Take a two-hour trip to Music City, U.S.A. as we hit the high-class and the low-class joints. Nashville has been a hub of playing and recording country music for over 50 years while also generating a steady stream of regional R&B hits. Come backstage at the Grand Ole Opry and meet the people who make it work, from ushers and announcers to long-time cast members Porter Wagoner, Marty Stuart and others. Pop into the venerable Gruhn’s Guitars, grab a bite at the Pancake Pantry and pay respects at country music’s finest final resting place, Spring Hill Cemetery.
Celebrate the 2011 National Heritage Fellows live in concert with American Routes. Nick hosts the evening of music and stories, honoring the nation’s finest practitioners of traditional arts. In this 30th anniversary year of the Fellowship, fellows include Hawaiian slack key guitarist Ledward Kaapana, Piedmont bluesman Warner Williams, Brazilian percussionist Carlinhos Pandeiro de Ouro and Chief Bo Dollis of the Wild Magnolias. Join us this holiday weekend for a music filled night to remember!
This week on American Routes we’re exploring the life of the cowboy. From the Nevada deserts to the swampy forests of Florida, the cowboy is an enduring symbol of American individualism and self-reliance. We’ll visit with several real, working cowboys, including a few who can sing a tune or two. Wylie Gustafson might be better known as the man behind the Yahoo yodel, but we’ll talk ranching and horses, as well as music. Then we’ll visit with Creole cowboy Geno Delafose to learn how he mixes zydeco with cattle raising. Plus a couple of Cracker cowboys share tales of cow-hunting, and lots of music to get you out on the trail.
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.
We’ll sample the sabor latino in American music. Join us for conversation with Los Lobos on their mix of American pop and Mexican traditions. We’ll visit Los Cenzontles, a community arts center in San Francisco dedicated to the teaching of Mexican music, and drop by a Philadelphia radio show spinning salsa hits for the neighborhood. Then, we’ll sit in with pianist and bandleader Oscar Hernandez of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra for some Nuyorican beats and salsa moves. Plus a special performance by San Antonio’s queen of the conjunto accordion, Eva Ybarra.