Produced and hosted by acclaimed folklorist and musicologist Nick Spitzer, who provides an absorbing mix of interviews, documentary features, commentary and music, American Routes is a nationally distributed, two-hour radio program usually focusing on individual artists and particular themes, musical genres, holidays, events or places.
Produced in New Orleans, the program is intimately attuned to the musical byways and idiosyncrasies of the Gulf South. Over the years, Spitzer has shared much of his field work documenting not only musical traditions but cultural heritage and living art forms (think Mardi Gas Indians, Baby Dolls and other backstreet practitioners of the Carnival arts). The online archives and playlists are a veritable trove for lovers of roots music and Americana. A professor of anthropology and American studies at Tulane University, Spitzer is steeped in New Orleans Mardi Gras as well as the rural (Cajun) version of Mardi Gras, known as the courir. On AmericanRoutes.org, search keywords “Carnival” or “Mardi Gras” for special episodes focusing on the music and customs of Mardi Gras.