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. 

Black Lives Matter formed in 2014 as a reaction to the shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Subsequent shootings of especially young black men by police officers have sparked conversations about race probably not heard and seen in America in decades.

The Ronnie Baker Brooks 2017 release “Times Have Changed” is aptly titled. For one, he altered his guitar sound, leaving his coveted guitar pedals at home during the recording of the album.

“I plugged straight into the amp through a Gibson guitar,” said Brooks. “That was an adjustment for me at first, mentally.”

Mdou Moctar and his band
Jerome Fino

The thriving Desert Blues sound of the Saharan peoples of North Africa is the spiritual homeland of the blues. Mdou Moctar is a Niger-based disciple of that sound. He's about to embark on a short American tour that kicks off at Reverberation Vinyl in Bloomington.

Hugo van Gelderen / Dutch National Archives

It’s been 50 years since John Coltrane died. How is it possible the just released documentary “Chasing Trane” from director John Scheinfeld is the first big screen telling of the jazz legend?

Cedric Wilder / Brown Bear Creative

The title track to Sherwood Forest’s just released “No Retreat” EP is a personal plea to an unnamed person.

Brian Rozman

Samantha Fish can shred her blues guitar with the best. So a new album with a dual focus on her voice and hits from the 1950s and 60s is a bit of a curve-ball. Fish calls it freeing.

Amy Harris/Invision / The Associated Press

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

Kathy Boyle

2017 has been the year of musical reunions in Bloomington-Normal.

In April, The Something Brothers, Mojo Stew, and The Mechanics convened at the Castle Theater in an encore for the ages. Marc Boon’s R&B big band Hip Pocket followed suit a few weeks later. And on Aug. 27, the four-member straight-up blues band The Blue Aces join the reunion tour.

Brent Simonds

Illinois State University School of Communication Professor Brent Simonds knows his just completed documentary of Nashville singer/songwriter Verlon Thompson tells a compelling story.

“It’s a sweet story about a really sweet man who has monstrous talent, especially when it comes to playing acoustic guitar,” Simonds said of his film "Sweet Dreams Do Come True."

Beth Bombara Music

Depression is an insidious condition. Unlike, say, a broken arm, where you can point to a single incident such as slipping on a patch of ice, depression has no cast for friends and family to notice, let alone sign. It happened to singer/songwriter Beth Bombara leading up to the release of her latest album “Map And No Direction.”

Shelly Swanger / Shelly Swanger Photography

Bluegrass legend Sam Bush included the original song “Bowling Green” on his latest album titled “Storyman.” It’s an ode to growing up on a farm just outside the southern Kentucky town.

Jerry Jin

Galen Weston was like a lot of college grads: proud of his shiny diploma on the wall, daunted by the immense loans that financed it. Taking a breath, the logical next step, at least in Weston’s mind, was to parlay his jazz degree into an online financial advice business.

Christi Bushby

Is this real what I’m feeling/Is this real or am I dreaming my life away?

Those lines from the song “Pills” open “Phantom Power,” the just released sophomore album from the Robert Brown Band. A life of delusion seems top of mind to band founder Robert Brown. Heck, he even titled the debut album “Love Is a Ghost.” 

Peggy DeRose

The music world has had many romantic couples; the most famous include Sonny & Cher and Ike & Tina Turner. It’s probably not the best comparison to San Francisco based blues artists Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz. Not that they’re not making great music, but the chemistry isn’t, well, tempestuous.

Jon Norton / WGLT

Supersuckers returns to Bloomington-Normal to play the Castle Theater on Thursday, Aug. 10.

Courtesy / Redbird Athletics

Kristen Gillespie is incredibly upbeat for a someone who took the helm of an ailing Illinois State University women's basketball team just four months ago.

David Dobson

George Thorogood & the Destroyers have been ripping through blues classics for four decades. Their ferocious recorded takes on "Move It On Over," "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer," and of course "Bad To The Bone" are classic rock radio staples.

Sandro Campardo / The Associated Press

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

Here are GLT Music Director Jon Norton's Top 10 songs for the week ending Aug. 4, via a Spotify playlist. Like what you hear? Listen to GLT Blues every weekend on-air 89.1 FM, or streaming all day every day on WGLT.org.

Courtesy / Illinois State University

A mountain of research—including a stunning new study on the brains of deceased NFL players—is changing the way that the Illinois State football team is practicing this summer.

senatorbarickman.com

State Sen. Jason Barickman issued a clarifying statement Thursday after implying during a press conference that Gov. Bruce Rauner would “hold” the controversial school funding bill after it lands on his desk instead of immediately vetoing it.

Marcie Hammerstrand

So how does the name "Mongolian Death Wyrm" symbolize J Alan Balmer's vision for his progressive blues/rock/funk trio?

"It doesn't symbolize it so much as it begs the question: Who are we? And what kind of music do we play?" said Balmer.

dawestheband.com

The indie-rock band Dawes plays the Castle Theater in Bloomington on July 31. Occasional GLT Music Critic Taylor Bauer considers the California born and bred quartet to be one of the most exciting bands of the past five years.

Ennemay Photography

Downers Grove native Scott Marek is an aspiring country singer/songwriter/bandleader ready to up his game.

"It's so much fun to get up on stage and sing," said Marek. "Hopefully everyone is listening, and as long as that continues to climb as it has been, I don't see why I should turn back."

Jesse W. Johnson
Kelli Morrison / Courtesy

Listening to Jesse W. Johnson's latest album certainly begs a comparison to Bob Mould's Husker Du and Sugar incarnations of the 1980s and 90s. But a hint of the early to mid 70s sounds of Love, Fleetwood Mac, and John Stewart can also be discerned. 

Phil Brisse / Courtesy

Joel Da Silva came to blues in the Chicago bars he worked in as a teenage bar-back. That’s where he bumped into legends including Junior Wells, Magic Slim, A.C. Reed and Rod Piazza. Well, he didn’t just “bump” into the them; he would pick them up at the airport and deliver them to their hotel.

“Or I would get them barbeque or whatever they wanted,” said Da Silva.

matthewcurry.com

Matthew Curry is in a groove. Oh he was in a groove three years ago opening for legendary names including The Doobie Brothers, Steve Miller, and Peter Frampton. It's just that that sort of exposure isn't supposed to happen right out of high school.

"It almost happened a bit backwards," said Curry, referring to his career path. "I think most people start with the club circuit and build and build and then hope to be on some of the tours we had the honor to be on."

Chief Heffner talks to aldermen
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The Bloomington City Council likely won’t be voting on the proposed police civilian review board Monday as planned, after aldermen asked the police chief to share more information about current practices.

Don Oneil / Don O'Neil Photography

A woman in her early 30's embracing honky-tonk? A music genre that peaked decades ago? Sarah Shook has answered the query many times.

"I had a very strange upbringing as far a music goes," explained Shook via phone from her North Carolina home. "I was certainly not exposed to a lot of the pop music that was popular in my age group, then and now."

Scott Davidson / flickr

A car-semi truck crash on I-74 near Farmer City has claimed the life of an Illinois state trooper. Ryan Albin died June 28 from injuries sustained as a result of the crash earlier in the afternoon. Albin had been with the Illinois State Police for 11 years and was assigned to District 6 in Pontiac as a canine officer.

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."

Pages