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. 

Ralph Weisheit

Matthew Curry's ascent in the music business has been breathtaking.  Barely out of Bloomington (IL) High School, the 20 year old has recorded two full-length albums and has opened for some of the biggest names in the music business, including Peter Frampton and the Doobie Brothers.  But that steep trajectory flat-lined in late 2015. Instead of opening for rock legends or crisscrossing the country on another solo tour, he was back in Bloomington, scratching his head.

Jon Norton / WGLT

Fans of Prince are mourning his death in many ways.   Some are reminiscing and sharing stories on social media.  Musicians are paying homage by opening their shows with "Purple Rain" and other Prince staples.   At Reverberation Vinyl in Bloomington, owner and founder John Anderson had Prince on the turntable when WGLT's Jon Norton stopped by for an edition of "What's On Your Turntable?"

In December 1956, an impromptu recording session in the now legendary Sun Records Studio's became legendary itself.  Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis spent a relaxed afternoon recording mostly gospel music. An article featuring a photograph of the four who themselves would reach legendary status appeared in a local newspaper the next day. The headline simply said "Million Dollar Quartet."

Guy King Goes 'Uptown'

Apr 10, 2016
Roman Sobus / Roman Sobus Photography

Chicago’s Guy King spices his blues with Jazz & R&B, the "uptown" sounds he devoured growing up in his native Israel.  When he moved to the United States in his early 20’s, those sounds became the foundation of his own music.

Dragan Tasic

"Paying your Dues" is a saying heard frequently in blues music.  Chicago's Toronzo Cannon has been doing that nightly for two decades ... while driving a CTA Bus during the day.  Cannon began his dues paying as a sideman with some of Chicago's big blues names.  He later formed his own band and worked his way through the city's club circuit, and eventually to large crowds in Europe and a label deal with Delmark Records. 

Blues singer-songwriter-performer Shari Puorto grew up in Connecticut listening to some of the great names in rock and blues, and was especially drawn to the intensity of Etta James. 

Peoria's Smokers Blues Band member Hal Duckett recently stopped by the GLT Studio's to talk with Jon Norton about band's debut album, titled "Roads Less Traveled."  He also talked about their recent trip to Memphis representing Peoria at the International Blues Challenge.  

Duckett says his brother introduced him to Blues through his record collection.  But he says he REALLY got the Blues ... in his car.  He says he was driving home from St. Louis ... and was listening to WGLT on his car radio.

Sinking Into 'Pool'

Mar 30, 2016
Jon Norton / WGLT

One of Jon Norton's favorite assignments is dropping by local record stores to hear what's playing on the turntable while customers browse the bins.  Norton recently stopped by Waiting Room Records in Uptown Normal, where owner Jared Alcorn explained the virtues of a new synth-pop release that has his fancy.

Jean-Luc Bouchier

The latest album from Blues/Roots Rocker Peter Karp titled "The Arson's Match" is actually an over decade ago live date with former Rolling Stones member Mick Taylor.  In this Skype conversation with WGLT's Jon Norton, Karp details how he and Taylor met, and how as a teenager, he coincidentally found his calling at the "The Bottom Line," the same famous New York City nightclub where he recorded his new album shortly before the venue closed in 2004.

Elizabeth Geyer is an Australian singer/songwriter/instrumentalist who says creating albums can be a lengthy process for her.  She says she waited seven years after her last album to the record her latest.  In this Skype conversation with WGLT's Jon Norton, Geyer explains how she was inspired by Peoria multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Paul Adams to write and record her latest album, titled "The Bridge."

Matthieu Bitton

Dr. Lonnie Smith is now in his fifth decade of recording and performing as a solo act, and behind a virtual who's who of jazz legends.  Smith makes a stop in Chicago to play the Jazz Showcase this weekend (March 24-27). In a conversation with WGLT's Jon Norton, Dr. Smith says he remembers longing for a chance to make music from an early age.

Florian Levassort

Linsey Alexander's second album for Chicago’s Delmark Records is only his fourth as a solo artist.  WGLT's Jon Norton spoke with Alexander via phone at his home in Chicago to talk about his latest album titled “Come Back Baby” and about growing up in Memphis. 

They also talked about his live shows, which are often laden with flirtatious innuendo.

Jon Norton / WGLT

Local record stores occasionally get a visit from WGLT's Jon Norton, who likes to stop in to hear what's playing on the turntable as customers browse the bins.   A relatively obscure album from a few decades ago was spinning at North Street Records in Uptown Normal when Norton checked in recently with owner Jeff Wilson.

Carl Lender / Flickr

Livingston Taylor and his older brother James are polar opposites on the celebrity scale.  Though they have a similar vocal quality and share a love of well-crafted melodic pop songs, Livingston Taylor is about as anonymous as James Taylor is well known.  WGLT's Jon Norton caught up with Livingston Taylor in advance of his two Chicago appearances this weekend to talk about his anonymity.They also discussed his father’s alcoholism, and how it affected both brothers.

http://www.oldsmokeband.com/

Bloomington's Old Smoke Band takes its musical cues from southern rock, blues, and country.  Band members say they're attempting to establish a local and regional fan base in an attempt to move the band to the "next level."  Front man and guitarist Adam Humphreys says he looks forward to playing BerniePalooza 2016 at the Castle Theater tonight (March 10), and has been 'feeling the Bern' for quite some time now.

Delbert McClinton says as a young child in 1940's and 50's Texas, he knew music was going to be a huge part of his life. After six decades on the road and multiple Grammy awards to his credit, he says he's lived his dream.  That dream nearly ended two years ago when McClinton underwent triple bypass surgery. 

