Jon Norton

Music Director/Morning Edition Host

Not a hunter, skier, ice fisherman or hockey player, Northern Minnesota native Jon Norton has adapted well to what he considers the warm climate of Central Illinois.

After 20+ years in commercial radio, he's also "adapted" well to programming and playing jazz and blues music for listeners in Central Illinois.  John Lee Hooker and Oscar Peterson are among his favorite artists.

Norton is an ISU and Chicago Bulls Basketball fan, a Minnesota Twins baseball fan and treasures his time at home with his wife and son. 

Henhouse Prowlers

The Chicago based bluegrass quartet Henhouse Prowlers is now a teenager. Founding member and banjo player Ben Wright said despite the title of their latest album, he's not surprised the group is "Still On That Ride" 13 years later.

"When you start something like a band," said Wright. "You don't think too much about the future, because so many bands come and go."

Jon Norton / WGLT

Occasionally I like to drop in on local record stores to hear what's playing on the turntable while customers browse the bins.  This week I stopped by Waiting Room Records in uptown Normal, where owner Jared Alcorn was playing an album a little out of left field for the a store named after a Fugazzi album.

Loren Root

An injured shoulder derailed country-rocker Joe Stamm from his dream of playing college football. A star quarterback at Metamora High School in the mid 2000's, Stamm signed with Northern Illinois University after initially committing to Illinois State University during the Denver Johnson era.
 

Robert Earl Keen

A conversation with country-folk-rocker Robert Earl Keen is easy and enjoyable. He'll "go on forever" about many topics, including his music, how he lobbies Congress on behalf of musicians, and his friends Lyle Lovett and Joe Ely. But he was especially animated this day talking about children and classical music in his home state of Texas.

David Carroll / Flickr

Thornetta Davis is known as "Detroit's Queen of the Blues." Her childhood was anything but royal.

"My mom raised four girls with the help of my grandmother," said Davis. "It was an upbringing of turmoil .... my father was an alcoholic and quite violent. When my mother got out of that situation, that's when I feel I started to live."

David McClister

St. Paul & the Broken Bones front man and songwriter Paul Janeway said his reading of "Just Mercy" by "Equal Justice Initiative" founder Bryan Stevenson played a role in the direction of the band's latest album "Sea Of Noise."

"Being from Alabama, and with the Equal Justice Initiative (which was started by Bryan) being from here in Montgomery, I said 'if I'm going to write a record, these are the things that are moving me,'" said Janeway. "So are we trying to seek out love, is there a possibility of that? So it's been an interesting journey and the record kind of navigates through that.

Hannah Lauber

The 30-something brother team of Page Burkham and Jack Torrey are deep into classic country. Getting there was somewhat accidental, originally stumbling onto the music through thrift shops and libraries in their hometown of Minneapolis. Performing the music came from extended shows as the duo ramped up their performance schedule .

Lincoln, NE Police Department

Community groups in the Twin Cities are advocating for a citizen-led review board to monitor and weigh in on the actions of the Bloomington Police Department.  Bloomington Police Chief Brendan Heffner has resisted the call, saying citizens don't understand the intricacies of police work.

But there are many citizen led review boards across the country, including in Illinois. Perhaps the oldest is in Lincoln, Nebraska. That state's capital city with a population of just over 270,000 has had some aspect of a citizen led police advisory board since the 1970's.

Sgt. Pepper Turns 50

May 24, 2017
Jon Norton / WGLT

North Street Records owner Jeff Wilson paused to contemplate the 50 year anniversary of The Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.

"I can't believe all Beatles records are starting to be 50 years old," said Wilson sitting next to the turntable behind the counter in his store. "I guess it's like the world's classical music, especially Sgt. Pepper because it's so iconic."

Even veteran coaches can get nervous when jumping into a new endeavor. Adding to the apprehension for Illinois Wesleyan women’s basketball coach Mia Smith is jumping midstream into an at-large representative for selecting athletes and coaches for the national USA Basketball committee. She had no idea she was even being considered. 

Terrion Williamson

South side Peoria native and Manual High School alum Terrion Williamson returns to her hometown to discusses her first book. Williamson will share her thoughts on "Scandalize My Name: Black Feminist Practice and the Making of Black Social Life" at the Peoria Public Library - Lincoln Branch at 3:00 p.m on May 21. 

Jon Norton / WGLT

By NOT intervening with childhood trauma at an early age, Baby Fold of Normal Training Coordinator Keith Brotheridge said society pays much more in the long run. He cited the Centers for Disease Control "Adverse Childhood Experience" which followed 17,000 people with extensive traumatic experiences.

Adairs Run

Adairs Run frontman Todd Hanchock said the title track to the band's 2016 EP "Turn Back The Miles" is where the band is headed.

"All these songs we're writing are based on some serious experiences in the last few years, or when we were growing up," said Hanchock. "For me, 'Turning Back The Miles' is just a cool way to put a spin on 'hey man, I wish I COULD turn back time.'"

Jon Norton / WGLT

Reverberation Vinyl owner John Anderson has spent the last few weeks dropping the needle on the turntable in his store onto late 1960's and early 1970's Pentangle albums. Though not old enough to have been at the show, the group's May 11, 1970 concert at Illinois Wesleyan's Fred Young Fieldhouse has him obsessed with unearthing a recording from that show.

