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

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.


Rick Hall has lived the mythical American story.

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.

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

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.

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. 

Jon Norton / WGLT

A small independent Chicago record label has been documenting Chicago's unsung jazz, blues, and gospel keyboard players since the 1970's. One of the founders of the label is Steven Dolins, who founded "The Sirens Records" as a teenager in the 1970's. After a couple early pressings, he took a long break from recording to focus on his professional life.

Delta Groove Records

Andy Santana is a west coast harmonica player also known for his guitar and vocal prowess.  Though he's a household name up and down the California coastline, and he's played with blues music legends, his name outside the Golden State barely registers, even among blues fans.  On this edition of Talkin' Blues, Santana tells GLT's Jon Norton that it was his wife's urging that convinced him to make a "go of it" nationally. 

Nancy Nutile-McMenemy

Isle of Man native Davy Knowles brings his blues-rock to the Castle Theater Friday night (Feb 12).  Still just in his late 20's, Knowles says it was his father that first introduced him to the great British and American blues legends, as well other rock music of the 1960's and 70's.  Now living in Chicago, Knowles talks with WGLT's Jon Norton about a DVD project that has him back in Isle of Man.  He also talks about how his life changed the moment he first heard "Sultans of Swing" by Dire Straits.

Bloomington native Joe Dowell died yesterday (February 4) at age 76. His publicist said he had a heart attack last weekend and never recovered.  Dowell was briefly popular in the early 1960's with the #1 hit ballad "Wooden Heart."  The song had already been a European hit for Elvis Presley when Dowell's version was released in America.

35 year old Canadian JW-Jones has released 8 blues albums in just over a decade.  His latest is titled Belmont Boulevard.  It's his first album with producer Tom Hambridge, who has guided a slew of albums for many artists, including blues legend Buddy Guy.  On this Talkin' Blues excerpt, Jones tells GLT's Jon Norton that Hambridge's guidance was invaluable in the making of his new album.

Jon Norton / WGLT

Shopping is a London based trio that contrasts its extremely danceable post punk rhythms with sharp commentary on consumerism, and the omnipresent electronic devices we use to interact with other humans.  Trevor Basham of Waiting Room Records (pictured) says the catchy "Why Choose" is one of his favorite albums of the last six months.  On this edition of "What's On Your Turntable," Basham gives a sample of what he calls a "must listen" album.

Portland Oregon based blues vocalist and songwriter Karen Lovely has a commanding stage presence that matches her equally powerful voice.  On this edition of GLT's Talkin' Blues, Lovely tells Jon Norton how she has learned to channel stage fright into that commanding stage presence.  She also talks about
her brand new album, titled "10 Miles of Bad Road."

As a young girl, Brooklyn native Alexis P. Suter says she listened almost exclusively to gospel music.  That is, until a chance meeting with the Mills Brothers at age 9 opened up a new musical world for her.  She says from there she sang in school choirs and eventually found her way as a vocalist for House and Dance music in the early 1990's. Today she's the leader of the band that bears her name, and has opened for some of the bigger names in blues music.  Her latest album is "Love The Way You Roll." 

To peg San Francisco based Kim Nalley as just a vocalist and songwriter would be selling her short.  She's also an actor, a featured writer in various Bay Area publications, a former club owner, and a PhD candidate in history at UC-Berkeley.  Nalley covers some of that ground with GLT's Jon Norton on this edition of GLT Jazz Next.  She begins by talking about her new album "Blues People," which was inspired by the famous book by LeRoi Jones.

Gary Mitchell

Chris Yakopcic is a young guitarist/singer/songwriter who found himself drawn to acoustic blues at a young age.  He includes blues legends Robert Johnson and Mississippi Fred McDowell as inspirations. But it was a show by a lesser known guitarist that sparked an "a-ha" moment along his musical career path.

Jeff Ziff aka sodafixer / Flickr

Chicago Blues legend Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater celebrated his 81st birthday January 19th.  For his 79th birthday, Clearwater celebrated with a live show at Space Nightclub in Evanston. That show was recorded and produced as his most recent album "Soul Funky."  On this Talkin' Blues encore, Clearwater talks with GLT's Jon Norton about the album, his friendship with fellow blues legend Lonnie Brooks, and a chance  encounter with one of his hero's, Chuck Berry.

New York City area native Frank Kohl was drawn to the guitar at a very young age.  He became proficient enough to be admitted to the prestigious Berklee School of Music in the 1970's, where his fellow students included fellow guitarists Pat Metheny and John Scofield.  On this edition of Jazz Next, Kohl talks to WGLT's Jon Norton about his new album "Invisible Man," how he came to love jazz, and how as a young child he says he had an "a-ha" moment watching The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show.

When Champaign-Urbana based Kilborn Alley plays Jazz UpFront in downtown Bloomington tomorrow night, Virginia based vocalist Jackie Scott will be sitting in with the band.  On this edition of GLT's Talkin' Blues, Andrew Duncanson tells Jon Norton that Scott brings an exciting presence to Kilborn Alley.

Soul singer and Blues Hall-of-Fame inductee Otis Clay died of a heart attack January 8th in Chicago.  WGLT's Jon Norton talked with Clay just last year about his busy work schedule.  That schedule included a solo album, a duet album with Johnnie Rawls, guest vocals on guitarist Dave Specter's latest album, and a soundtrack to the film "Take Me To the River."

School closings as of 7:25AM