After the Storm Sometime this weekend, you may be able to hear one of the best expressions of New Orleans’ role in music and culture available in any mass media. It's American Routes, a weekly show carried on many US public radio affiliates. Programmed and hosted by folklorist and UNO professor of folklore and culture Nick Spitzer, the show normally broadcasts from a studio in the heart of the French Quarter, but has found a temporary home on a Creole/Cajun French/English public radio station in Lafayette. Spitzer told the NYT that he began planning the music for this week’s show as he was fleeing the flooding city in his car, playing Fats Domino’s “Walking to New Orleans." This week’s show highlights New Orleans’ recovery from disasters past, emphasizing the city’s role as the greatest single wellspring of American music. The Crescent City, after all, has either birthed or nurtured everything from jazz, R & B, cajun and the related black-influenced zydeco, soul, blues, gospel, and rock and roll.) With an encyclopedic knowledge of American vernacular music, an utterly democratic spirit, and an unmistakeable respect and love for American musical forms and the people who create them, Spitzer has stepped forward several times this week to serve as a compassionate and optimistic spokesman for the irrepressible creative spirit of a suffering city and a culture in diaspora.
American Routes with Nick Spitzer is one of the best radio shows ever. It's a "... two-hour public radio program produced in New Orleans, presenting a broad range of American music -- blues and jazz, gospel and soul, old-time country and rockabilly, Cajun and zydeco, Tejano and Latin, roots rock and pop, avant-garde and classical. Plus stories and conversations with musicians and everyday people, known and unknown." There are great archived interviews with people like Dick Dale, Calvin Cooke, Sleepy LeBeef, Koko Taylor, Bob Moog, Nick Hornby, Ahmet Ertegun, John Hammond Jr., Keely Smith, Jim Jarmusch and everyone in between. Playlists back to April 1998. Photos. The shows usually have a theme--"Cool", "Arabs and Jews in Jazz & Blues and Beyond", "East Texas / West Louisiana"--and are always interesting. Get even more info. at Deep Routes .