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Country-folk rocker James McMurtry  attributes his penchant for writing about many different kinds of rural characters to growing up in rural northern Virginia, and to relatives in rural Texas.  And he said he often writes about the dark side of those characters because he gets tired of what he called "the glossing over of real life."

"I get sick of hearing 'what have they done with old home place' over and over again.  Cause I know what they did with the old home place" said McMurtry.  "Grandpa got senile, your evil Aunt Francis got power of attorney and sold it out from under everybody.  That's what happens in the real country."

Radio Munson 9/22/16

Sep 23, 2016

Trumpeter Jonah Jones left his home in Louisville to play jazz on the riverboats that plied the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in the 1920's before touring with Cab Calloway’s band in the 30's and then he re-emerged in the 1950's and 60's as the leader of a small combo that sold a bunch of albums for Capitol Records.  Jonah Jones comes alive again on this week’s Radio Munson along with the classic “Let Me Off Uptown” with vocalist Anita O’Day and trumpeter Roy Eldridge.

Radio Munson 9/15/16

Sep 22, 2016

There might be rain in the weekend forecast but Don is urging all Radio Munson listeners to “Keep Your Sunny Side Up.”  The Hi-Los do honors on the sunny 1929 song.  Plus, Don has the swing bands of Les Elgar, Gordon Goodwin and Les Brown, vocalists Dianne Reeves, the Andrews Sisters and Leon Redbone.

Beth Hart is teasing fans ahead of the release of her new album with the iTunes and Spotify release of the title track.  "Fire On The Floor" is another smoldering blues ballad, a style that has become her calling card.  "Fire On The Floor" might be even more intense than her 2012 Kennedy Center Awards performance of "I'd Rather Go Blind" with Jeff Beck.  When asked for a preview of other songs on her upcoming album, Hart said she took a different approach to songwriting on "Fire On The Floor."

Radio Munson 9/8/16

Sep 20, 2016

Frank Sinatra at his prime from Las Vegas highlights Radio Munson this week.  Frank belts out a pair of songs from the Vegas Sands Hotel, backed by the Count Basie Band.  Don also serves up a Jimmie Lunceford band classic, swinging vocals by Manhattan Transfer, Carmen McRae, and the Hot Sardines, plus a breathtaking solo from guitar virtuoso Joe Pass.

egkight.com

"Georgia Songbird" E.G. Kight talks with GLT's Jon Norton.

Flaccid

Nolan Kelly and Nick Ward of Flaccid said they can't remember seriously considering another name for their Bloomington-Normal based band.  Ward recalled "Captain something or other."   Kelly laughed and said "Once you go with Flaccid you never go back." When pressed further, Kelly adamantly said no other name came to mind. "You have to be pretty sure of yourself when you settle on a name like that" declared Kelly.

Ward and Kelly said the band name starts a few snickering conversations.

"Usually at first it's a pretty good laugh" said Kelly.  "But once they hear the music or get what it's about, they're usually pretty impressed it's a little more under the surface than what they might have expected."

Dave Weld is one of the founding members of the Chicago Blues Band Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials.  But his Chicago Blues history dates back to his time with Ed's uncle, the now legendary bluesman J.B. Hutto.  On this edition of GLT's Talkin Blues, Weld talks to Jon Norton about meeting Hutto and other blues artists when he ventured from white clubs on Chicago's north side to the black clubs on the city's "grittier" west side. 

Chris Monaghan

As one of the top blues harmonica players in the world, Chicago area native Bob Corritore travels the world playing the music he learned to love as a teenager growing up in Wilmette.  Now living in Phoenix, Corritore also owns "The Rhythm Room," a club specializing in blues and roots music.  Corritore also has a regular blues show on a Phoenix radio station, and is an enthusiastic blues ambassador and historian.  On this edition of GLT's Talkin' Blues, Corritore talks to Jon Norton about hearing the blues as a teen. 

