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American Routes tests your resolve with music about food, drink and the good life, as well as songs that ask us to keep our promises to ourselves and one another. Tempting visits with some of New Orleans great cooks from Commander’s Palace restaurant to Tee Eva’s Praline Shop. Artists featured for their topical tunes include Cab Calloway, Otis Redding and Southern Culture on the Skids.


Christmas comes but once a year! American Routes digs into a bag of sound that’s been a year in the filling to bring you Christmas and seasonal music of the up, down, and off beat variety we hope you’ve come to count on from (not) Saint Nick and the crew. Plus Chuck Siler, a museum curator and visual artist, tells us about his experience as a black Santa in 1968. Keep a cool Yule.


Scanning the dial in search of great voices, characters and shows that grace the airwaves locally and nationwide, today and yesterday. Included are an old-time country station based in a Mt. Airy, North Carolina log cabin, sounds from the US-Mexican Border, the mellow grit of New Orleans R & B, and Rev. Isiah’s “spiritual workshop” from Jackson, MS.


Jelly Roll Morton, the New Orleans pianist, composer, raconteur and the self-proclaimed “inventor of jazz,” is featured through original Library of Congress music and oral history sessions, and interviews with jazz scholar Dan Morgenstern. Pervasive influence of Morton’s music includes the swing-era sounds of Benny Goodman to recent revivals by Dr. Michael White and Wynton Marsalis.