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Music

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.

Amy Harris/Invision / The Associated Press

We think of GLT Blues Radio as the Best Blues Station on Planet Earth because that's what you tell us.

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.

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.

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.

Sandro Campardo / The Associated Press

We think of GLT Blues Radio as the Best Blues Station on Planet Earth because that's what you tell us.

Here are GLT Music Director Jon Norton's Top 10 songs for the week ending Aug. 4, via a Spotify playlist. Like what you hear? Listen to GLT Blues every weekend on-air 89.1 FM, or streaming all day every day on WGLT.org.

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.

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."

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."

Don Oneil / Don O'Neil Photography

A woman in her early 30's embracing honky-tonk? A music genre that peaked decades ago? Sarah Shook has answered the query many times.

"I had a very strange upbringing as far a music goes," explained Shook via phone from her North Carolina home. "I was certainly not exposed to a lot of the pop music that was popular in my age group, then and now."

Henhouse Prowlers

The Chicago based bluegrass quartet Henhouse Prowlers is now a teenager. Founding member and banjo player Ben Wright said despite the title of their latest album, he's not surprised the group is "Still On That Ride" 13 years later.

"When you start something like a band," said Wright. "You don't think too much about the future, because so many bands come and go."

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.
 

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

The 2017 GLT Summer Concert is history. We hope you had a great time! We did! Performers include Edward David Anderson's Black Dirt Revival band, Los Texmaniacs, and Thornetta Davis.

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.

Robert Earl Keen

A conversation with country-folk-rocker Robert Earl Keen is easy and enjoyable. He'll "go on forever" about many topics, including his music, how he lobbies Congress on behalf of musicians, and his friends Lyle Lovett and Joe Ely. But he was especially animated this day talking about children and classical music in his home state of Texas.

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.

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 .

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.

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