Music

Loren Root

An injured shoulder derailed country-rocker Joe Stamm from his dream of playing college football. A star quarterback at Metamora High School in the mid 2000's, Stamm signed with Northern Illinois University after initially committing to Illinois State University during the Denver Johnson era.
 

Radio Munson 6/15/17

Jun 14, 2017

Was Anita O’Day referring to Uptown Normal when she recorded “Let Me Off Uptown?”  Probably not, but the question provides some fodder for discussion and the playing of Anita’s famous duet with trumpeter Roy Eldridge on this week’s Radio Munson.  The exciting Buddy Rich band is also on Don’s playlist along with Chick Webb, Bobby Troup, and a new duet with vibraphonist Terry Gibbs and Bloomington-Normal pianist John Campbell.

Radio Munson 6/8/17

Jun 9, 2017

There’s a lot of the 1940s in this week’s Radio Munson as Don spins platters by the Andrews Sisters, Cab Calloway, and the Mills Brothers.  Woody Herman sings the “G.I. Jive", while Doris Day croons “Sentimental Journey."

David Carroll / Flickr

Thornetta Davis is known as "Detroit's Queen of the Blues." Her childhood was anything but royal.

"My mom raised four girls with the help of my grandmother," said Davis. "It was an upbringing of turmoil .... my father was an alcoholic and quite violent. When my mother got out of that situation, that's when I feel I started to live."

David McClister

St. Paul & the Broken Bones front man and songwriter Paul Janeway said his reading of "Just Mercy" by "Equal Justice Initiative" founder Bryan Stevenson played a role in the direction of the band's latest album "Sea Of Noise."

"Being from Alabama, and with the Equal Justice Initiative (which was started by Bryan) being from here in Montgomery, I said 'if I'm going to write a record, these are the things that are moving me,'" said Janeway. "So are we trying to seek out love, is there a possibility of that? So it's been an interesting journey and the record kind of navigates through that.

Dennis Beck / Broadway Tour

A story line taken from Tolstoy's War and Peace. A musical remake of the nineties film Ground Hog Day. The trials of an anxiety-ridden adolescent and the true story of a Newfoundland town faced with hosting stranded air travelers on 9/11. 

Those are the themes of this year's line up of Tony nominees for best musical. The four nominated musicals are Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812,Ground Hog Day, Dear Evan Hansen and Come From Away.

Once there was a brief shining moment known as Camelot the musical, with a score by Lerner and Lowe that became a Broadway classic.

Then there was the dark, free-wheeling Spamalot, a musical based on the cult film classic, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It's that version of the English legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table that will prance across the Connie Link Amphitheatre as the first of this summer's outdoor musicals.

Hannah Lauber

The 30-something brother team of Page Burkham and Jack Torrey are deep into classic country. Getting there was somewhat accidental, originally stumbling onto the music through thrift shops and libraries in their hometown of Minneapolis. Performing the music came from extended shows as the duo ramped up their performance schedule .

Sgt. Pepper Turns 50

May 24, 2017
Jon Norton / WGLT

North Street Records owner Jeff Wilson paused to contemplate the 50 year anniversary of The Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.

"I can't believe all Beatles records are starting to be 50 years old," said Wilson sitting next to the turntable behind the counter in his store. "I guess it's like the world's classical music, especially Sgt. Pepper because it's so iconic."

Radio Munson 5/18/17

May 19, 2017

Four harmonizing saxophones in Woody Herman’s 1947 jazz band recorded a song called “Four Brothers” and changed Woody’s fortunes for decades to come.  The record is on Don’s playlist for this week’s Radio Munson, along with Nicki Parrott (puh-ROT), Nat “King” Cole, Beth Hart, and pianist Freddy “Daddy” Slack plays “Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar."

Adairs Run

Adairs Run frontman Todd Hanchock said the title track to the band's 2016 EP "Turn Back The Miles" is where the band is headed.

"All these songs we're writing are based on some serious experiences in the last few years, or when we were growing up," said Hanchock. "For me, 'Turning Back The Miles' is just a cool way to put a spin on 'hey man, I wish I COULD turn back time.'"

Radio Munson 5/11/17

May 11, 2017

The Mother of all “Battles of the Bands” took place in Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom 80 years ago on the night of May 11th, 1937.  Benny Goodman’s popular swing band set up on a bandstand on one side of the huge ballroom, while the Savoy’s “house” band, Chick Webb’s band held court on the other side of the dance floor.  The two bands volleyed back and forth for 5 hours that night, a tune from one and then a tune from the other.  Don takes us back to that night on this week’s Radio Munson.

Jon Norton / WGLT

Reverberation Vinyl owner John Anderson has spent the last few weeks dropping the needle on the turntable in his store onto late 1960's and early 1970's Pentangle albums. Though not old enough to have been at the show, the group's May 11, 1970 concert at Illinois Wesleyan's Fred Young Fieldhouse has him obsessed with unearthing a recording from that show.

