Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Our New Orleans: from American Routes and Nonesuch Records

Yesterday afternoon, I had the good fortune to attend a lecture by Nick Spitzer of American Routes, a weekly radio show that features blues, jazz, gospel, old-time, country, and every other form of Americana that you could fathom. I listen to at least part of the show every week on my local public radio station, so I was very excited to be able to go see Mr. Spitzer in person.

The lecture, Rebuilding the "Land of Dreams"
Expressive Culture and New Orleans' Authentic Future, was very thought provoking. Mr. Spitzer talked about how it's the musicians and craftspeople, (the cultural center of New Orleans...the folks he calls the "2nd line") who have really inspired the return to New Orleans and who will need to be the center and backbone of the restoration and rebirth process.

If you're interested in this discussion, you can listen to a version of the lecture on Southern Spaces. Southern Spaces kindly breaks the lecture up into logical blocks of 3-10 minutes each, so you can just listen to a few minutes about the topics that particularly interest you, or you can listen to the whole thing.

Mr. Spitzer also played some terrific selections from the album Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album for the Gulf Coast that he put together and released on the Nonesuch record label. The album is a celebration, an elegy, and a call to action for the city of New Orleans. Proceeds from the album go to Habitat Humanity to help with the restoration process.

Some of my favorites from the album (links go to sound clips on iTunes):

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