Jon Norton | WGLT

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. 

Bloomington singer-songwriter Kyle Yap said his father raised him on a steady diet of his classic rock LPs. You can hear the influences during a live Yap show.

Harmonius Wail at Stoughton WI Opera House
Nick Berard

The husband-wife team behind the Madison, Wisconsin-based Harmonious Wail says their resolve to play uplifting music was tested when their son died three years ago.

Shemekia Copeland
Suzanne Foschino

GLT Summer Concert headliner Shemekia Copeland said she was caught off guard when the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois officially declared her to be “The New Queen Of The Blues” at the 2011 Chicago Blues Festival.

Ani DiFranco
GMDThree

Independent singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco has been tackling difficult social and cultural issues for three decades. So it’s no surprise songs she wrote years ago are still relevant, and still stir strong emotions.

For example, the title track to her 1999 album “To The Teeth.”

Jerm Plue, left, and Dirty Rotten Revenge
Jenny-Lee Plue

The Bloomington-Normal music scene has seen a resurgence over the past five to seven years. As GLT reported last year, many give kudos to the Castle Theatre as the catalyst for that surge. But other venues and players are making their own noise.

The Sammy Miller Congregation
Bryon Gaynor

Sammy Miller said he began formulating the idea that jazz needs to return to its dance and entertainment roots while studying at the renowned Juilliard School in New York.

Amy Harris/Invision / AP

We think of GLT Blues Radio as the Best Blues Station on Planet Earth because that's what you tell us.

Rose Marshack and Rick Valentin of Poster Children
Chris Schneberger

It’s been 14 years since the now Bloomington-based punk-rock quartet Poster Children has recorded a full-length album.

Carleigh Gray / WGLT

Illinois State University men's basketball coach Dan Muller said Thursday he hopes the recent Supreme Court decision striking down a sports-betting ban won't affect how his coaching peers approach a game.

Samantha Fish returns to the Castle Theatre in Bloomington on Thursday, May 17.
BackstageFlash.net

Kansas City native Samantha Fish said her hometown was a great playground for learning her craft.

“There’s such a steep tradition there. It’s a great jazz and blues town, and a jam scene,” said Fish. “You could go out every night and play with some incredible, top-notch blues players.”

David Berchtold
Jerry Druhan

Piedmont Blues radiated from David Berchtold’s guitar before he even knew that style existed.

Ashley Shannon with Jalon Jones at ISU's 2016 homecoming
courtesy of Illinois State University

Ashley Shannon said she didn't choose to attend Illinois State University. The school chose her.

Staff / WGLT

Laura Kennedy, the one-time classical and jazz music host who turned into one of GLT’s best storytellers, will retire later this month.

The Messtetics, left to right: Brendan Canty, Anthony Pirog, Joe Lally
Antonia Tricarico/Courtesy of the artist

The Messthetics isn’t Fugazi 2.0. Yes, the same rhythm section that drove Fugazi's influential punk/hardcore sound now drives the experimental rock of the Messthetics. And yes, many Fugazi fans are thrilled the quartet has partially reassembled into an instrumental trio.

YouTube / Stone & Snow

When Naia Izumi was announced the winner of the 2018 NPR Tiny Desk Contest, five central Illinois artists said they weren't surprised they were not chosen, as they were among nearly 5,000 entries from all 50 states. 

Capital Steps perform during "Orange Is The New Barack"
Capitol Steps

The Trump administration and the maturing of social media keeps The Capitol Steps on their toes as they travel from city to city.

Ameren Employees working on a business in Puerto Rico
Ameren Illinois

Despite a massive rebuilding effort that included three waves of Ameren Illinois workers, Puerto Rico is still experiencing setbacks to the restoration of electricity for homes and businesses.

Paul A. Hebert / Invision/AP

We think of GLT Blues Radio as the Best Blues Station on Planet Earth because that's what you tell us.

OC45: A Happy Accident

Apr 21, 2018
OC45, left to right: Nick Tanzi, Adam Femino, Ken Bousquet, Derek Rossi
Bombs Away Photography

On the day before the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, OC45 guitarist Derek Rossi was explaining “Keep Your Guns” from their 2017 album “Happy Accidents.”

John D'earth playing his trumpet
Bob Travis / Wikipedia

It’s odd hearing the director of a university jazz program argue that he is NOT an educator.

Dennis Mackrel at this drumset
Andrzej "Andre" Pilaczyk

From virtually the time he emerged from his mother’s womb, Dennis Mackrel was exposed to a steady diet of jazz.

Chow 4-Piece at Jazz UpFront in Bloomington April 5.
Jon Norton / WGLT

Trombonist Mason Riedel laughed when asked how his Illinois State University Jazz Combo acquired its name. He had just been called by Jazz Up Front owner James Gaston about filling in last minute on a Thursday night.

Billy Strings
Jesse Faatz

Billy Apostol was dubbed "Billy Strings" by his mother for his prowess on a number of stringed instruments at a young age.

Kansas L to R is Richard Williams, Billy Greer, Zak Rizvi, Phil Ehart, Ronnie Platt, David Manion, and David Ragsdale.
Michie Turpin

The words "Congrats you got the job" are likely the five most exciting and terrifying words Ronnie Platt had ever heard.

Tom Gannam / AP

Illinois State University and other Missouri Valley Conference schools are rooting for Loyola Chicago in the NCAA basketball tournament for more than one reason. And some of those reasons are green.

Dexter O'Neal & Funkyard
http://dexteroneal.com/

“When I got to meet Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, I was on ‘10’ because he was my salvation,” said Dexter O’Neal of the R&B legend who passed away in 2013.

Jared Alcorn with the new "Moaning" album at Waiting Room Records
Jon Norton / WGLT

An emerging Los Angeles-based post-punk band has been wearing out the turntable at Waiting Room Records in uptown Normal.

The HillBenders are Mark Cassidy, Nolan Lawrence, Gary Rea, Chad “Gravy Boat” Graves, and Jim Rea.
HillBenders

The marriage of rock and bluegrass might seem an odd combination, but for the bluegrass group the HillBenders, it works.

Nightshop during daytime
Jon Norton / WGLT

Longtime local musician and promoter Chris Golwitzer realized a dream this month when he opened Nightshop on the north end of downtown Bloomington.

Ike Reilly (in spotlight)
ikereilly.net

“My connection to Bloomington-Normal is pretty crazy,” said Ike Reilly from his home in Libertyville.

He was referring to guitarists Tommy O’Donnell and Phil Karnats, who will be at his side March 15 when the Ike Reilly Assassination returns to the Castle Theatre.

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