Zack Smith Photography, Courtesy of French Quarter Festivals, Inc.
We travel to Jamaica and Cuba, with connections in NY and New Orleans. Singer Jimmy Cliff is the global reggae star whose career was launched a half century ago by the iconic film and sound track, The Harder They Come. We talk with him about his start in the early days of Jamaican recorded music and his work to make the world a better place for everyone. Then Bandleader and pianist Arturo O’Farrill shares his family heritage in Afro-Latin jazz and a recent project playing music of all kinds on the US side of the Mexican border at the Fandango at the Wall. Plus music from around the Caribbean and Gulf South with Toots and the Maytals, Machito and Big Chief Donald Harrison Jr.
It’s Fourth of July, and we dig into the archives for the roots of American Routes. It all began with a series of Independence Day concerts held annually at the Washington Monument before the fireworks show on the National Mall and featured the best of American vernacular musical culture. We’ll sample from nearly a decades worth of concerts, highlighting spectacular stage performances by the Staple Singers, Tito Puente, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, New Orleans Tuxedo Brass and more. It’s Musical Stars & Cultural Stripes: American Roots Independence Day Revisited.