It’s Halloween… a time of spirit and flesh, tricks and treats. We’ll hear from Houma Indian carver and instrument-maker, Ivy Billiot, about rougarou— or werewolves — and the spirit world. Then Bentonia bluesman Jimmy “Duck” Holmes tells us about the devil in daily life. Also songs about murder and mayhem, and beings from beyond the stars… and beyond the grave. Plus music from Dr. John and Memphis Minnie, Hank Williams and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.
We hit up Preservation Hall in the French Quarter for a potent dose of trad jazz, as bandleader and fourth-generation Creole musician Charlie Gabriel tells of his Caribbean roots, jazz funerals, and New Orleans’ hybrid rhythms. Then we head to the Lonestar state to hear the reworking of jazz into Texas swing, as played by the Quebe Sisters. The fiddling siblings tell of their sheltered upbringing outside Ft. Worth and their fiery baptism into western swing. Plus, we spin other pioneering Creoles — Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, and Fats Domino — and country & western greats from Bob Wills to Willie Nelson.
Music as literature… a concept explored by songwriter, singer and guitarist Laura Cantrell who joins us to talk about her picaresque journey from Nashville to New York. The late writer and cultural critic Nat Hentoff recalls his famous associations from Charles Mingus to Billie Holiday and why Charlie Parker loved country music. Plus Delhi, LA soul man Toussaint McCall talks about the writing of his magnum opus “Nothing Takes the Place of You.” Country, jazz, blues, R&B and more come together for this hardcover edition of American Routes.
New Orleans’ Ponderosa Stomp has presented the “unsung heroes of American music” for well over a decade in blues, soul, country, rockabilly and garage rock. Stomp impresario Dr. Ike shares his memories of pioneering the raucous, eclectic gathering, and we visit with this year’s headliner, R&B guitar-woman— aka the Black Female Elvis—Barbara Lynn from Beaumont, TX. We’ll also hear from previous headliner, Arizona Twangmaster Duane Eddy. We’re spinning tracks from Stomp artists including Gary U.S. Bonds, Lazy Lester and Linda Gail Lewis. In Hour 2, we’ll hear tunes from swamped areas of the Texas Gulf Coast by Stevie Ray Vaughn, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Rodney Crowell, as the region grapples with water as both a source and destroyer of life as we know it.