New season, new music in the air! In addition to a lively spring mix of music, we’ll bring you the sounds of the birds in Belize, the bees in urban New Orleans… and the man who sings like a frog. New Orleans R&B star Clarence “Frogman” Henry tells us about his amphibious voice, his collection of frogs, and hanging out with the Beatles on tour in ’64.
Grab some popcorn and take your seat. American Routes is going to the movies! Hear some of the best music ever put to film — soundtracks and scores from Coal Miner’s Daughter to Standing in the Shadows of Motown, from Miles Davis to the Rolling Stones. We’ll talk with director Spike Lee about the sonic textures used in his films — including his ode to New York, 25th Hour. Plus, a visit with legendary composer Elmer Bernstein, who’s over 400 scores for film and television include The Magnificent Seven, To Kill a Mockingbird, and the recently Oscar-nominated Far From Heaven. Cajun filmmaker Glenn Pitre from the bayou town Cut Off, LA talks about Cajun music and culture in films from Evangeline (1929) and Louisiana Story (1946) to The Big Easy (1992) and his own recent film, The Scoundrel’s Wife.
Visiting literal makers of music, crafters of instruments and sounds. Luthier Wayne Henderson takes us to his Virginia workshop for an old-time country jam session with Doc Watson. Robert Moog, of Moog Synthesizer fame, tells about creating electronic keyboards, and Sam Phillips of Memphis’ Sun Records recounts the reverb slap that shaped the sound of rock and rollers Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash.
For too long classical and popular music have existed in different worlds, and on this American Routes we’ll take a look at where those worlds have actually collided: how high art music crosses over with the folk, jazz, and avant-garde forms. Music from George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Scott Joplin, Stephen Foster, Mark O’Connor and Steve Reich. Plus the adventures of 19th century New Orleans pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk. It’s roots with strings on American Routes.