Radio Munson 5/4/17

May 8, 2017

Duke Ellington’s famous orchestra recorded an instrumental on May 4th, 1940 that composer Ellington titled “Never No Lament".  You will recognize the old song when Don plays it on this week’s Radio Munson—it’s one of Ellington’s best, made more palatable when Duke gave it a new title.  Matt Monro is on Don’s playlist, too, along with the Merry Macs, Mel Torme’, and Sarah Vaughan live at the famed Mister Kelly’s Jazz Club on Chicago’s Rush Street.

Sheryl Clark Productions

"This is very much a partnership," said Sara Quah, glancing sideways at the man who produced her upcoming "Taking Me Back" album. I don't think the album would be what it is, if it was just my vision."

Quah was referring to Tony SanFilippo, owner of Oxide Lounge Recording Studio in Bloomington. Quah enlisted SanFilippo to produce her first full length album, and credits him as the person who put meat onto the bones of the lyrics and musical song skeletons she had written over the previous year.

Radio Munson 4/27/17

May 1, 2017

A tribute to Ella Fitzgerald on this week’s Radio Munson, along with Harry James, Eartha Kitt, the Hot Club of Cowtown, and the Gene Harris Superband.

Hip Pocket

Hip Pocket band leader and founder Marc Boon said losing three friends recently made the decision to reunite the band an easy one.

"I think at some point along the line we get into a stage of life when we take account of stuff," said Boon.

Radio Munson 4/20/17

Apr 20, 2017

Siblings star on this week’s Radio Munson with Freddy and Nat “King” Cole, Bing and Bob Crosby, the Boswell Sisters and the Dorsey Brothers, plus classics from Henry Mancini, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and Sarah Vaughan.

California Cow / Flickr via Creative Commons

An Illinois State University professor's research has earned her an invitation to join a task force that is taking on the music industry.

Radio Munson 4/13/17

Apr 13, 2017

Some piano adventures on this week’s Radio Munson with Boogie Woogie great Meade “Lux” Lewis playing his signature “Honky Tonk Train Blues” and vibraphone innovator playing a romping tune on piano using only his two index fingers.  Mavis Rivers is on Don’s playlist, along with Leon Redbone, Billie Holiday, and your chance to do the ‘Shag” to the “Johnson Rag."

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.

Radio Munson 4/6/17

Apr 6, 2017

There’s an anniversary salute to Duke Ellington's iconic “Satin Doll” on this week’s Radio Munson, along with Carmen McRae, Stan Kenton, Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy, Sarah Vaughan, and Count Basie’s salute to “April In Paris."

Radio Munson 3/30/17

Apr 3, 2017

Erroll Garner plays “Misty" for you on this week’s Radio Munson and that’s not all.  There’s Ella Fitzgerald, Arthur Prysock, Louis Armstrong, Ann Hampton Callaway and a trip back to the red hot 1920s for a classic recording of “Everything Is Hotsy-Totsy Now." 

Laura Jane Grace Of Against Me!: Talking Is Still Honest

Mar 30, 2017
Casey Curry

Against Me!'s 2014's "Transgender Dysphoria Blues" was a coming out party for band founder Laura Jane Grace, who announced two years prior she was a transgender woman.  The punk-rock outfit with roots in Gainesville, Florida has been on Lilyana Arielle Fey's radar since the early 2000's. The Peoria native is also a transgender woman, who says she has found solace and community through the music of Against Me!.  
 

Radio Munson 3/23/17

Mar 27, 2017

British singer and icon Vera Lynn celebrated her 100th birthday Monday.  She is revered for helping hold a reeling Great Britain together during the bleak early years of World War II.  Don remembers Vera Lynn and plays her memorable song,”We’ll Meet Again” on this week’s Radio Munson, plus Ray Charles, Paul McCartney, Sarah Vaughan, and more.

Radio Munson 3/16/17

Mar 21, 2017

There is a TV commercial currently playing nation-wide that uses the song “The Best Things In Life Are Free” as background.  But who’s recording is that?  Take a seat in New York’s famed Copacabana nightclub on this week’s Radio Munson and find out.  Judy Garland gets a jump on St Patrick’s Day with “It’s a Great Day for the Irish,”  Louis Armstrong contributes a vocal, and pianist Gene Harris plays “It Might As Well Be Spring."

Radio Munson 3/9/17

Mar 10, 2017

The Diva Jazz Orchestra is on this week’s Radio Munson along with Doc Severinsen’s Tonight Show Band, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, and the 1935 song by the Dorsey Brothers Band that caused brothers Tommy and Jimmy to go their separate ways as band leaders for the next 20 years.

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."

Radio Munson 3/2/17

Mar 7, 2017

Don plays an all-time tenor saxophone solo on this week’s Radio Munson when he spins Coleman Hawkins’ recording of “Body and Soul.”  There’s also an exciting vintage track of Count Basie’s band rocking the famed Savoy Ballroom in 1938, featuring Lester Young and Jimmy Rushing; plus Ann Hampton Callaway, a pair of tunes from Curtis Stigers with the Danish Radio Big Band, and a trip into Central Illinois’ past with Tiny Hill, the biggest band leader of them all.

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."

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