Sessions From Studio A

Sessions from Studio A - The Midnight Purchase

May 13, 2021

Indie/Americana band The Midnight Purchase joins us on this week's edition of Sessions from Studio A. Nominated for the "New Artist of the Year" award in Milwaukee in early 2020, the band was riding high but then had their world shifted by the pandemic. After finding inspiration while attending the Black Lives Matter protests, songwriter Orlando Peña assembled a new lineup and began writing some of the new songs we'll hear on this week's show. We'll also talk with members of The Midnight Purchase about their music, inspirations, and more.

Sessions from Studio A - Mirabilia

May 6, 2021

Indie/Alternative band Mirabilia is our guest on this week's show! You wouldn't believe it from their set, but this is the band's first ever performance outside of the practice space. Mirabilia formed right at the start of the current pandemic, but has used the time to tighten their sound and record an EP. You can find that debut EP streaming everywhere now and keep an eye out for a new single "Kind Lion" coming from the band this weekend.

Sessions from Studio A - Addison Jordan Trio

Apr 29, 2021

Join us this week for a mix of jazz standards and original compositions from the Addison Jordan Trio. These three musicians met while attending the Jazz Studies program at Northern Illinois University's School of Music. Our production intern Jared Ortega takes over as guest host for this week's show! Join him for an interview with members Addison Jordan, Chano Cruz, and Tyler Steege.

Find more from Addison Jordan on his website.

Sessions from Studio A - Marques Morel

Apr 22, 2021

Singer-songwriter Marques Morel joins us for this week's show. Inspired by sounds from country, blues, and folk, as well as the spirit of the American west, his latest album is titled Trail of the Ghost. Hear songs from that album performed live and a talk with Marques Morel along with bassist Ben Johnson and mandolin player Tracy Fleck.

Pick up a copy of the new record Trail of the Ghost on Marques Morel's website.

Sessions from Studio A - Joel Baer Trio

Apr 15, 2021

Joel Baer is a drummer and bandleader of the Blueshift Big Band based in Chicago, where they play music in the tradition of Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Join us as the Joel Baer Trio brings the sound and energy of a full big band into Studio A with this performance. We'll also talk with members Matt Ulery, Carl Kennedy, and Joel Baer about their backgrounds and some of their many side-projects.

Find more from Joel Baer on Bandcamp and his website.

Sessions from Studio A - Mathew Ray Fichter

Apr 8, 2021

Mathew Ray Fichter brings his beautifully honest songwriting to Studio A this week. Join us for a live performance recorded in Studio A, with music from Fichter's solo record "Hell Camino" which is out now on Mostly Annoyed Records and also Bandcamp. We'll also talk with the singer-songwriter about his background and his songwriting, plus Dan Edmunds will tell us more about his label, Mostly Annoyed. 

Sessions from Studio A - Olivia Ports

Apr 1, 2021

Join us for a live performance from singer-songwriter Olivia Ports on this week's show! This young performer from Aurora has a big story to tell. Her new EP Hospital Prom is out now everywhere and was inspired by Olivia's own experiences fighting a primary immunodeficiancy. Listen for a live set from Olivia Ports and guitarist Chris Leonard, recorded in Studio A. We'll also talk with Olivia about her music and the stories behind some of her songs.


Initially inspired by the first wave of post-punk, The Funeral March of the Marionettes has continued to evolve their sound and release new music thoughout the band's existence. Their latest EP Solace was released in the spring of 2020 and is available on their Bandcamp page

We'll hear tracks from that EP in this episode, along with a live performance from the band recorded in Studio A. We'll also talk about their background, inspirations, and Mattel drum machines on this new edition of Sessions from Studio A!   

Sessions from Studio A - Los Compadres del Tango

Mar 18, 2021

We have a special, unique edition of Sessions from Studio A this week, with Rockford's Los Compadres del Tango. The duo is made up of pianist Erik Olson and Jacques Saint-Cyr playing flute. This is a new genre for us in Studio A, and it was a joy to learn more about the culture and history of tango. We hope you'll learn something new as well!

Check out some behind-the-scenes video below from Los Compadres del Tango's live performance in WNIJ's Studio A. 

