The sounds may seem old but the songs are not. This week on American Routes we visit with a few musicians who are known for crafting modern country music from old-time inspirations. Gillian Welch and David Rawlings share with us how they fit “an electric peg into an acoustic hole.” Then conversation with Austin’s king of the honky-tonks, Dale Watson, who literally wears his musical inspirations on his sleeve.
It’s a blues and country showdown on American Routes with two instrumental showmen. Jerry Douglas is a master of the dobro, and a favorite session man and band member for so many musicians: from Allison Krauss to Elvis Costello. We’ll talk to Jerry about his recent project, which leads him beyond bluegrass to New Orleans. Then, a visit with the acrobatic bluesman Guitar Shorty, who shares some history on his times traveling the Chitlin Circuit.
We’re rocking and rolling with two icons of 60s pop. First, it’s the voice behind some of the most well-known songs from the girl group era: La La Brooks, of the Crystals. La La sang the lead on the classic hit “Da Doo Ron Ron” when she was just a teenager! She shares stories of her time singing for Phil Spector, and starring on Broadway. We’ll also visit with Gretna, Louisiana’s Frankie Ford, whose early 60’s hit “Sea Cruise” set the New Orleans R&B scene sailing on the charts.
Join American Routes for two hours of wry humor, outlandish puns and gonzo attitude when we sit down with two high-flying musicians: Dan Hicks and Commander Cody. Mr. Hicks spins tales of sartorial genius and fine times in the ’60s as a ragtime-country-cowboy-jazz musician in San Francisco. And direct from the Adirondacks, we’ll spend time with the artist and bandleader Commander Cody to hear about his musical travels and travails with the Lost Planet Airmen, across the country and through space with stops in Texas, of course.