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. 

David Lowery, front, and Johnny Hickman of Cracker
Bradford Jones

If David Lowery did nothing else but write and record “Teen Angst” for his early 90s debut Cracker album, it would be one heckuva song to be remembered for.

The crackling rocker takes an apparent jab at folk music and conventional wisdom with one of the great lines in a rock song:

Lauren Jenkins plays The Castle Theatre Friday night.
Michael Church

Big Machine label group artist Lauren Jenkins utilized her background in acting and film directing to produce a video short to compliment three traditional music videos related to her new album.

Matt Anderson, Edward David Anderson and Tim Kramp of Backyard Tire Fire
Edward David Anderson

Black Dirt Music Festival founder Edward David Anderson says the outdoor July event next to the Castle Theatre is intended to celebrate the best features of Bloomington-Normal.

Brandon Chopp won the IWU Phi Beta Kappa Liberal Arts Scholar Award for his thesis on Frank Zappa
Brandon Chopp

Recent Illinois Wesleyan grad Brandon Chopp picked up the Phi Beta Kappa Liberal Arts Scholar Award at the Bloomington school for his senior thesis on the late 1960s musical output of provocative songwriter Frank Zappa.

Travis Thacker (sax) and Ryan Nolan (bass)
Robert Clark / RobotFresh

The Bloomington-Normal instrumental powerhouse Disorganizer unveils its first full-length album Friday night when the quartet performs at Nightshop in downtown Bloomington.

Poster Children vocalist and lyricist Rick Valentin said his one-man project Thoughts Detecting Machines allows him to flesh out ideas not necessarily a fit for Poster Children.

The Musical 'Rock of Ages' plays the BCPA Wednesday night
Jeremy Daniel

The Broadway musical “Rock of Ages” is a send-up to the outrageous hair and costumes especially favored by 1980s hair-metal acts.

Patrick Sweany
Joshua Black Wilkins

When bluesman Patrick Sweany plays Jazz UpFront on Saturday night, he'll be sporting a new release, and a new recording he says gave him goosebumps during the recording process.

Adia Victoria headlines the GLT Summer Concert June 8
Red Light Management

South Carolina native Adia Victoria is often described as a blues woman with elements of punk, gospel, and goth. Not unlike Flannery O’Connor, one of her favorite authors.

Gangstagrass performs Tuesday at The Castle Theatre in Bloomington
Sean Jamar

You might think bluegrass and hip-hop would mix like oil and water, but Gangstagrass banjoist Dan Whitener says the band attracts bluegrass fans being turned onto hip-hop for the first time, and hip-hop heads who get into bluegrass through Gangstagrass.

Reverberation Vinly's John Anderson holding the album "My Pharaoh, My King" by  John Moloney and Anthony Pasquarosa
Jon Norton / WGLT

Reverberation Vinyl owner John Anderson is enamored with many styles of folk, psychedelic and instrumental music. That music is often on the turntable when you enter his store across from Illinois Wesleyan in Bloomington.

Duane Betts and Devon Allman
Allman Betts Band

When you're the son of an Allman Brothers founder, music doors can open easier ... but expectations are higher.

Devon Allman and Duane Betts know this firsthand.

Dan Hubbard playing the keyboard
Troy Phillips

Bloomington singer-songwriter Dan Hubbard was so pleased with his 2016 self-titled album, he decided to put music aside. He even enrolled in seminary school.

Jamie Day

Twin City musicians Gregg Brown and Trenton Perry may seem an odd pairing. Brown came of age during the late 60s hippie movement, Perry grew up in the 90s enamored with the music of Blink-182 among other favorites from the 80s and 90s.

Promotional poster for Kool Ray & the Polaroidz, circa 1980s
Tracy Pitts / Stormbrew Music

Members of the 1980s central Illinois band Kool Ray & the Polaroidz reunite Sunday evening at Daddios in downtown Bloomington for a musical celebration of life for the man who managed them.

Brianne Murphy playing Durand Jones on the turntable at Waiting Room Records
Jon Norton / WGLT

The sound of classic soul music is enjoying a renaissance. Artists including Sharon Jones & the DapKings, Leon Bridges, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, and Jill Scott have taken inspiration from late 60s and early 70s soul when writing and recording new music.

Dire Wolves
Dire Wolves

Record store culture is in the blood of Jeffrey Alexander.

“I’m a complete record nerd,” said the Dire Wolves band member. “Just like everybody who plays this kind of music, I’m sure."

Miles Nielsen is a homebody. Despite (or perhaps because of) heavy touring with his own band The Rusted Hearts and spending his youth traveling the world with his father's band Cheap Trick, he continues to make Rockford his home.

Kelly Ogden and Luis Cabezas
The Dollyrots

The Dollyrots lead vocalist/bassist Kelly Ogden said moving from Florida to Los Angeles in 2002 and then forming their own record label a decade later have been shrewd life decisions.

Daniel Watkins
Troy Phillips

Alt-folk and newgrass singer-songwriter Daniel Watkins felt somewhat isolated growing up in Henry, a town today of roughly 2,300 on the west side of the Illinois River about 45 minutes northeast of Peoria.

Anthony Gomes
Stephen Jensen

Blues-rocker Anthony Gomes says he's donating a portion of the proceeds of his Friday show at the Castle Theatre to the Twin Cities-based HEAL Foundation, which supports autism acceptance.

Way Down Wanderers, left to right, John Merikoski, Travis Kowalsky, John WIlliams, Austin Krause-Thompson, Collin Krause
Keith Cotton

The Peoria-based Way Down Wanderers are giddy their just released second full-length album “Illusions” is currently No. 3 on Billboard Magazine’s Bluegrass chart.

Vandoliers
Mike Brooks

Dallas-based Vandoliers' recent deal with respected Chicago indie label Bloodshot Records was a big deal.

Sierra Hull
Sierra Hull

Sierra Hull fell in love with the mandolin almost immediately after her father taught her a few songs on the instrument.

The Bloomington-Normal based rock/pop/folk quartet She Said So is intentionally all-female.

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Nigel Beale / Flickr

New Yorker magazine music critic Alex Ross credits his parents' love of both classical music and European and American history for the intimate connection he made between the two disciplines at a young age.

https://www.facebook.com/brushville/videos/2039769556060105/
Brushville

Brushville guitarist Dustin Reynolds said band members have soaked up music industry wisdom since their 2012 “Battle for the Saddle” victory at Nashville’s legendary Wildhorse Saloon.

Neal Francis playing keyboard on his new single "These Are The Days"
Neal Francis / YouTube

Chicago keyboard player Neal Francis said he was knocked out by rootsy New Orleans and Chicago music at a very young age.

Steve Albini, left, with his band Shellac
Vladimir / Flickr

One of America's top music engineers and producers said hearing the pop-punk of the Ramones as a teen changed his life.

The Twin City duo Stone & Snow performs their song "Love Is A Weapon" for the NPR Tiny Desk Concert.
YOUTUBE / STONE & SNOW

Karen Bridges and Clint Thomson of the Bloomington-Normal folk duo Stone & Snow are on a roll with their original song "Love is a Weapon."

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