GLT Music Podcast | WGLT

GLT Music Podcast

GLT's Music Director Jon Norton interviews big names and emerging talent from the music world as their travels take them into Central Illinois. Discover eclectic music spanning blues, rock, jazz, and more.

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Defining a griot’s role in West African society can be a challenge, as the title doesn’t translate easily to European-based culture.

Roughly, a griot is fluent in history and has a deep understanding of the culture and lineage of the clan in which they were born into. Historically they would counsel kings and tutor princes, and often counsel other families of means. They’re also storytellers and musicians.

Billy Branch
Melodie Strowbridge

Billy Branch is a Chicago bluesman through and through. But he says many bands we now call classic rock had as much an influence on his sound as did the blues legends that became his mentors.

Reverberation Vinly's John Anderson holding Aretha Franklin's 'Young, Gifted and Black" LP
Jon Norton / WGLT

The contemporary music world lost perhaps its greatest voice Thursday morning when Aretha Franklin passed away at age 76.

Illinois Wesleyan University jazz studies director Glenn Wilson says rare concert footage is a major reason the Thelonious Monk documentary is "a must watch."

Miski Dee Rodriguez, center,and City Mouse
Faith Cardelli

Miski Dee Rodriguez said she left corporate America 15 years ago to follow her true love: Music.

Adam Humphreys and Jessica Wheet of Old Smoke
Adam R. Day, Betania M. Carvalho

The now five member blues-rock outfit Old Smoke has been headlining central Illinois shows and opening for national acts including Samantha Fish and Tommy Castro at the Castle Theatre for roughly three years -- despite no album to sell or promote.

Cody Diekhoff, aka Chicago Farmer
Cody Diekhoff

Cody Diekhoff as his alter ego Chicago Farmer is a riveting live performer who has cultivated a loyal following with folk songs and stories about the American heartland. And especially central Illinois.

Stefen Robinson and his dog Kodo
Jamie Breeck

What to do when words won’t describe the current political landscape in the United States? At least words that can be aired on the radio?

Dominique Stevenson a.k.a 'V8 Vast Change'
Livid Expression

Bloomington hip-hop artist Dominique Stevenson said positive messages and uplifting vibes in his music are connected to his religion. He doesn't believe people can achieve happiness, or good, alone.

Jim Sundberg / Facebook

A new take on an old Irish proverb: Original music is like a four-leaf clover—hard to find and lucky to have.

Howlin Rain
Kristy Walker

John Anderson has filled a record store niche in the Twin Cities with an eclectic mix of genres at Reverberation Vinyl, his store on Main Street across from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.

The Something Brothers (L-R): Gregory Pare, John Ganser, Scott Lee Wilson, Tommy O’Donnell, Edwin Pierce
Scott Harrison

The Something Brothers guitarist Edwin Pierce said it was surprisingly easy for band members to create and record new music together despite a nearly 30-year studio hiatus, and missing a key band member.

Megg Farrell & Friends including Ryan Weisheit, left and Megg Farrell, right.
Natalie Allante

The woman who fronts the Hot Jazz band Sweet Megg & the Wayfarers with Normal native and saxophonist Ryan Weisheit said a desire to tap into her folk and country roots was the impetus to morph into a different lineup with a new name.

Jeff Smudde / WGLT

The last time singer-songwriter Neko Case played the Castle Theatre in Bloomington, the sold-out crowd missed out on her new album. The recording "Hell-On" was still a few months away from release.

Band Of Heathens
Greg Giannukos

Musicians not prone to wade into politics are showing their hand more often in the current political climate.

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. 

With Passion, The Mandolin Orchestra Endures

Apr 27, 2018
Mandolin players rehearsing.
WGLT

Just over 100 years ago, mandolin mania swept across the United States, inspiring people of all ages to pick up the instrument and even form their own amateur groups.

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.

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