15 years ago the levees failed after Hurricane Katrina and covered 80% of New Orleans in water. The Federal flood left a human and ecological disaster in its wake. We take a look back at the catastrophe, recovery and renewed hope for the culture of the Crescent City with Dr. John, Irma Thomas, the Rebirth Brass Band and Allen Toussaint and archival audio from our first broadcast After the Storm in September 2005.
image of Fats Domino’s house in the Lower Ninth Ward, four months after Hurricane Katrina, 2005 by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Jackson, Mississippi blues guitarist Eddie Cotton, Jr. takes time out from his performance at the 2019 National Folk Festival to talk to us about his gospel roots and his mission to bring Mississippi music to the world. Then we sit in on a live set from New Orleans’s Chickie Wah Wah with Texan songman Willis Alan Ramsey. Plus music from Robert Johnson, Lucinda Williams, Sister Rosetta Tharp and Willie Nelson.
This week we visit with two Southern crafters of music and song. Kentucky native and guitarist Joan Shelley takes her ethereal songwriting and voicing of life’s emotional flow from observations on the banks of the Ohio River near Louisville. Then, the virtuosic Blue Ridge pianist Jeff Little shares his stories of growing up playing alongside the legendary flat-pick guitarist Doc Watson at the family’s music store in Boone, North Carolina. It led to a singular career of playing high speed fiddle tunes on the piano. Also music of love, loss, and fast trains with Bill Frisell, Johnny Cash, James Brown, Tom Waits and Elizabeth Cotton.
AMERICAN ROUTES LIVE: CREOLE SONGLINES OF LEYLA MCCALLA AND SAXOPHONIST DONALD HARRISON'S JAZZ JOURNEY
We go live in concert and conversation with two New Orleans artists each of whom bring their family heritage forward into contemporary music. Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Leyla McCalla has called New Orleans home for many years, but her family ties are to Haiti. She draws on French Creole roots for inspiration, as well as from the poetry of Langston Hughes. Then jazz saxophonist Big Chief Donald Harrison, whose musical journey includes time in New York with drummer Art Blakey’s band, talks about “Afro-New Orleans culture” and demonstrates how to bring soul, funk, and Black carnival traditions into modern jazz.