Music Features | WGLT

Music Features

GLT has always been devoted to music. Blues, folk and jazz have been among our offerings for decades but we're also eager to explore just about any musical genre with you.  We love to feature interviews with musicians, visits to record stores, talking about who's rising in the local music scene and telling you about national acts headed our way. Here are some of our best music features. 

Bloomington singer-songwriter Kyle Yap said his father raised him on a steady diet of his classic rock LPs. You can hear the influences during a live Yap show.

Harmonius Wail at Stoughton WI Opera House
Nick Berard

The husband-wife team behind the Madison, Wisconsin-based Harmonious Wail says their resolve to play uplifting music was tested when their son died three years ago.

Shemekia Copeland
Suzanne Foschino

GLT Summer Concert headliner Shemekia Copeland said she was caught off guard when the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois officially declared her to be “The New Queen Of The Blues” at the 2011 Chicago Blues Festival.

Ani DiFranco
GMDThree

Independent singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco has been tackling difficult social and cultural issues for three decades. So it’s no surprise songs she wrote years ago are still relevant, and still stir strong emotions.

For example, the title track to her 1999 album “To The Teeth.”

Jerm Plue, left, and Dirty Rotten Revenge
Jenny-Lee Plue

The Bloomington-Normal music scene has seen a resurgence over the past five to seven years. As GLT reported last year, many give kudos to the Castle Theatre as the catalyst for that surge. But other venues and players are making their own noise.

The Sammy Miller Congregation
Bryon Gaynor

Sammy Miller said he began formulating the idea that jazz needs to return to its dance and entertainment roots while studying at the renowned Juilliard School in New York.

Rose Marshack and Rick Valentin of Poster Children
Chris Schneberger

It’s been 14 years since the now Bloomington-based punk-rock quartet Poster Children has recorded a full-length album.

Samantha Fish returns to the Castle Theatre in Bloomington on Thursday, May 17.
BackstageFlash.net

Kansas City native Samantha Fish said her hometown was a great playground for learning her craft.

“There’s such a steep tradition there. It’s a great jazz and blues town, and a jam scene,” said Fish. “You could go out every night and play with some incredible, top-notch blues players.”

David Berchtold
Jerry Druhan

Piedmont Blues radiated from David Berchtold’s guitar before he even knew that style existed.

The Messtetics, left to right: Brendan Canty, Anthony Pirog, Joe Lally
Antonia Tricarico/Courtesy of the artist

The Messthetics isn’t Fugazi 2.0. Yes, the same rhythm section that drove Fugazi's influential punk/hardcore sound now drives the experimental rock of the Messthetics. And yes, many Fugazi fans are thrilled the quartet has partially reassembled into an instrumental trio.

YouTube / Stone & Snow

When Naia Izumi was announced the winner of the 2018 NPR Tiny Desk Contest, five central Illinois artists said they weren't surprised they were not chosen, as they were among nearly 5,000 entries from all 50 states. 

OC45: A Happy Accident

Apr 21, 2018
OC45, left to right: Nick Tanzi, Adam Femino, Ken Bousquet, Derek Rossi
Bombs Away Photography

On the day before the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, OC45 guitarist Derek Rossi was explaining “Keep Your Guns” from their 2017 album “Happy Accidents.”

John D'earth playing his trumpet
Bob Travis / Wikipedia

It’s odd hearing the director of a university jazz program argue that he is NOT an educator.

Dennis Mackrel at this drumset
Andrzej "Andre" Pilaczyk

From virtually the time he emerged from his mother’s womb, Dennis Mackrel was exposed to a steady diet of jazz.

Chow 4-Piece at Jazz UpFront in Bloomington April 5.
Jon Norton / WGLT

Trombonist Mason Riedel laughed when asked how his Illinois State University Jazz Combo acquired its name. He had just been called by Jazz Up Front owner James Gaston about filling in last minute on a Thursday night.

Billy Strings
Jesse Faatz

Billy Apostol was dubbed "Billy Strings" by his mother for his prowess on a number of stringed instruments at a young age.

Kansas L to R is Richard Williams, Billy Greer, Zak Rizvi, Phil Ehart, Ronnie Platt, David Manion, and David Ragsdale.
Michie Turpin

The words "Congrats you got the job" are likely the five most exciting and terrifying words Ronnie Platt had ever heard.

Dexter O'Neal & Funkyard
http://dexteroneal.com/

“When I got to meet Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, I was on ‘10’ because he was my salvation,” said Dexter O’Neal of the R&B legend who passed away in 2013.

Nightshop during daytime
Jon Norton / WGLT

Longtime local musician and promoter Chris Golwitzer realized a dream this month when he opened Nightshop on the north end of downtown Bloomington.

Ike Reilly (in spotlight)
ikereilly.net

“My connection to Bloomington-Normal is pretty crazy,” said Ike Reilly from his home in Libertyville.

He was referring to guitarists Tommy O’Donnell and Phil Karnats, who will be at his side March 15 when the Ike Reilly Assassination returns to the Castle Theatre.

Jazz vocalist and international cabaret star Spider Saloff agreed jazz artists would be wise to incorporate a more theatrical style into their performances.

Jon Norton / WGLT

Owner James Gaston was sitting at a four-chair circular table in his club on Front Street across from the McLean County Law and Justice Center in downtown Bloomington. It’s been nearly three years since Jazz UpFront opened, and despite the immense pressures of running a live jazz club anywhere in America, jazz is still a staple in his club every Friday and Saturday night.

Gabby Bozeman / WGLT

In 2016 streaming services became the primary way Americans listened to music. But Bloomington-Normal still has three independent record stores, where physical music, mostly vinyl, makes up the vast majority of their sales. Indeed, record stores in the Twin Cities have bucked the current, rising in popularity from a low point about 15 years ago.

The BraziLionaires

The seven-piece Latin-fusion group The BraziLionaires add 50+ pieces to their sound when they merge with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra for their annual Romance Concert.

Courtesy

The Feudin’ Hillbillys. It's a name that conjures both a kind of music and an attitude.

Tom Becker library

Tom Becker graduated from Stanford (IL) High School. That alone will date him.

Kevin Schertz

What would life be without music for Chris Corkery?

“I can’t … ” said Corkery softly, pausing to consider the implications. “Wow … good question. It’s hard for me to even conceptualize that. Music … saved my life in a lot of ways for many years.”

Rebirth Brass Band

If you grow up in New Orleans, you’re going to absorb the musical legacy of that city.

Emmy Holmes-Hicks

Emmy Holmes-Hicks caught the fiddle bug by age 4.

“An older cousin would visit from Thunder Bay, Ontario,” said Holmes-Hicks. “She played Canadian-style fiddle. There was something that just drew me to that music, so much I was just glued to her and I think my parents noticed that.”

Jon Norton / WGLT

Jeff Wilson of North Street Records in Uptown Normal suggests the new Beatles Christmas box set for the Beatles fan who has everything. The box set was released Dec. 15.

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