Distributed by PRX

Host Nick Spitzer  |   Photo by Paula Burch-Celetano

"Your show is like a documentary and a
house party rolled into one!"
-Listener in Iowa

American Routes is a weekly 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. The show explores the shared musical and cultural threads in these American styles and genres of music and how they are distinguished.

The program also presents documentary features and artist interviews. Our conversations include Willie Nelson, Tom Waits, B.B. King, Dr. John, Dave Brubeck, Abbey Lincoln, Elvis Costello, Ray Charles, Randy Newman, McCoy Tyner, Lucinda Williams, Rufus Thomas, Jerry Lee Lewis and many others. Join us as we ride legendary trains, or visit street parades, instrument-makers, roadside attractions and juke joints, and meet tap dancers, fishermen, fortunetellers and more.

The songs and stories on American Routes describe both the community origins of our music, musicians and cultures — the "roots" — and the many directions they take over time — the "routes."

Latest Weekly Shows

 Click here for the latest shows. (Added every Wednesday.) 

 Click here for the weekly promo. (Added every Friday.) 

PLEASE NOTE: American Routes weekly shows will be in a private network and are available to pre-approved stations. Links to pieces will not work unless you are logged into PRX and a member of the network.

You can, however, listen to the sample shows below without being logged in. And, there is an evergreen special available to all stations.

Sample Shows

Take a listen!

Get Rhythm: A Tribute to Johnny Cash (Hour 1)

Mavis Staples and Bob Dorough
(Hour 1)

From Backroads to Backatown: Drive-By Truckers and Trombone Shorty (Hour 1)

Motor City Music of Detroit (Hour 1)

About the Producer and Host

Nick onstage with Al "Carnival Time" Johnson at the
American Routes 10th Anniversary celebration,
House of Blues, New Orleans, 2009 | Photo by Erika Goldring

Nick Spitzer is a folklorist and a professor of anthropology and American studies at Tulane University. He specializes in American music and the cultures of the Gulf South, and received a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Texas.

Nick was founding director of the Louisiana Folklife Program for the State of Louisiana and has served as a senior folklife specialist at the Smithsonian Institution (1985-1990), the artistic director for the Folk Masters concert/broadcasts from Carnegie Hall and Wolf Trap (1990-97), and the Independence Day concerts broadcast live on NPR from the National Mall (1992-2001).

Spitzer's work ranges from film to documentary sound recordings, museum exhibits to academic essays. He was the co-editor for the book Public Folklore (1992, 2007) and co-author of Blues for New Orleans: Mardi Gras and America’s Creole Soul (2006). Nick has been recognized with numerous awards, including the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Excellence in Broadcasting Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship for work on cultural creolization.

Nick's radio experience goes back to the 1970s, when he was program director at WXPN-FM, and then drive-time host for the fabled "underground" rock station WMMR-FM, both in Philadelphia, and later as a deejay on the legendary KOKE-FM in Austin, Texas.

How to Get the Show

Starting in July 2011 American Routes will be distributed by PRX.

Contact prxhelp [at] prx.org to get the show.