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. 

Ralph Weisheit

A fixture on the central Illinois music scene passed away February 18 of a massive stoke.  Michael Cavanaugh could be seen in music clubs and festivals across Bloomington-Normal, usually dancing and chatting it up with anyone who approached him.  Morgan Schulte is a special education teacher and a therapist at The Baby Fold in Normal.  In her spare time helps promote music in the Twin Cities.  She said Cavanaugh was embedded in the local music scene."If you're in a local band or a local music supporter, you knew him," said Schulte.  "He was out and about every weekend in downtown Bloomington.  Whether it was Six Strings, Fat Jacks, or the Castle Theater, he was always the man in the front dancing.  He was just a guy you just wanted to be around. We all meet people we enjoy being around, but he was just different."

US Government Printing Office / Congressional Pictorial Directory

Former Congressman Bob Michel has died at age 93. Michel was a member of the United States House of Representatives for 38 years. He represented central Illinois' 18th congressional district, and was the GOP leader in Congress, serving as Minority Leader for 14 years of Democratic Party dominance of the House. 

Jon Norton / WGLT

The idea to "second line" through downtown Bloomington on Fat Tuesday came out of a brainstorming conversation.  Jazz UpFront owner James Gaston said he was talking with one of his employees about potential Mardi Gras events.

"She said we should have a big Mardi Gras party," said Gaston.  "We began bouncing ideas around, and I said 'we should get everyone on Front street involved and we could 'second line' down Front street with the band.'"

When Normal native Ryan Weisheit played the GLT Summer Concert in 2104 with Sweet Megg & the Wayfarers, he gushed at the time about the thriving "Hot Jazz" scene in his current home base of New York City.  Three years later, he said the scene is still growing, and wondering if the bubble will eventually burst.

"I wonder if there are going to be too many bands and not enough demand, but I think it's still at a pretty healthy ratio right now," said Weisheit.

Supporters speak at rally
Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

An estimated crowd of more than 1,000 people marched with bright pink signs Saturday morning through downtown Bloomington in support of Planned Parenthood and women’s health care.

Trevor Basham

GLT's Jon Norton likes to stop by local record stores to hear what's on the turntable while customers browse the bins.  He recently dropped in on Jared Alcorn at Waiting Room Records in uptown Normal to hear a sound that flashed him back to the 1980's.

Nathan Bridges

On the pleasure/pain continuum, Karen Bridges and Clint Thomson of the Bloomington-Normal folk duo "Stone & Snow" concede the latter often wins out.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

The Children's Home and Aid Regional Office in Bloomington received rare good news late last year when it received a $577,000 grant from the Illinois Board of Education. The money was targeted to expand the agency's "Preschool For All" and "Prevention Initiative" programs that combined serve children from birth to age 5. 

Jamie Day

Psychedelic-rock in its late 1960's heyday was an attempt to enhance and replicate the effects of psychedelic drugs.  It was also a reaction to the social and political turbulence of that era.  Aesop Adams and Aaron Dooley of the Bloomington-Normal based psych-rock band Gay Neighbors see a correlation between the late 1960's and today.

Colin Marshall

Mucca Pazza ("Crazy Cow") founding member Rick Kubes said the forming of the 30-odd member marching band was organic.  He gives kudos to fellow founder Mark Messing, the band's original director, choreographer, and music director.

Staff / WGLT

A proposal to lease a west side home to the Bloomington Police Department (BPD)  for use as a substation is receiving pushback.  

Mid Central Community Action

Despite forming barely two months ago, the Bloomington-Normal chapter of Black Lives Matter has already publicly voiced concerns about how the Bloomington police department polices especially west side neighborhoods, and about a proposed police substation at 828 W. Jefferson street.

Ryan Kindig

Brandon DaZ recalls playing beats and singing by the time he was barely one-year-old.  As the son of legendary Bloomington-Normal DJ Joe Beck, who has also been a drummer for a number of central Illinois bands over the last three decades, it's not surprising the apple fell close to his father's tree.

"From my Dad practicing with his bands and me going to his gigs, it was always music," said DaZ

Jon Norton / WGLT

GLT's Jon Norton occasionally drops by local record stores to hear what's playing on the turntable while customers browse the bins.  This week, Trevor Basham of Waiting Room Records in uptown Normal introduced him to a quirky Australian who both conceptually and physically adopts the persona of a failed lounge singer.

Karen Bridges

Bloomington's Dan Hubbard recently made the transition from fronting his band "The Humadors" to solo artist. He has also adopted a storytellers point-of-view to his songwriting, crediting Tom Petty producer Ryan Ulyate, who he got to know by phone. 

"And when I was in L.A. doing a couple shows, he invited me to his house.  He listened to my stuff, critiqued me, and said I needed to consider something Tom does, which is tell more stories instead of talking about my feelings and what I'm doing," said Hubbard.

