The American folk music revival that grew from the Post-WWII era to the Sixties was about more than just music: it wrapped in political activism, romantic visions of the self and the “folk,” group “sing-a-longs,” “hootenannies” and careers of singer-songwriters. We interview folk heroine Judy Collins about her move from traditional British folk songs to the new songs and sounds in Greenwich Village. Jug bandleader Jim Kweskin talks about his love of communal living. The late Pete Seeger and Alan Lomax offer opinions on their divergent views of folk music and the quest for authenticity. Jerry Garcia tells of his most influential folk music source and we’ll hear Dylan go electric at Newport in 1965. Rhiannon Giddens talks about bringing back the peoples’ music of another era today.
We’re celebrating Arhoolie Records, the Berkeley, CA based record company devoted to roots music: blues and jazz, Mexican and Cajun, gospel and country. Join us for a live concert, from the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, with the pioneering label’s many admirers including Ry Cooder, Taj Mahal, Michael & David Doucet of Beausoleil, New Orleans’ Treme Brass Band and sacred steel masters, the Campbell Brothers. We’ll also chat with Arhoolie’s founder, Chris Strachwitz about his passion for American roots music on record.
American Routes cruises the musical map of Detroit, catching the sights and sounds of the Motor City. From Hamtramck to Dearborn, we’ll meet the proud people who made the cars and played the bars. Jazz modernist Yusef Lateeftells of his time on the assembly line. Smokey Robinson talks about growing up with Motown’s future stars. We’ll learn how to construct a hit record from Motown studio insiders, then visit a raccoon hunters club, known for bluegrass jams. Plus rockabilly stars, dream cars and polka bands… all from Detroit.
New Orleans’ own Basin Street Records is a homegrown record label featuring superstars of the local sound like the Rebirth Brass Band, Davell Crawford, Jason Marsalis and Kermit Ruffins. The label got its start with a live recording of Kermit’s band at the Uptown club Tipitina’s in 1997. Now, over two decades later and several Grammy Awards under its belt, Basin Street Records still holds true to the sounds of New Orleans. We talk with Basin Street founder Mark Samuels about the label’s history. We listen in on the artists who call it home, including Jon Cleary, whose “Quarantini Sessions” streamed live from his Funk Headquarters in the 9th Ward and helped us get through these challenging times. Then, a live concert and conversation with Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers from Esplanade Studios in the Historic Treme neighborhood of New Orleans.