Singer Mavis Staples grew up singing blues-inflected gospel with her family in Chicago, lead by her father Pops Staples’s distinctive voice and guitar style. Their sound transcended the local scene, translating the message of the Civil Rights movement into song. We’ll talk with Mavis about her latest efforts with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. Then, we’ll sit in while jazz songsmith Bob Dorough spins stories of the 1950s jazz world and takes us back to Schoolhouse Rock to share his thoughts on the magical properties of the number 3.
Easter weekend is a time for reflection and family, and our guests certainly fit the bill. Donald Harrison, Jr. is a saxophone player and New Orleans native now based in New York. His work has long echoed strains of Mardi Gras Indian chants and street beats… not surprisingly, as his late father was Big Chief of the Guardians of the Flame. Wendell and Sherman Holmes, plus longtime friend Popsy Dixon, make up the Holmes Brothers, a vocal group best known for putting their personal stamp on blues, gospel, country, pop and more. The brothers join us to talk about the transition from Christ Church, Virginia to New York and back again to home and family.
Whether you’re spinning 45s, 78s, or LPs, you’ll discover gold in the vinyl this week on American Routes. We check in with the record label dedicated to resurrecting lost sounds for the digital age, Dust to Digital. For some soul sides, we hear from Gabriel Roth, founder of Daptone Records, who’s re-imaging classic soul with the band Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. We’ll also talk to the man who got the Bossa Nova on record and started the Impulse label, jazz producer Creed Taylor. Then it’s off to Ville Platte for a conversation with Cajun recordman Floyd Soileau of Swallow Records. Plus tunes to get the jukebox shaking!
This week on American Routes, we’re roaming the highways, byways and crossroads of the Magnolia State, looking for all kinds of blues. We sit down with noted blues scholar Bill Ferris to talk about his lifelong obsession with the music of his home state, and visit with Delta piano blues chanteuse Eden Brent to learn about her music mentor Boogaloo Ames. We set out north for Holly Springs and some Hill Country family jams. Then we head towards home to hang out at Teddy’s Juke Joint, and catch up with the master of the gut-bucket blues, Little Freddie King.