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Music

When Normal native Ryan Weisheit played the GLT Summer Concert in 2104 with Sweet Megg & the Wayfarers, he gushed at the time about the thriving "Hot Jazz" scene in his current home base of New York City.  Three years later, he said the scene is still growing, and wondering if the bubble will eventually burst.

"I wonder if there are going to be too many bands and not enough demand, but I think it's still at a pretty healthy ratio right now," said Weisheit.

Radio Munson 2/9/17

Feb 9, 2017

“Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” is a song title but it’s also a statement on American life today.  Don Munson offers a couple of hours of “used to be” on this week’s Radio Munson.  Clark Terry does honors on “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be, Sarah Vaughan sings “My Old Flame,” and Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks play “Stardust,” as nostalgia rules the evening.

Jon Norton / WGLT

WGLT picked up a coveted "Keeping The Blues Alive" award presented by the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee.  GLT Morning Edition host and Music Director Jon Norton accepted the award for the station during the KBA awards luncheon February 3 at the Doubletree Hotel in Memphis. The ceremony coincided with the annual week-long "International Blues Challenge," where musicians from around the world compete for cash, prizes, and industry recognition.

Radio Munson 2/2/17

Feb 3, 2017

The Boswell Sisters of the 1930s were like many of us today—when we get tired of the winter cold, we try to get away for a while. Unlike most of us, though, the Boswell girls opted to “Shuffle off to Buffalo.”  The Boswell Sisters are on this week’s Radio Munson, along with the Delta Rhythm Boys, who take the A Train, and Anita O’Day, who reports “Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year."

Nathan Bridges

On the pleasure/pain continuum, Karen Bridges and Clint Thomson of the Bloomington-Normal folk duo "Stone & Snow" concede the latter often wins out.

Radio Munson 1/26/17

Jan 26, 2017

Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli were both born during the 4th week of January—violinist Grappelli on January 26th, 1908, in Paris, and guitarist Reinhardt on January 23rd two years later in Belgium.  When the two jazz virtuosos signed on as the new house band at the Hot Club of France in the early ‘30s they made history founding a jazz genre that flourishes today.  Don features some “Gypsy Jazz” from the Quintet of The Hot Club of France on this week’s radio Munson.

Jamie Day

Psychedelic-rock in its late 1960's heyday was an attempt to enhance and replicate the effects of psychedelic drugs.  It was also a reaction to the social and political turbulence of that era.  Aesop Adams and Aaron Dooley of the Bloomington-Normal based psych-rock band Gay Neighbors see a correlation between the late 1960's and today.

Colin Marshall

Mucca Pazza ("Crazy Cow") founding member Rick Kubes said the forming of the 30-odd member marching band was organic.  He gives kudos to fellow founder Mark Messing, the band's original director, choreographer, and music director.

Radio Munson 1/19/17

Jan 20, 2017

The term “Lounge Act” has become such a caricature in recent years that Don Munson thinks it is doing a gross injustice to the great artists who have flourished in small jazz clubs and lounges thru the decades.  So he’s inviting you to drop by the Radio Munson West Jazz Lounge this week to hear Bobby Troup, Carmen McRae, Matt Dennis, Ben Webster, Blossom Dearie, Gene Harris, and more.  It’s small group jazz at its best—not a big band in the house! 

Radio Munson 1/12/17

Jan 13, 2017

There’s a whole bunch of boogie boogie on this week’s Radio Munson, along with a song from the award-winning musical “La La Land,” the fight song of the football champion Clemson Tigers, a New Orleans rouser from Pete Fountain and Al Hirt, plus the big bands of Woody Herman and Stan Kenton.

Ryan Kindig

Brandon DaZ recalls playing beats and singing by the time he was barely one-year-old.  As the son of legendary Bloomington-Normal DJ Joe Beck, who has also been a drummer for a number of central Illinois bands over the last three decades, it's not surprising the apple fell close to his father's tree.

"From my Dad practicing with his bands and me going to his gigs, it was always music," said DaZ

Karen Bridges

Bloomington's Dan Hubbard recently made the transition from fronting his band "The Humadors" to solo artist. He has also adopted a storytellers point-of-view to his songwriting, crediting Tom Petty producer Ryan Ulyate, who he got to know by phone. 

"And when I was in L.A. doing a couple shows, he invited me to his house.  He listened to my stuff, critiqued me, and said I needed to consider something Tom does, which is tell more stories instead of talking about my feelings and what I'm doing," said Hubbard.

Radio Munson 1/5/17

Jan 5, 2017

Radio Munson comes swinging into 2017 with Ella Fitzgerald, Slim & Slam, Nancy Wilson, Ray Charles, the Pointer Sisters, Pokey LaFarge and, for good measure, Spike Jones and his City Slickers.

Radio Munson 12/29/16

Jan 3, 2017

Sarah Vaughan is front and center for this week’s Radio Munson, along with Kay Starr, Mark Murphy, Jack Teagarden, and the big bands of Glenn Miller, Frankie Carle and Buck Clayton.

Radio Munson 12/22/16

Dec 23, 2016

Don dusts off some Holiday and Winter swingers for this week’s Radio Munson from the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Jo Stafford, Duke Ellington, Peggy Lee, Steve Tyrell and Diana Krall. 

Radio Munson 12/15/16

Dec 15, 2016

Jimmy Rushing, Jane Monheit and Nat “King” Cole contribute to this week’s Radio Munson, along with jazz violinist Johnny Frigo, guitarist Joe Pass and stride pianist Jeff Barnhart, plus a tribute to bandleader Glenn Miller.

