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. 

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?”

Jon Norton / WGLT

With Deafheaaven set to bring its black metal/shoegaze sound to the Castle Theater in Bloomington March 18, their last two albums are getting heavy play on the turntable at Waiting Room Records in uptown Normal.

Jon Norton / WGLT

As many as 70 people rallied on the lawn of the BCPA Tuesday evening against Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  Speakers including announced 13th District Democratic Congressional candidate David Gill and last fall's 18th District Democratic candidate Junius Rodriguez decried the proposed GOP alternative.

 

Illinois State University Athletics

Illinois State University basketball coach Dan Muller fired off a tweet Monday that reverberated through college basketball.  The viral tweet came on the heels of the Redbirds being passed up for an "at-large" bid March 12 to play in the upcoming NCAA March Madness tournament.  Despite it's 27-6 season record, ISU was told it didn't have enough "quality wins" against strong opponents to be selected.

Sue Sadzak

Normal, Illinois seems an unlikely landing pad for the lead guitarist and songwriter of an iconic Canadian rock band.

"My wife Deanna is from here," said Honeymoon Suite's Derry Grehan before smiling a deep breath while scanning his brain for a 30-odd year ago memory. "We we were opening for Heart at the Peoria Civic Center, and we met at a record store that day."

Colin Brennan

Similar to how Robert Glasper infused hip-hop into his jazz on his 2012 Blue Note Records album "Black Radio," Wilner "Wil B" Baptiste and Kevin "Kev Marcus" Sylvester use classical strings as the backbone to their hip-hop, rock, and bluegrass inflected major label debut "Stereotypes."  It's no coincidence Glasper makes more than a guest appearance.

Nicole Weingart

As a teen phenom growing up in a city many consider the Mecca of blues and soul music, Eric Gales didn't quite understand what he was absorbing.

"Growing up in Memphis had an impact on me in ways I didn't realize until later in life," said Gales.  "It was a big part of growing up there.  A lot of blues and other styles were there.  And now it's grown into a whole lot of other styles.  I am very proud to have come from Memphis, but there are many other styles attributed to the city."

Singer-songwriter Nick Africano said songwriting is a craft he loves.

"As much as songwriting has been therapeutic for me in a way ... it has ultimately become something that I have taken great pleasure doing," said Africano.

Cody Diekhoff was clearly touched by the sentiments of Jack Dupp & the Empty Bottles member Mike Klug that Diekhoff was central to a revitalized Bloomington-Normal music scene. 

Klug said "Ed (Anderson) and Cody took this town kicking and screaming against their will and made a scene our of nothing.  I feel they're just such  genuinely nice people, they made the scene."

Sheryl Clark / Sheryl Clark Productions

Normal based singer-songwriter Sara Quah said her mother is the force behind her love of books, writing, and words.

"She read all the time when I was a kid," said Quah.  "I always had a book.  I ALWAYS had a book.  And still do."

Vote Today sign on a sidewalk
Ken Chui

There will be two candidates left for Bloomington Mayor by the time polls close in today's primary election. 

Incumbent Mayor Tari Renner is being opposed by current council members Diana Hauman and Kevin Lower, as well as retired fire-fighter Robert Fike, and former talk-radio host Ian Bayne.

Bloomington Election Commission Executive Director Paul Shannon said there were just over 5,800 total voters by 4 p.m. 

Jon Norton / WGLT

The recent immigration directives from the Trump administration and Department of Homeland Security widened the net of undocumented people in the U.S. considered a priority for deportation. Immigration  attorney Charlotte Alvarez said that is changing how she offers advice.

"We're advising anyone who is undocumented to seek legal counselor to see if there's any options for adjusting or changing their status," said Alvarez. 

Jon Norton / WGLT

Local progressive groups continue to pressure 13th district Republican Congressman Rodney Davis and 18th district Congressman Darin LaHood to conduct live town hall meetings during the Congressional recess.  About 40 sign waving people rallied over the noon hour at uptown Circle adjacent to Davis' office Thursday. 

A number of speakers voiced their displeasure with Davis' support of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. 

Jon Norton / WGLT

The Los Angeles based bluesy roots-rock band "The Record Company" brings its swagger to Bloomington to play The Castle Theater February 26.  The band has seen its arrow pointing upward since the release of its debut album "Give It Back To You" last February.  Former GLT staffer and occasional music critic Taylor Bauer sat down in the GLT Studio's with Jon Norton to talk about the The Record Company and its critically acclaimed debut album.
 

Jay Miller

Old Shoe guitarist and vocalist Matt Robinson thinks the general understanding of what an "old shoe" represents fits the band's persona.

"An old friend of mine used to call me 'an old shoe,'" said Robinson.  "I thought that was a cool name and the light bulb went on and thought it would be a great idea for a band name.  Shoes are fashionable, and the 'old shoe' fit the idea of us being a retro band as far as where our styles come from."

Bloomington police say bullets broke a window and hit other parts of a house at 715 W Locust late last night.  The house is used for apartments.  BPD says at least one person was inside at the time of the shooting.  No suspects have been apprehended, nor a weapon recovered.

BPD said nobody was injured in the shootings that happened at roughly 10:50 Monday night.

Ralph Weisheit

A fixture on the central Illinois music scene passed away February 18 of a 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.

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.

Pages