Classic interviews and music from Memphis’ Sun Records late founder Sam Phillips, Elvis Presley sidemen DJ Fontana and Scotty Moore, and Jerry Lee Lewis on the mysteries of rock n roll royalty. Sun Records memoirist Barbara Sims is our palace guide. The late Rufus Thomas talks funky and fried chicken. Then it’s on to a Muscle Shoals conversation with the downhome, soul siren Candi Staton.
Sacred steel guitarist Robert Randolph has gathered together the leading players of the genre for a recent recording, paying tribute to the past, and covering tunes outside the cannon. We’ll speak with him and one of his fellow Slide Brothers, Calvin Cooke. Then a conversation with jazz adventurist Yusef Lateef about his musical mentors and inspirations.
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.
Have you ever sailed the Mississippi on a riverboat? Heard a calliope bounce notes off a barge? Caught the freight train boogie? This week on American Routes, we’re riding the rails and sailing sails with words and music dedicated to two old forms of transport. We’ll visit with Captain Doc Hawley, a calliope player on the “Natchez” in New Orleans to find out what it takes to make a boat sing. And a conversation with singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle, who knows a thing or two about trains. Plus music about rivers, railcars and riding around.