Joe Borbely of Bloomington-Normal's Jack Dupp & the Empty Bottles said Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam taught him to sing.

"As an awkward teenager, I recall listening to a lot of Pearl Jam.  They were the first band I connected with, so Eddie kind of taught me how to sing ... in my car.  I'm still learning how to let go of him and let myself be him," said Borbely.

hurricaneruth.com

"Hurricane" Ruth LeMaster came to music through her parents. Her father was a trumpet player who fell under the spell of all kinds of music, including Dixieland, blues, jazz, big band, R&B and bluegrass.  As a young girl she absorbed that music, as well as the different sounds from the Friday night jam sessions along the Illinois river during the summers in her hometown of Beardstown, Illinois.

Radio Munson 12/8/16

Dec 8, 2016

Sammy Davis, Junior belts out a tune with the Basie Band on this week’s Radio Munson, along with classics from the bands of Stan Kenton and Sammy Nestico, swinging vocals from Ray Charles and Sarah Vaughan, a 1936 jewel from the Mills Brothers, and a track from the only album made featuring the Ellington and Basie bands together.

jgullo / Flickr

It wasn't just Sly & the Family Stone, James Brown, and Earth, Wind & Fire that caught the ear of a young Karl Denson in the 1970's.

"The jazz was really funky too," said Denson.  "Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis and all that stuff was going on. It was a pretty fertile time."

"Lay These Weapons Down" is a musical departure for Rebecca Rego & the Trainmen.  Where their now two-year-old "Tolono" album is firmly rooted in folk, "Weapons" shows the quartet veering into more contemporary territory, including horns and other colors.  Rebecca Rego said that musical evolution coincided with personal difficulties the band experienced since "Tolono."

http://madisonhouseinc.com/delta-rae/

Brittany Holljes of Delta Rae said Joni Mitchell was her go-to music while growing up, and the one artist who stuck with her over the years.  Give credit to her parents, as Mitchell was also her mother's favorite singer, and said her father would even pump himself up for high school and college wrestling matches listening to Joni Mitchell.

"I can image Michael Phelps making that face before he swims listening to Joni Mitchell," laughed Holljes. "His connections to her lyrics calmed his nerves and centered him."

Radio Munson 11/24/16

Nov 24, 2016

Don Munson is pretty sure you’ll be ready to dive into the leftovers by 7 o’clock Thanksgiving night, so he’s serving up some musical leftovers on Radio Munson—songs by great artists that he has been meaning to play but hasn’t gotten to.  Count Basie offers a swinger called “Dinner With My Friends,” Nat “King" Cole and Johnny Mercer harmonize on “Save the Bones for Henry Jones,” and Diana Krall offers “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep." 

Nathan Keay

That the punk-rock quartet Poster Children didn't break through to wider acclaim in the 1990's speaks to the vagaries of pop stardom.  Why did Spin Doctors chart in the Top-20 twice while mentioning Poster Children still elicits blank stares from most, even by fans of 1990's music?  As many critics have said, "it's a crime." 

Singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer is perhaps to the Midwest what Bruce Springsteen is the the New Jersey shore.

Her lyrics evoke not only a landscape, but a Midwestern sensibility of neighborliness and an appreciation for tradition, common sense and the land.

Her rich alto voice, acoustic guitar work and knack for capturing the sacred in the ordinary have delighted Twin City audiences for decades.

Radio Munson 11/17/16

Nov 18, 2016

Radio Munson returns to Tucson this week and Don remains in awe of the Super Moon we’ve witnessed in recent days.  That calls for swinging take on “How High the Moon,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” and ”On Moonlight Bay” from the bands of Gene Krupa, Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller.  Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’” is also on the playlist along with sides from Erroll Garner, Dianne Reeves, and a duet by Ella and Satchmo.

Edward David Anderson has been flying solo as a folk/country/rock artist since Backyard Tire Fire announced an "indefinite hiatus" in 2011.  With two critically acclaimed albums since 2014 and a touring  schedule that keeps his cars odometer spinning, the multi-instrumental Anderson has found his sea legs post-BTF.  But he didn't find them overnight.

Janae Thomason

Though it's been done successfully, being band mates with a romantic partner can be fraught with ... challenges.  Where does business end and personal begin?  When is a decision final and who makes that decision?  What if one of the two becomes the breakout performer?

Husband and wife Jay and Jenae Thomason ARE the Bloomington-Normal based acoustic duo Hot Sauce Universe.   Jenae said playing with Jay in HSU brought them closer together.

"We connected hard from the get-go," said Jenae.

Paul Natkin

Rocking through what is now album 10 in a 30 year career with the legendary Alligator Records, Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials show no sign of slowing down.  Though not as nimble as when he regularly performed back bends and toe walks, the energy and crunching houserockin' blues Lil' Ed Williams and his bandmates generate is as authentic as their late label mate Hound Dog Taylor.   Reflecting on those three decades of recording and performing, Williams said he has lived his dream.

“The funny thing about it, when I was walking around praying to the good Lord above saying what I wanted out of life, which was a wife and family, and a nice house to live in, I never asked for too much.  We start asking and we get greedy, you know.  And here it is: 19 (years of marriage) and 30 years later, I pretty much got what I asked for,” said Williams.

Radio Munson 11/10/16

Nov 11, 2016

Don is back in The Friendly Confines for this Week's Radio Munson, swinging out from the GLT studios with the Duke Ellington and Les Brown bands, Blossom Dearie, Ernie Andrews and the Manhattan Transfer, plus Lionel Hampton's famous recording of "Ring Them Bells!"

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