Jazz pianist Jason Moran started out in Houston playing classical music, but found his way to jazz through Thelonious Monk. We’ll learn more about his adventures in the NYC jazz scene. Then a conversation and tour around the piano with Philadelphia cabaret player and creator Heath Allen, plus music from Fats Waller, Jerry Lee Lewis, Herbie Hancock, and Sweet Emma.
For Memorial Day, we’re celebrating the 2022 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellows. Great musicians, storytellers, artisans and advocates, who have received our nation’s highest honor in traditional arts with these new honorees: Richmond gospel family, The Legendary Ingramettes; Navajo Diné weaver and sheep rancher, TahNibaa Naataanii; Washington DC step choreographer, C. Brian Williams; Excelsior Brass Band of Mobile, Alabama; master Hawaiian Hale builder Francis “Palani” Sinenci; Tibetan Opera singer and dancer Tsering Wangmo Satho; Flamenco dancer Eva Encinias; Bluegrass fiddler Michael Cleveland; St. Croix Quelbe flute player and bandleader, Stanley Jacobs; and New Orleans Black-masking craftsman, stilt dancer and musician, Shaka Zulu. Plus music from former fellows Doc Watson, Cedric Burnside, Clifton Chenier, Flaco Jiménez, Andy Statman, Dr. Michael White and Wanda Jackson, among others.
This week on American Routes, we’re sharing some words of wisdom. The late Loretta Lynn blazed a trail through the male-dominated world of country music, bringing her experience as a mother and wife to songwriting and challenging stereotypes along the way. We’ll hear about her journey from the hills of Butcher Hollow to the studios of Music City. Rockabilly guitarist and singer, Bill Kirchen, might be best known for his time in Commander Cody’s band, and his hot licks on “Hot Rod Lincoln.” We’ll learn more about the man called the “Titan of the Telecaster” who won’t be pegged by genres. Then, we’ll stop for a few environmentally sound Cajun tunes and visit with a band of brothers, Les Freres Michot.
We’re going “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans,” as the 1920s Tin Pan Alley pop song had it. It’s one of many songs written about our home place. We’ll hear some of those and go beyond to blues and jazz, roots rock and soul, gospel and country, Tejano, zydeco and swamp pop. We offer a diverse mix with Charlie Pride, Bob Dylan, Dr. John, Adia Victoria, Aretha Franklin and Louis Armstrong, with sounds ranging from critique to guilty pleasures.
Charley Crockett from south Texas has risen to country stardom as a deep-voiced, drifting cowboy blues singer/guitarist with a well-traveled history of playing street corners, subway stops and honky-tonks. Charley talks about how music has sustained him in the rough life of a 21st Century rambler. Then, a family bluegrass band from Southwest Virginia, Springfield Exit-lead by wife and husband Linda and David Lay, who share their stories of growing up with music, starting their own band and farming tomatoes. Plus music from Johnny Cash, the Carter Family, Freddy Fender, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.