We recall two grand figures of New Orleans music beginning with Ernie K-Doe, the surreal soul man of catchy songs, and flamboyant antics in New Orleans R&B, from his hit “Mother-in-Law” to the “Burn K-Doe Burn” approach to his local radio show and serving as host and main attraction of his and wife Antoinette’s Mother-in-Law Lounge. Ben Sandmel who wrote Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans joins the carnivalesque conversation. Then a piano tribute to Professor Longhair by Dr. John, Jon Cleary and George Porter Jr.
We’ll re-visit the moment when the “California long-hairs” took over a Nashville studio to pay tribute to aging country heroes. American Routes look back at the 1972 LP Will The Circle Be Unbroken with John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and his memories of those historic sessions. Then, a conversation with another musician familiar with Nashville – jazz vibraphone master Gary Burton. Plus a visit with Jake Shimabukuro, for whom any genre is a fine match for the ukelele.
Singer-songwriter Iris DeMent returns to the landscape and soundscape of her youth, the Arkansas Delta. We’ll speak with Iris about her musical homecoming, and listen in on an exclusive solo piano performance of her most recent songs. Then we catch up with the Lafayette punk and rockabilly-inflected Cajun band, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, fronted by brothers Andre and Louis Michot, who can count Gordon Gano (of the Violent Femmes) as a collaborator and fan.
Follow American Routes as we travel the back roads for some new Southern sounds. The Drive-By Truckers have been up and down the highways since the mid-90s, delivering their unique mix of old-fashioned storytelling and rock ‘n’ roll, between stops in their hometowns of Muscle Shoals, AL and Athens, GA. We sit down with the band in uptown New Orleans to learn more about their journey in music. Then we head backatown to catch up with New Orleans’ own Troy Andrews, a.k.a. Trombone Shorty, to hear about how he mixes trad jazz, rock and soul to create ‘Superfunkrock.’
Meet two piano professors from the South with two differing styles. First up, from Macon, GA, Chuck Leavell has played in a few of rock’s most iconic bands, from the Allman Brothers to the Rolling Stones. And while piano might be his day job, he’s also a keeper of a Georgia forest and an honorary forest ranger! We talk to Chuck about his love of the keys and the trees. Then, it’s a lesson in New Orleans funk a la keyboard with Jon Cleary, who breaks down the elements and reveals the Latin tinge to New Orleans piano favorites.