It’s time to celebrate the New Year with live music from the French Quarter including the Rebirth Brass Band, jazz with Leroy Jones and Ellis Marsalis, Little Freddie King‘s country blues, funk from Jon Cleary and songs from Charmaine Neville. Start the New Year right with American Routes.
This holiday season, we’re celebrating the 2023 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellows. Each year since 1982, the program has recognized artistic excellence, lifetime achievement, and contributions to the nation’s traditional arts heritage. This year’s fellows include the late hill country blues musician, R.L. Boyce; Suquamish basketmaker, Ed Carriere; African American quilter, Michael Cummings; Tejano musician, Joe DeLeon “Little Joe” Hernandez; Hawaiian Kapa maker, Roen Hufford; wampum and fiber artist, Elizabeth James-Perry; New Mexican sculptor, Luis Tapia; pipa master, Wu Man; and our own American Routes host, Nick Spitzer. Plus a live set from New Orleans’ Treme Brass Band, who received the award in 2006.
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 ’60s hit “Sea Cruise” set the New Orleans R&B scene sailing on the charts.
It’s a sonic map of New Orleans music from the recording studios and nightclubs to jazz parades. Songs about life on Basin Street and Bourbon Street, to Rampart Street and the lady from la rue Dauphine in the voices of Trombone Shorty, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ida Cox and Louis Prima. Then, a live session at Marigny Studios with Creole jazz and soul singer John Boutté who grew up in the Tremé neighborhood in a family of ten kids, where singing was a household and street corner pastime.
Photo by Marc PoKempner