Marty Rickard

Shaun Murphy returns to central Illinois to perform at the 2016 Blues Blast Music Awards September 23 at the Fluid Events Center in Champaign.  Murphy is nominated for Female Blues Artist, a category she won in 2012 when GLT Blues Radio broadcast the awards show live from Buddy Guys Legends in Chicago.  In addition to fronting her own band, Murphy has a distinguished music background.

Radio Munson 8/25/16

Aug 31, 2016

Don salutes the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and its young singer, Frank Sinatra, on this week’s Radio Munson, along with Harry Connick, Jr., Peggy Lee, June Christy, plus some memories of Toots Thielemans.

James Christopher

At this time last year, Walter Trout was still re-gaining his strength following a liver transplant the year prior.  Today Trout sounds strong and happy to be alive.  When a 16 year old recording of a performance at the Tampa Bay Blues Festival was brought to his attention, specifically his aside saying he was appreciating his mortality more than ever as friends and family were beginning to die, Trout took a deep breath and said "I feel right now even more that every day is a bonus, every breath is beautiful.  Like 'there's another breath, I got to do that again'."

Marc Murphy

Chicago native Greg Murphy has been a fixture on the New York City jazz scene since the 1980's, performing and recording with numerous jazz luminaries.  Ahead of his show at The Promontory in Chicago August 25,
the one time Illinois State University computer science student talked with GLT's Jon Norton about his new album "Summer Breeze."  Murphy said among  the songs he recorded for the album were originals he wrote nearly 30 years ago.

A. BANKS/MRTJAZZ.COM

Mardra and Reggie Thomas are a husband-wife jazz team from DeKalb, Illinois.  Mardra is a vocalist with a theatrical background.  Reggie is a pianist and coordinator of the jazz program at Northern Illinois University.  They'll play the Front Street Music Fest in downtown Bloomington August 20, where they'll feature music from their new album "Matters of the Heart."  Reggie Thomas said he appreciates when fans refer to their recordings as "albums."

Radio Munson 8/18/16

Aug 18, 2016

One of Duke Ellington’s most haunting compositions was “Creole Love Call,” and Duke’s band plays it on this week’s Radio Munson; plus a newly-discovered recording by jazz guitar innovator Wes Montgomery, vocals from Billy Eckstine, Johnny Hartman, and Eydie Gorme, and a rousing 1938 concert swinger by Benny Goodman.

Dylan Langille (OntheDL)

Transcendental Folk is a term often used to describe the music of Nederland, Colorado based Elephant Revival.   The town of 1500 sits in the rarified hills just southwest of Boulder. 8200 feet above sea level, this mountain town with a mining past has a burgeoning music scene far surpassing its small population.  Elephant Revival's fiddle player Bridget Law says the high profile artists utilizing the now legendary Caribou Ranch Recording Studio just outside Nederland helped the town become home to a concentrated group of talented musicians.

Radio Munson 8/11/16

Aug 16, 2016

How hot is it?  Don totes out the ultimate cooler on this week's Radio Munson, “T’aint No Sin (To Take Off Your Skin and Dance Around In Your Bones)”  Drummer Gregg Field’s band plays “The Heat’s On,”  Mizz Elizabeth and The Hot Sardines offer “Honeysuckle Rose,” and 1950s pop star Frankie Laine show his jazz chops with Buck Clayton’s band singing “Until the Real Thing Comes Along."

Radio Munson 8/4/16

Aug 9, 2016

Radio Munson returns to GLT from summer vacation with Andy Farber's "Seems Like Old Times" kicking off a swinging Thursday evening.  Don has lined up sides from Will Bradley's band, vocalists Lena Horne, Nat Cole and Diana Krall plus, as we head into the dog days of summer, an upbeat Artie Shaw version of "Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog gone."

@jeffbeckmusic

60 years into a career seems like an odd time to shake things up, but for iconic guitarist and blues-man Jeff Beck, the timing could not be any more perfect.

Miami bluesman Albert Castiglia returns to central Illinois early next month, and this time he's touring on what critics are calling his finest album.  Castiglia says he agrees with with what his critics are saying about the album titled "Big Dog," and credits the albums producer Mike Zito.