Sessions from Studio A - Joe Nanzer

Mar 11, 2021

Our guest this week is singer-songwriter Joe Nanzer. He's released a string of singles over the past two years that you can find on Spotify, Apple Music, and all your usual streaming platforms. Hear him perform those songs live in Studio A this hour. We'll also talk with Joe Nanzer about his background, his influences, and about the stories behind some of his songs. That's all on this week's edition of Sessions from Studio A.

If you are a local artist interested in being featured on our show, send us a submission at

Sessions from Studio A - Emily Hurd

Mar 4, 2021

Emily Hurd does it all. She's a musician, a mother, chef, and restaurant owner of The Norwegian in Rockford. Despite the chaos of owning a restaurant in 2020, Emily still found time last year to record and release her latest record "Nightshades". We'll hear songs from that album performed live in Studio A on this week's show, and we'll talk with Emily about her music, The Norwegian, and more.

Sessions from Studio A - Mark Walters (Kram)

Feb 25, 2021

"Paralysis by Analysis" is the new album out now from DeKalb artist Mark Walters, also known as Kram. Join us for this week's show featuring music from that album and more, performed live in WNIJ's Studio A. We'll also talk with Mark Walters about his background, inspirations, and about writing and producing Paralysis by Analysis.   

Sessions from Studio A - Glory Days

Feb 18, 2021

Glory Days is a high-energy pop punk and alternative band from the Chicago suburb of Wauconda. Their debut record "The Roads We've Traveled" was released in 2016, shortly after the band's formation, and they've released a string of singles in the past few years.

Sessions from Studio A - the bellow & the whale

Feb 11, 2021

We are joined this week by the incredibly talented duo the bellow & the whale for their second appearance on our show! Join us for a talk with Julia Lee Norris and Bianca Goyette about their new pair of EPs, including The Noise Still Lingers and their brand new EP coming out tomorrow.

You can find those EPs available on their Bandcamp page, and be sure to check out more from the bellow & the whale on their website.

Sessions from Studio A - Krystee Wylder

Feb 4, 2021

Join us for original music by Krystee Wylder on this week's show. Krystee is a central Illinois native who has spent time living in Rockford and Chicago. Her sound is a unique mix of singer-songwriter folk and pop. Hear her live performance in Studio A and check out some behind the scenes videos below. We'll also talk with Krystee about her background, her music, and about how she almost lost the ability to sing forever... that's all on this week's edition of Sessions from Studio A!

Sessions from Studio A - Derek Luttrell

Jan 21, 2021
Corporate Panda Records

Derek Luttrell returns to Sessions from Studio A on this week's episode. We've heard Derek on the show before with his bands Name the Moon and more recently Sickhorse, but this time he's back with a new solo album, The Wolf Who Cried Boy. Join us as we listen through The Wolf Who Cried Boy and talk with Derek Luttrell about putting the album together.

Sessions from Studio A - The Reggie Thomas Quartet

Jan 14, 2021

Jazz returns to Sessions from Studio A this week with The Reggie Thomas Quartet, featuring acclaimed pianist and current head of Jazz Studios at Northern Illinois University, Reggie Thomas, along with guitarist Bobby Broom, drummer George Fludas, and bassist Dennis Carroll. The quartet gives us a passionate performance in Studio A, and we'll also hear a conversation with band members about their jazz backgrounds and their thoughts on the social justice protests of the past year. 

Sessions from Studio A - Cora Vasseur

Jan 7, 2021

Join us for original music from DeKalb singer-songwriter Cora Vasseur. Cora is a newer songwriter who has had a unique path to music. She started songwriting while in Second City's Comedy Writing program, and first began to sing while at her current job working with children with autism, when she discovered her voice helped calm the students.

Sessions from Studio A - The Jimmys

Dec 24, 2020

Join us as we celebrate the holidays with The Jimmys on this week's edition of Sessions from Studio A. The Wisconsin blues band joined us for a live performance in Studio A with music from their latest record, Gotta Have It, as well as some Christmas tunes.

You can pick up a copy of that new album, and find more music from The Jimmys, on their website. Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Sessions from Studio A - Ganser

Dec 17, 2020

Chicago art-punk band Ganser joins us on this week's edition of Sessions from Studio A. Hear a performance recorded in Studio A with music from the band's new album, Just Look At That Sky. We'll also talk with Ganser about putting that album together, playing at last year's Riot Fest, and about their experiences during the pandemic.


