Music Features | WGLT

Music Features

Jon Norton / WGLT

Michael Klug and Joe Borbely of Bloomington’s Jack Dupp & the Empty Bottles say they have seen both the drought and the resurgence of the central Illinois Music scene. Klug said "it’s about time."

Simply Saucer founder and front man Edgar Breau said he never saw one of the band’s major influences when it played his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, in 1966.

"We looked up the show on microfiche just to see what the review said. The entertainment editor that saw them was completely baffled by the show," said Breau via Skype, referring to the groundbreaking but similarly then obscure Velvet Underground.

Not unlike reaction the proto-punk Simply Saucer was receiving in the early 1970s?

Stefen Robinson qualifies his thoughts even before he voices them. He wants to clarify that his new album under the moniker "Yea Big" has words and concepts that may raise a few eyebrows in central Illinois.

When we last caught up with Ryan Weisheit, “Pokey LaFarge sideman" was new to the musical resume of the co-founder of New York City’s hot jazz ensemble Sweet Megg & the Wayfarers.

Dave Frenzia

Normal native Adam Larson sounded more relaxed than during previous interviews. Has marriage and a very young son mellowed the intensity of the Type-A saxophonist?

Shervin Lainez

Black Crowes founding member Rich Robinson said his new band doesn't feel like the Black Crowes.

Victoria Smith

Tommy Castro has incorporated soul and rock into his blues from nearly the time he began playing music. On his new album “Stompin’ Ground,” he overtly tips his hat to the soul and “hippie-rock” he assimilated while musically coming of age in San Jose, California, in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Kate Ford

The now Chicago-based pop-rock quintet Red Scarves returns to Bloomington-Normal Sept. 30 for a house show, where they will feature songs from their scheduled late October release “Sort Of Scarlet.”

"Hard Rockin’ Woman" is the second song on “Hurricane” Ruth LeMaster’s latest album “Ain’t Ready for the Grave.” It’s an apt description for the Beardstown native.

Mike McMillen / Front Row Perspective

Peoria’s Bret Bunton remembers listening to GLT Blues when he was 6 or 7 years old.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

Courtesy

This is the first time in several years arts advocate Tina Salamone won’t be involved in the Miller Park Summer Musical. But the former director of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, who passed away earlier this year, won’t be forgotten. This year’s production of “Once Upon a Mattress” is being staged in her honor.

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."

Pages