American Routes takes a trip through the music of the Yellowhammer State—Alabama. Visit the Muscle Shoals Sound studio and find out what’s in the water around “the Shoals” to make it a historic hotbed for R&B hits by Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and more. Also, a trip through Hank Williams’ childhood home in Georgiana, and W.C. Handy Music Festival in Florence. And music from Shelby Lynne, the Birmingham Sunlights and the Delmore Brothers.
This week on American Routes, we bring you music from the festival stage and the clubs of South Louisiana. We visit some of our favorite nighttime musical haunts in New Orleans and spend time with guitar man Ernie Vincent and jazz historian Bruce Raeburn. Then, allons a Lafayette for the Festivals Acadiens et Creoles, south Louisiana’s annual celebration of Cajun and Creole music, food and culture. We’ll hear classic performances from the early days of the festival, talk with founder and scholar Barry Ancelet and sample some of the sights and sounds from the festival grounds.
We’re rocking and rolling with two icons of ’60s pop. First, it’s the voice behind some of the most well-known songs from the girl group era: La La Brooks, of the Crystals. La La sang the lead on the classic hit “Da Doo Ron Ron” when she was just a teenager! She shares stories of her time singing for Phil Spector, and starring on Broadway. We’ll also visit with Gretna, Louisiana’s Frankie Ford, whose early ’60’s hit “Sea Cruise” set the New Orleans R&B scene sailing on the charts.
Tune in and pay witness to over 150 years of guitar experience between this week’s nonagenarian guests. Les Paul, the Wizard of Waukesha, talks about his leap from taking up the instrument to inventing the guitar heard ‘round the world that bears his name. And Delta guitarist and walking blues encyclopedia Honeyboy Edwards comes by our studio and remembers Robert Johnson, the 1927 flood and recording for Alan Lomax along the way.