"Because Mike and I are cut out of a similar cloth musically, and we both grew up listening to blues and rock music made it a good pairing. There's an edge to this album.  Mike dialed in my guitar sound. When we met at the studio, he brought his trailer full of all the equipment he owns.  We experimented with sound and he really got my guitar sound to what I sound like live.  And vocally he pushed me to heights I never thought possible."

Required Listening: The First Half of 2016

Jul 22, 2016
@carseatheadrest

2016 has been a year of major loss in the music community. But halfway through the year, an incredible array of music has been released to help the healing process. WGLT's Taylor Bauer takes a look at five releases that caught his eye in the first half of 2016.

Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool

@chrisyoungmusic

Country music is changing in just about every way. A more pop-friendly sound, sold out stadium tours, and a fresh batch of new talent is challenging tradition and moving the genre to new heights. Don't panic; the classic country style is still alive and well.

Radio Munson 7/14/16

Jul 18, 2016

Benny Carter, Andy Kirk’s Clouds of Joy, Dinah Shore, Cab Calloway and Liza Minelli help Don turn back the clock on this week’s Radio Munson, plus, for good measure, a rousing version of “How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm After They’ve Seen Paree."

This is a story of an improbable musical collaboration. It all began years ago, when a central Illinois woman bore two sons. One was given up for adoption. The second she raised with her husband. The two half-brothers met for the first time six years ago, and quickly found the musical interests they shared ran deep. WGLT's Jon Norton has their story.

Radio Munson 7/7/16

Jul 11, 2016

Perhaps the greatest jazz solo ever recorded happened in Newport, Rhode Island, during the early morning hours 60 years ago this Thursday.  The spontaneous occasion closed the last set at the third annual Newport Jazz Festival with the Duke Ellington Orchestra on stage and tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves at the mic.  What happened next was jazz magic, and Don puts you there in the front row, 60 years ago, on this week’s Radio Munson.  

Dave Frenzia

Jazz has taken Normal native Adam Larson to nearly all points on the globe.  The U-High grad has also been on the receiving end of critical praise from high places.  Longtime Chicago Tribune jazz critic Howard Reich says Larson is “a player for whom the word ‘prodigious’ was coined.”  Despite the acclaim, Larson said he still struggles with high, self-imposed expectations.

"Sometimes during school I spent an inordinate amount of time looking at the wrong stuff.  For example, looking at other people's success as anything else but admiration and joy."

marccohnmusic.com

Twenty-five summers ago, the gospel-tinged pop song "Walking In Memphis" was in heavy rotation on Top-40 radio across the country, including stations in central Illinois.  The song was the first single released from Marc Cohn's eponymous major label debut, peaking at #13 in July of 1991.  Though Cohn continues to record and tour, no other song he has written or recorded since has come close to matching the commercial or chart success of that song. 

Radio Munson 6/30/16

Jul 6, 2016

Some early Independence Day Weekend fireworks on this week’s Radio Munson from Jim Cullum’s Jazz Band, Keely Smith, and trombonists John Allred and Wycliffe Gordon; plus Frank Sinatra, Lee Wiley, Michael Buble and more. 

Jerrod Campbell

Two months ago, NPR's Morning Edition challenged listeners to reinvent its theme music. Submissions since have spanned genres, including ambient, dubstep, reggae, waltz, jazz, and blues. Illinois State University School of Music Professor Mark Grizzard recently took up the challenge.  

Grizzard said he's "an NPR addict" who listens to Morning Edition on his commute from his home in Peoria to his teaching position at ISU, and his Doctoral studies at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.  With choral as his specialty, a choral arrangement of the Morning Edition theme was an obvious choice.

Radio Munson 6/23/16

Jun 24, 2016

Tony Bennett is on Don’s playlist for this week’s Radio Munson, along with Lee Wiley, Joe Williams, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Sarah Vaughan, and the Count Basie Band. 

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