Tony Morstatter is the new CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington-Normal.  The club board made the announcement yesterday in a statement. 

http://www.woodford-county.org/

The attorney for a Bloomington woman accused in the stabbing death of her husband has won a new court date for her client.  30-year old Sarah Mellor has pleaded not-guilty to first degree murder charges in the October death of her husband Mark Mellor.  The incident followed an argument at a campground in rural Carlock.

Staff / WGLT

The former executive-director of Bloomington's downtown Coliseum is under investigation for "financial impropriety" at his previous job managing a public facility in Bemidji, Minnesota.

The Bloomington City Council will consider approving economic incentive packages for the retention and expansion of both Kroger and Sam Leman Toyota.  Kroger has said it will close its store in Landmark Mall in Normal after completing a new "Marketplace" store in Bloomington near College Avenue and Susan Drive. 

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

Mid-Central Community Action opened the doors of a house discussed a possible Bloomington Police substation. 

The house is at 828 West Jefferson Street in Bloomington.  The open house was Sun., Dec. 18 

The proposed substation has received pushback from the Bloomington-Normal chapter of Black Lives Matter and other community members.  Bloomington councilman Scott Black was at the open house.  He said he was disappointed some people didn’t dig deeper into the reasons the sub-station was proposed. 

Jon Norton / WGLT

Reverberation Vinyl on Main street in Bloomington is not unlike other local record stores.  As you're browsing the bins, the music playing on the stores turntable or CD player is fairly representative of the owner's personal taste.  But at Reverberation Vinyl, you're likely to hear sounds that color a bit more outside the lines.

Joe Borbely of Bloomington-Normal's Jack Dupp & the Empty Bottles said Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam taught him to sing.

"As an awkward teenager, I recall listening to a lot of Pearl Jam.  They were the first band I connected with, so Eddie kind of taught me how to sing ... in my car.  I'm still learning how to let go of him and let myself be him," said Borbely.

hurricaneruth.com

"Hurricane" Ruth LeMaster came to music through her parents. Her father was a trumpet player who fell under the spell of all kinds of music, including Dixieland, blues, jazz, big band, R&B and bluegrass.  As a young girl she absorbed that music, as well as the different sounds from the Friday night jam sessions along the Illinois river during the summers in her hometown of Beardstown, Illinois.

jgullo / Flickr

It wasn't just Sly & the Family Stone, James Brown, and Earth, Wind & Fire that caught the ear of a young Karl Denson in the 1970's.

"The jazz was really funky too," said Denson.  "Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis and all that stuff was going on. It was a pretty fertile time."

Middlebury College Professor Dr. Carly Thomsen said there is a disconnect between the desires, logics, and strategies of LGBTQ people in the rural Midwest and the "out, loud and proud" strategies of the gay rights movement.  Thomsen, who speaks at Illinois State University December 5, said her research of LGBTQ living in rural South Dakota and Minnesota uncovered a striking difference in how they consider themselves "supported" compared to their urban counterparts.

"Lay These Weapons Down" is a musical departure for Rebecca Rego & the Trainmen.  Where their now two-year-old "Tolono" album is firmly rooted in folk, "Weapons" shows the quartet veering into more contemporary territory, including horns and other colors.  Rebecca Rego said that musical evolution coincided with personal difficulties the band experienced since "Tolono."

http://madisonhouseinc.com/delta-rae/

Brittany Holljes of Delta Rae said Joni Mitchell was her go-to music while growing up, and the one artist who stuck with her over the years.  Give credit to her parents, as Mitchell was also her mother's favorite singer, and said her father would even pump himself up for high school and college wrestling matches listening to Joni Mitchell.

"I can image Michael Phelps making that face before he swims listening to Joni Mitchell," laughed Holljes. "His connections to her lyrics calmed his nerves and centered him."

Nathan Keay

That the punk-rock quartet Poster Children didn't break through to wider acclaim in the 1990's speaks to the vagaries of pop stardom.  Why did Spin Doctors chart in the Top-20 twice while mentioning Poster Children still elicits blank stares from most, even by fans of 1990's music?  As many critics have said, "it's a crime." 

Edward David Anderson has been flying solo as a folk/country/rock artist since Backyard Tire Fire announced an "indefinite hiatus" in 2011.  With two critically acclaimed albums since 2014 and a touring  schedule that keeps his cars odometer spinning, the multi-instrumental Anderson has found his sea legs post-BTF.  But he didn't find them overnight.

Janae Thomason

Though it's been done successfully, being band mates with a romantic partner can be fraught with ... challenges.  Where does business end and personal begin?  When is a decision final and who makes that decision?  What if one of the two becomes the breakout performer?

Husband and wife Jay and Jenae Thomason ARE the Bloomington-Normal based acoustic duo Hot Sauce Universe.   Jenae said playing with Jay in HSU brought them closer together.

"We connected hard from the get-go," said Jenae.

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