It’s a two-hour tribute in song and story to the Man in Black. We’ll hear from his family, friends and associates on the contradictions—preacher, outlaw, loving family man, rockabilly rebel—that made the man. Voices include Rosanne Cash; son John Carter Cash; sister Joanne Yates; bassist and original member of the Tennessee Two Marshall Grant; guitarist Johnny Western; producer Rick Rubin; long-time manager Lou Robin; writer and critic Michael Streissguth; and, of course, Johnny Cash.
We’ll sample the sabor latino in American music. Join us for conversation with Los Lobos on their mix of American pop and Mexican traditions. We’ll visit Los Cenzontles, a community arts center in San Francisco dedicated to the teaching of Mexican music, and drop by a Philadelphia radio show spinning salsa hits for the neighborhood. Then, we’ll sit in with pianist and bandleader Oscar Hernandez of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra for some Nuyorican beats and salsa moves. Plus a special performance by San Antonio’s queen of the conjunto accordion, Eva Ybarra.
This week on American Routes, we’re keeping the beat with drummers and rhythm makers across the genres: everyone from Sun Records’ Rockabilly drummer JM Van Eaton, to jazz percussionist Ben Riley, who had to keep up with the unconventional rhythms of Thelonious Monk. In between, we listen live in-studio to New Orleans’ King of Treme, Shannon Powell, whose music takes us from the church to the streets and beyond.
A conversation with a man of many talents: songwriter, actor, boxer, military man, among many titles, Kris Kristofferson, reflecting on his life in music, his songwriting craft, and the nature of gratitude for his life’s adventures.
We’re on the road again, dialed into high-flying honky-tonk as we cruise through Texas cotton patches and Midwestern pastures of plenty. Starting off in Illinois farm country, we meet up with Margo Price, who followed her dreams of songwriting to Nashville, Tennessee. She put her name on the map with songs about growing up in rural America, and has since dug in her heels while singing about a landscape of gender and economic inequities.
The long-running Baton Rouge Blues Festival draws on the Louisiana capital’s definitive musical legacy. This Labor Day, we play live cuts from BRBF’s 2018 festivities: Harmonica man and singer Lazy Lester revisits the R&B singles he released on Excello Records in the ’50s and ’60s. Guitarist Jimmy “Duck” Holmes plays Bentonia-style blues, which he learned growing up in Mississippi around the family juke joint. Cowboy Stew Blues Revue — a supergroup of Lafayette, LA-musicians including blues rocker C.C.
Some great live performances in and beyond New Orleans. First, from the cavernous Howlin’ Wolf club in the Warehouse District, The Meters perform a set of their bass-heavy funk blended with R&B and Mardi Gras Indian chants.
Facing the hot season head on, we hit up juke joints, dancehalls and folk festivals to get our fill of hot licks from blues and bluegrass musicians, oldtimers and newcomers alike. We talk shop with Mississippi Hill Country bluesman Cedric Burnside about playing music alongside his grandfather R.L. Burnside, finding his voice and translating old school sounds for a new generation.