Tune in for the words and music of two storied artists of the Gulf South. First up, the Empress of Gulf Coast Soul, Barbara Lynn, of Beaumont, Texas. Ms. Lynn recalls her days as the Black Elvis, playing left-handed guitar and penning and recording her own first-person paeans of love lost. Accordion player Belton Richard talks about bringing his mix of Cajun and country to dancehalls across the region, and remembers his swamp pop days with the Musical Aces. Plus two hours of swampy blues, sultry country and more.
It’s a two-hour walk through streets of the city as we dive into two great eras of New Orleans music. First, it’s the 1940s and 50s R&B hit factory with studio man Cosimo Matassa; producer, arranger, trumpet player Dave Bartholomew; drummer Earl Palmer and more. There’s also a chat with The Meters—Art Neville, George Porter, Leo Nocentelli and Zigaboo Modeliste—in which we get to the bottom of the bottom, find out what’s in the pocket and get a definition of funk from the four men who continue to dish it out.
We profile two men that begin in classical and jazz and move in differing directions. Buttressed by a conservatory background, French horn player and composer David Amram moves freely and eclectically across genres of Latin, jazz, folk and classical music. Blind pianist Marcus Roberts speaks about his time spent as protégé of Wynton Marsalis, and looks back over the history of jazz to his touchstones, James P. Johnson, Monk, Jelly Roll Morton and others.
Celebrate the onset of summer and the anniversary of American independence with the four faces of New Orleans’ Mount Rushmore—Art, Aaron, Charles and Cyril—the Neville Brothers. Since 1954, when Brother Art hit with the ultimate carnival classic “Mardi Gras Mambo,” the Nevilles have been on the scene, solo or as a group. We’ll hear their legacy of soul, funk and R&B as the brothers tell us how it all came to pass, and how the legacy lives on in the next generation with Ivan and Ian Neville. Plus we’re off on a summer road trip to sample Ted Drewes’ Frozen Custard Stand on Route 66 in St. Louis and play Drown the Clown at a Massachusetts county fair. All that and a set of summer music from across the great American soundscape that’ll make you stand and salute.