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.
The Houston-born singer/songwriter Rodney Crowell talks about growing up on the rough side of town with the ghost of Hank Williams as a “family member,” as well writing songs for his recent duet partner Emmylou Harris. He also wrote for many of the country heavy weights from Jerry Reed to Guy Clark and Bob Seeger, and was also the antagonist in Rosanne Cash’s signature tune “Seven Year Ache.” Then we’ll sit down live in a rare visit to Nashville with the Crescent City’s Nite Tripper himself Dr. John, who reminisces about and demonstrates his early days at the piano and on a music industry “spying mission” that could only happen in New Orleans.
We’ll sample the sabor latino in American music. Join us for conversation with Los Lobos on their mix of American pop and Mexican traditions. We’ll visit Los Cenzontles, a community arts center in San Francisco dedicated to the teaching of Mexican music, and drop by a Philadelphia radio show spinning salsa hits for the neighborhood. Then, we’ll sit in with pianist and bandleader Oscar Hernandez of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra for some Nuyorican beats and salsa moves. Plus a special performance by San Antonio’s queen of the conjunto accordion, Eva Ybarra.
What’s in a name? Listen in and you’ll find out why Emmett Ellis Jr. became the bluesman Bobby Rush; how folks get names like Topsy (Chapman), Sherman & Wendell (Holmes); and how country singer George Jones became known as “the Possum.” Also, we talk to Yale anthropologist David Watts about names of non-human primates.
Music made by couples, families and siblings often has a special quality. The same is true of people who have a musical attraction to one another: Lennon and McCartney, or Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. Country traditionalist and mandolin player Marty Stuart was 12 years old when he met country chanteuse Connie Smith at a road show in his native Mississippi. Decades later Marty and Connie were married. They talk about their spring-fall relationship and making music together as “old souls.” We’ll talk to Joan Baez about writing for Bob Dylan and her singing his songs. Plus the Black Keys tell us how they teamed up, as did real brothers Trombone Shorty and James Andrews. We’ll also hear from the Cajun married duo of Marc and Ann Savoy.