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Singing cabdrivers, banging on a can, subway bluesmen and more. Take a musical tour of the city that never sleeps, from Klezmer to Latin rhythms, from Broadway to the atmospheric avant-garde.


True believers in country music and the blues: Grammy-winning, God-fearing man of song Ricky Skaggs talks about his music, specifically his devotion to bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe. Plus, who is Louisiana Red? Iverson Minter is the name on his Mississippi birth certificate; “Red” came with a notorious love of New Orleans hot sauce; and his sound was formed while working in the Pittsburgh steel mills. Just as Ricky Skaggs sees his music as an expression of spirituality, Louisiana Red infuses his blues with messages of labor protest and Civil Rights.


Celebrate epic moments in American music from the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals—from Duke Ellington’s 1956 comeback to Bob Dylan’s 1965 electric revolution. Mark the 50th anniversary of the Jazz Festival with performances by Ray Charles, Mahalia Jackson, Louis Armstrong, and a visit from trumpet legend Clark Terry, who played with Ellington in ’56. Festival founder George Wein also joins us to share his memories, such as the founding of the Folk Festival in 1959 that featured blues, gospel, country, Cajun and more; and folk singer Joan Baez recalls her Newport experiences. Plus Newport performances from Doc Watson, John Lee Hooker and others.


We pay tribute to the late guitarist Jerry Garcia who passed away 9 years ago this month with a historic interview with Garcia from his 1989 visit to the Smithsonian Institution. Roots and branches of the Grateful Dead’s sound take center stage in this mid-summer celebration in music and memory.