WGLT Music Podcast | WGLT

WGLT Music Podcast

WGLT'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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Like many bands, the Bloomington-based quintet Old Smoke used downtime during the pandemic to write and record a new album.

Dan Hubbard during a live online performance from "The Toy Room" in his basement
Dan Hubbard

Family took center stage on Dan Hubbard's new five-song EP “Fall in Love Again (Quarantine Lullabies)”.

Most music planners in the twin cities said they remain optimistic live music will return this summer or fall but moving parts could change those plans at any time.
Nightshop

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has many optimistic a return to something resembling “normal” is approaching. That includes a Bloomington Normal live-music scene gutted by the pandemic. Most music organizers in the Twin Cities said they are shooting for summer and fall performances. 

"That Was the Year That Wasn't" album cover
Rick Valentin

Rick Valentin says dreary central Illinois winter weather is why he began writing and recording new music in January 2020. But that exercise for his solo vehicle, Thoughts Detecting Machines, evolved into an album that acted as a coping mechanism when the pandemic hit.

The new EP from V8 Vast Change is "Life"
Levi Briggs photography

Dominique Stevenson is a very visible Twin City activist who uses his music to spread a message of unity and encouragement. He was on the front lines of social justice marches last summer and even founded the youth-based advocacy group Next Gen Initiative.

Brett Conlin's new EP it titled "The Great Divide"
Nic Gundy Photography

Bloomington singer/songwriter Brett Conlin said a three-month isolation at home with his family last spring became the fodder for his just released acoustic EP "The Great Divide."

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Joe Borbely said creating the debut album for the Bloomington-based Progressive Space rock outfit CAPS LOCK was almost literally a life-saver.

Peoria may not seem fertile ground for birthing a Flamenco band. But a side jam during the making of a compilation CD among area musicians grew into one of Peoria’s newest outfits.

Touring musician Andrew "Blaze" Thomas believes musicians must adapt to downtime the pandemic has forced upon them.

Edward David Anderson performing during the summer of 2019 at the Black Dirt Music Festival in Bloomington
Simeon Marie

The pandemic has hit full-time performing musicians especially hard. There are very few places to perform and in-person audiences are sparse, at best.

Singer-songwriter Leah Marlene's first full-length album is quite a curveball for those that came to her through her 2018 up-tempo, hook-laden debut EP “Arrows.”

Frank Black with WGLTs trophy for the Blues Foundation 'Keeping the Blues Alive' Award
Jon Norton / WGLT

Listen at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, for an hourlong special dedicated to Delta Frank, our legendary blues host. Listen on 89.1 FM or stream at WGLT.org.

WGLT Hall of Famer and longtime blues host Gilbert Frank Black died Sunday of COVID-19-related complications. He was 79. Black served as a blues music host from 1985 until he retired in 2013.

Charlie Starr and Blackberry Smoke play the Corn Crib in Normal Saturday night
Blackberry Smoke

Musicians and concert promoters are working their way back into larger live music events. Blackberry Smoke headlines one of two shows this weekend at the Corn Crib in Normal.

The new album from V8 Vast Change is titled "Civil Disobedience"
Dominique Stevenson

Dominique Stevenson has been a very public figure in Bloomington-Normal this year. He founded the youth-based Next Gen Initiative. The social-justice group initiated several marches and education forums in the Twin Cities this summer.

Normal IL rapper and visual artist Grill Billyenz
Grill Billyenz

Rapper and visual artist Grill Billyenz of Normal says the darker industrial sound on his latest album "Metamorph" comes from the ghost-town feeling he gets working the third shift at his "day job."

Releasing a new album during the coronavirus pandemic has a silver lining for the bluesy Peoria roots-rock trio Hoosier Daddy.

Edward David Anderson plays Nightshop in Bloomington Saturday night
Troy Phillips

Bloomington Americana singer/songwriter Edward David Anderson says his new "Live and Solo" album intentionally tried to capture where he's at in his current iteration.

Ana Popovic plays The Castle Theatre Thursday night
Marco Van Rooijen

Blues guitarist and singer/songwriter Ana Popovic said she mentally worked to overcome doubt when she crashed the male-dominated blues scene two decades ago.

Lara Driscoll plays Jazz UpFront Friday night
Maplewood Photography

Chicago jazz pianist and educator Lara Driscoll credits University of Illinois piano professor Chip Stephens for inspiring the title to her debut album "Woven Dreams."

Jared Grabb plays Nightshop in Bloomington Thursday night
Rodger Hanlon

Peoria native Jared Grabb knew art would be a major part of his life from a young age. But once he arrived in college to study comic book art, he discovered his love of music trumped visual art.

Oak Park native and organ aficionado Neal Francis infuses his original music with the classic soul vibe of the 1960s and 70s. His debut album “Changes” is accompanied by lyrics that document his work to overcome addictions and other demons. A year later, his new single continues that effort.

Taylor Steele says a spicy sound may soon mix with the Illinois prairie sound her Effingham-based band is known for.

Touring the country with bandmates on the strength of major record label releases can sound glamorous.

Eric Johnson plays
Max Crace

During the 30th anniversary year of the release of Eric Johnson's classic album "Ah Via Musicom," the much lauded guitarist said looking back on that album and his other works can be helpful.

deFrance plays Jazz UpFront Tuesday night
deFrance

Drew deFrance loved the comparison of his namesake band with the sound of classic rockers like Bad Company and Mott the Hoople.

Chicago Farmer plays the Castle Theatre Friday night
Bradley J Scott

Bloomington's Cody Diekhoff, known professionally as Chicago Farmer, digs deeper into America's widening economic divide on his new album "Flyover Country."

Acclaimed 37-year-old bluesman Brandon Santini has an award-winning new album and is edging into a newer sound.

Them Coulee Boys play The Castle Theatre Wednesday night
Scotify

Them Coulee Boys frontman Soren Staff wanted the Eau Claire, Wis.-based band’s third album to hang together thematically. Like many bands, their first album was everything they had written prior to forming; their second was mainly leftovers.

David Whiteis, author of "Blue Legacy"
University of Illinois Press

Author David Whiteis believes blues music and blues artists don't get proper recognition as part of the great African-American migration of the 20th century.

Shawn Hoeft of Bloomington believes her son Zac would have celebrated his 29th birthday this year had the unknown gunman who killed him been exposed to conflict resolution.

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