Ralph Weisheit

Naming rights for Bloomington's downtown coliseum are up for grabs. U.S. Cellular says it will not renew it's contract with the city owned indoor arena when the current agreement expires April 1st.  The company says the biggest factor to not renewing the agreement is its lack of presence in Bloomington Normal.  The cell phone provider has not had a store in the Twin Cities since 2012.

Ralph Weisheit

The Town of Normal is hiring two consultants to help with the application process for federal grant funding for a railway pedestrian underpass at Uptown Station.

The Town will spend nearly $100,000 on the consultants.

WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff will work on the 2016 grant application for a feasibility study for an underpass at Uptown Station.  CHG & Associates will provide a year of lobbying services.

Normal plans to build a temporary at grade rail crossing, with a planned underpass to come later.

Carol M. Highsmith

Rick Hall has lived the mythical American story.  As a boy in 1930's rural Alabama, he lived in a house that literally had a dirt floor.  Seven decades later, Hall is rich many times over and is considered one of the great producers in music history.  Hall recently released a memoir that documents his life and career.  
WGLT's Jon Norton caught up with Hall via Skype to talk about the book, and the historic role he played in creating the world famous "Muscle Shoals Sound."

April Martin

When St. Louis based author, documentary filmmaker, theologian and activist Rev. Osagyefo Sekou met Bay area educator, musician and arts administrator Jay-Marie Hill, they found they shared a common interest in social justice and blues, soul & gospel music. Seven months later they released an album titled "The Revolution Has Come" under the name "Reverend Sekou and the Holy Ghost."

Hill and Sekou tell WGLT's Jon Norton via Skype that they met in Cleveland at a Black Lives conference last summer.  Hill says when she and fellow conference attendees surrounded a police car after a 14 year old boy was arrested for what she characterizes as "sitting while black," it was Sekou who cleaned the police administered pepper spray from her face.

Meg Lantz

With the Illinois primary now less than two weeks away, more presidential hopefuls will be campaigning in the state, especially with the stakes being so high. While voter turnout in primaries tends to be lower than the general election, young voters are showing extreme interest in this campaign.

Even young people who are still a few years from being old enough to cast their first ballots. WGLT's Jon Norton spoke with Terri Lantz of Bloomington, and her 16-year old daughter Bridget, who says her political leanings are shaped in part by the type of music she enjoys.

Ray Kennedy

Singer/songwriter Chris Knight still lives on the outskirts of his rural Kentucky hometown of Slaughters.  He says it's where he's comfortable, and where he writes honest, nuanced and unflinching sketches about the people he holds dear.  Knight returns to Central Illinois to play Boondocks Pub in Springfield Tuesday March 10. 

jimmyburnsband.com

Former GLT Summer Concert headliner Jimmy Burns says if you want to test your blues chops, show up on a Monday night at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago's Loop.  Now a senior member of the Chicago blues scene, Burns hosts the weekly Blues Jam every other Monday night.  WGLT's Jon Norton recently caught up with Burns.  They talked about his brothers, the restaurant Burns once owned, and about his latest album on Delmark Records titled "It Ain't Right."  Burns says one song he wanted to get on the CD was the Ben E. King classic "Stand By Me."

Jon Norton / WGLT

Occasionally we send Jon Norton out to local record stores to hear what's playing on the turntable while customers browse the bins.  This week Norton dropped in on Reverberation Vinyl  on Main Street in Bloomington where he heard a new release of a long buried 1970's Memphis gem.

Brian Johnson & Dane Kantner

Winter weather is causing cancelations. A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 9:00 p.m. for Bloomington-Normal: (this list will be updated)

McLean County Museum of History

ISU Black History Cultural Dinner

State Farm Insurance

The Normal Theater

Illinois State University

Children's Discovery Museum

Unit 5

Central Catholic High School
Calvary Catholic High School

Cornerstone Christian Academy

davealvin.net

Brothers Dave and Phil Alvin play the Castle Theater in downtown Bloomington Saturday March 5th.
 Many music critics credit the two for kicking off the American Roots Rock scene in the early 1980's with their band The Blasters.   As teens the brothers absorbed the recordings of now legendary blues, rockabilly and country performers, and as Dave Alvin tells WGLT's Jon Norton, they also frequented nightclubs that featured these bands in their hometown of Downey, in Southern California.

http://www.farmercityil.org/

Mike Jenkins has retracted his resignation as mayor of Farmer City.  On Friday, Jenkins announced his resignation on a Facebook post and said it was effective immediately.  He now says he will fulfill the remainder of his 3 year term.  Since Jenkins did not hand in his resignation to the City Clerk of Farmer City, as required by law to begin the process of stepping down, his resignation was not official.   

Alyce Jackson

Band members Dennis Bosley and Danny Meyers met when both played in an early incarnation of the Dave Chastain Band.  When members of that band went their own ways, Bosley and Myers created "Rooster Alley." 

Though the band has been an active part of the central Illinois live music scene for nearly a quarter century, their recordings are few and far between. 

Ralph Weisheit

One of the musicians behind Sweet Megg & the Wayfarers is also now working with another New York City hot jazz band, "Jessy Carolina and The Hot Mess." Normal native and saxophonist Ryan Weisheit, along with vocalist Megg Farrell played the 2014 GLT Summer Concert in downtown Bloomington and their group continues to thrive in New York City's vibrant hot jazz scene. 

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