Join us and cruise the Gulf Coast Highway with Deep South singer, songwriter Lucinda Williams as she talks about her connection with traditional music, her writing style and sense of place. Plus, Lafayette, Louisiana R&B chanteuse and pianist Carol Fran comes by the studio for conversation and a special live set. There’s also great music from Johnny Cash, Cassandra Wilson, and Gatemouth Brown.
This week on American Routes, we cue the music and dim the lights for great music moments in film. We’ll sit down with Joel and Ethan Coen, writers/directors of such iconic films as “True Grit,” “O Brother Where Art Thou?” and “The Big Lebowski” and discover the magical role of music in their movies. Then, conversation with cinema-verite masters D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, who’ll detail the craft of their ‘glorified home movies’ such as Dylan’s “Dont Look Back” and “The War Room,” and their latest feature “Kings of Pastry.” Plus, clips from films we love, and songs that make the silver screen shimmer.
We’re hitting the streets this week to celebrate – what else? – Mardi Gras! We’ll meet parade float builders, visit the Backstreet Cultural Museum in Treme, discover a skull and bone gang and baby dolls, follow Mardi Gras Indians and learn why flamingos flock to Baton Rouge this time of year.
Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock joins us to talk about keeping his hardcore jazz credentials while breaking the pop barrier with “Watermelon Man.” Hancock recalls famous associations with Miles and more, including those on his River: the Joni Letters, a collection of Joni Mitchell tunes. Plus 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.
We’ll spend time with two eclectic NYC-based musicians who mix up country with jazz and other traditions. Multi-instrumentalist Andy Statman comes from a family steeped in Jewish musical traditions, but got the bluegrass bug playing with David Grisman and Tony Trischka. We’ll talk about his explorations of bluegrass, klezmer, free jazz and now duets with tea kettles. Then singer and pianist Norah Jones, known for her own personal stamp on jazz, shares the country side of life in her recent work with The Little Willies. Plus lots of “citified” country songs and downhome urban tunes.