Learfield.com

Illinois State University Athletics recently outsourced its comprehensive multi-media rights to Learfield Sports Inc. The Plano, TX based company will pay ISU $19.8 million dollars over 10 years for the rights to manage, market and sell Redbird athletics signage, digital, radio play-by-play and coaches shows. 

DelmarBrown.com

Bloomington lost a major musical son when Delmar Brown passed away last month from cancer at age 62. The diminutive keyboard player who wowed fellow central Illinois musicians later did the same with some of the most recognizable names in music.

Sheryl Clark Productions

"This is very much a partnership," said Sara Quah, glancing sideways at the man who produced her upcoming "Taking Me Back" album. I don't think the album would be what it is, if it was just my vision."

Quah was referring to Tony SanFilippo, owner of Oxide Lounge Recording Studio in Bloomington. Quah enlisted SanFilippo to produce her first full length album, and credits him as the person who put meat onto the bones of the lyrics and musical song skeletons she had written over the previous year.

Hip Pocket

Hip Pocket band leader and founder Marc Boon said losing three friends recently made the decision to reunite the band an easy one.

"I think at some point along the line we get into a stage of life when we take account of stuff," said Boon.

Charles Osgood Photography

Renee Rosen's new historical novel "Windy City Blues" uses Chicago and its storied blues history as a backdrop to a story about perseverance and coming of age.

"I sort of see it as the story of three people who come to Chicago seeking a better life," said Rosen via Skype from her Chicago home.

Christian Jaramillo / WGLT

The advocacy group Black Lives Matter BloNo has been asking the Bloomington Police Department to adopt "Community Policing" rather than what it characterizes as a "Broken Windows" approach to policing. Broken Windows theory argues that focusing on small crimes such as vandalism and toll-jumping helps create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness, which leads to less serious crimes being committed.
 

Jon Norton / WGLT

Dr. Cara Rabe-Hemp of Illinois State University's Department of Criminal Justice said there is little debate about what constitutes "community policing." The general idea is that citizens take an active role in co-producing crime control with law enforcement. How police have transferred that philosophy into strategies and tactics is where the debate continues. 

Mark Featherly

St. Louis University associate professor of psychology Dr. Kira Hudson-Banks says one argument for being inclusive in a workplace is a moral one. It's the right thing to do. But being inclusive also has a bottom line argument.

A retired Illinois State University political scientist thinks the next Stevenson Lecturer and Adlai E. Stevenson himself would have agreed on many issues.

"Whenever I call it a jazz band I do air quotes. 'Jazz.'" said Disorganizer mandolin player Stefen Robinson, gesturing with the index and middle fingers of both hands over his head.

Why?

"Because I don't even know what that means anymore," continued Robinson. "Are you talking about Miles Davis? Are you talking about Wayne Shorter? Are you talking about Kneebody?

Paul Beaty

Blues, R&B, and rock were stamped on Mojo Stew's calling card from the mid 1980's through the early 90's. The central Illinois quintet that toured the Midwest extensively and appeared on Natalie Cole's "Big Break" show reunites for a show with The Mechanics and The Something Brothers April 8 at The Castle Theater in Bloomington. Guitarist Bill Porter said the reunion show has jogged fond memories from the band's heyday some 30 years ago.

Scott Harrison

I could have opened with "which Something Brothers members will play the reunion show?" Or "why now?" Former manager Denny De Bourbon would have been an appropriate opening salvo, as the April 8 show at The Castle Theater will also serve as a benefit for the man who guided the Bloomington-Normal sextet into a regional powerhouse in the mid 1980's and early 90's. And they got sooooo close to making the big time.

Instead, "so how many 'hauser's' did you tip back ... back in the day?" popped out of my mouth.

Paul Hudson / Flickr

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) is a devastating disease that has been described as "Parkinson's on steroids."

"I hate to say that's pretty accurate," said Steve Gorman, founding member of both The Black Crowes and more recently, Trigger Hippy. "It's the kind of disease that's very rare, it's very hard to diagnose and it's the kind of thing that's usually only diagnosed after all other neurodegenerative ailments have been eliminated.  So it can take years to get a proper diagnoses."

EMily Butler Photography

The viral 2013 video of Puddles Pity Party covering Lorde's "Royals" (see below) propelled the "sad clown with the big voice" to national and international prominence. The man who channels Puddles and his operatic voice is Big Mike Geier, who makes an appearance at the Castle Theater in Bloomington March 26. At 6' 8", Geier IS big, something he acclimated to at an early age.

Tyler Zoller

The line "I just want to make music and friends/Been that way since I was 12 years old" is from "Music and Friends" off Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band's recent "So Delicious" album. Hearing the words fed back to Josh"Reverend" Peyton elicits a smile from the trio's founder.

Wikimedia Commons

Former president of Mexico Felipe Calderón will address climate change at the Adlai E. Stevenson Memorial Lecture Series at Illinois Wesleyan University March 23.  His lecture is titled “Better Growth or Better Climate: Do We Need to Choose?”

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