Join us for a special edition of Sessions from Studio A with Ralph Wesley Carr and Old Town Tribune. We caught up with this trio of bluegrass virtuosos for a live set at the former House Cafe in DeKalb, now known as the Northern Illinois Center for Arts and Music. 

Sessions from Studio A - Renee Nanzer

Dec 3, 2020

Chicago multi-instrumentalist and music teacher Renee Nanzer is our special guest this week. We'll hear a performance from her recorded live here in Studio A, and we'll also talk with Renee about her experience working with Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music. Renee is part of the school's outreach program, where she visits underserved neighborhoods in the city and brings her love of music to the youth living there. 

Sessions from Studio A - Cathy Grier

Nov 19, 2020

Blues artist Cathy Grier joins us on this week's edition of Sessions from Studio A. Grier's musical adventure has taken her many places, from sneaking backstage to meet John Lee Hooker and Bonnie Raitt at age 17, to winning MTV's Basement Tapes competition, to co-writing a #1 dance hit in France. Thoughout her journey, Grier has never forgotten her blues and groove roots, and this year she makes a big statement with the new album "I'm All Burn".

Sessions from Studio A - Glitter

Nov 12, 2020

Rockford duo Glitter makes a big statement with their debut album "The Men We Could Have Been". After years of playing in rock and punk bands, guitarist/vocalist Ben Johnson and drummer Jordan Acosta were sick of the over-the-top egos and macho attitudes, so they wanted to go in a completely different direction.

Sessions from Studio A - Anna May

Nov 5, 2020

Singer-songwriter Anna May was scheduled to stop by Studio A on her way through Illinois back in April. 2020 had different plans for us, but we liked her new album so much we knew we needed to get her on the show anyways, so she joins us on the phone from her hometown of Waterford, Connecticut. Listen to her new album, "I'm Still Thinking of You" and join us for a conversation with Anna May in this hour of Sessions from Studio A.

Sessions from Studio A - The Flips

Oct 29, 2020

The Flips are a five-piece rock band from Chicago with a big, big sound. I asked them to describe their music and they answered with one word: "loud". Hear their live performance at WNIJ on this edition of Sessions from Studio A and join us for a conversation with the band about their backgrounds, life since COVID, and more. 

Sessions from Studio A - Eric Peter Schwartz

Oct 15, 2020

Singer-songwriter Eric Peter Schwartz joined us in Studio A with his trusty road sidekick, Tourbot. Eric's music is incredibly dynamic, he plays everything from quirky songs about Dungeons & Dragons to deep ballads about a marriage ending. He even released two ambient albums this year, along with a triology of albums called "The Isolation Tapes". 

Sessions from Studio A - Sweetie

Oct 1, 2020

Punk rock duo Sweetie joins us on Sessions from Studio A this week! We'll hear songs from their new album "Bad Thing Sweet Thing" which is out now on Bandcamp and all your usual streaming platforms. Also join us for a conversation with guitarist Alli Carroll and drummer Joe Pennington about their new album, social activism, the DeKalb music scene and more. 

Sessions from Studio A - Sickhorse

Sep 24, 2020
Corporate Panda Records

Songwriting duo Derek Luttrell and Mossy Vaughn return to Sessions from Studio A this week with their new band and debut album, Sickhorse. They've graced our studio previously with the band Name the Moon - and what originally started as writing for Name the Moon turned into something else entirely as the songs took on a different character. We'll talk with songwriter and guitarist Mossy Vaughn on his front porch in Rockford, and also get on the phone with Zach Staas, head of Corporate Panda Records in Nashville.

Sessions from Studio A - Bottom Bracket

Sep 10, 2020

Bottom Bracket is a emo rock trio from Springfield, IL who just recently released a new album titled "I Don't Care Enough to Stay". Emo rock is a style that grew from the punk and post-punk scenes of the late 80's and early 90's, but features more complex melodies, experimental song structure, and an emphasis on emotional vocals. Bottom Bracket brings their own unique sound to the genre, with influences from math rock that is evident in guitarist Mario Cannamela's intricate playing and tapping. Listen to Bottom Bracket's live performance in Studio A right here!