Show Spotlight: The Juke Joint

One minute of listening to Norman Davis, the Host of Radio Boise’s blues program, The Juke Joint, and it’s clear he has a big league radio pedigree. Just how deep that pedigree goes, however, becomes more surprising the more you peel back the layers of the onion. Norman got his start in radio at KGEM in Boise in the ’50s (sorry for dating you, Norman!); then moved to Pocatello, Spokane, and, finally, San Francisco, where for years he was the overnight host at legendary freeform commericial station, KSAN. His stories from there are endless, and endlessly entertaining. As an upstart in the freeform community radio world, Radio Boise feels lucky to have him.

What can you not stop listening to these days?

Jason Ricci! I continue to be amazed by his talent and complete mastery of the harmonica. I think it’s so great that he and John Nemeth, two of the top harp players in the world, both started out here in Boise.

What is going on in the Treasure Valley that you’re excited about?

The live music scene here is just fabulous! Mississippi Marshall is spending several weeks here on his annual Fall trip, commencing with a “Live after Five” performance on August 16; World-famous guitarist, Tim “Too Slim” Langford has moved here recently, complementing the significant pool of talented blues musicians who reside here, as evidenced on the Boise Blues Society’s new compilation CD, “Blues Gems from the Gem State”.

Do you have a ritual surrounding your show? You know, a ritual meal or a certain artist you have to play?

Nothing in particular. I strive to keep my show mostly upbeat and fun.

How long have you been doing The Juke Joint? Why did you start the show?

It will be three years in September. I had been producing blues radio shows for 20 years on other stations and was a big fan of the original host, Mississippi Marshall. When he announced he was moving back to Mississippi, it seemed like an opportunity too good to pass up, so I applied for the job.

How did you Discover Radio Boise?

I returned to Boise in the Spring of 2014 after being away for 20 years. My family and friends here were listening to the station and I quickly became a fan.

What other shows do you listen to?

I like John McCarthy’s “Jazz Beyond The Sky”; also Jason B’s “Spoonful” and Dusty C’s “Sunday Soul Party”; DJ Lizzie’s “Square Roots”; Kat Fausett’s “The Hip Chick,” if I’m up that early; Wayne Birt’s shows and my partner Mojo Mike’s “Blues Revue.” We have the station on most of the time at our house.

What else do you do?

I produce another blues show called “Midnight Flyer,” which is syndicated to five radio and internet stations in California, New Mexico and New York. I like to grow vegetables in my garden. I try to catch as many live performances as I can. I produce one now and then.

Why do you believe volunteering for Radio Boise is important?

I am sorry to say that radio, as a creative art form, is almost extinct. Commercial radio has been corporatized to a large extent and stations are programmed to achieve maximum financial returns, not for any artistic merit. Stations like Radio Boise, where the DJs select the music and create the programs, are the rare exception now and, like any threatened species, deserve our support.

What sounds do you find yourself inexplicably drawn to?

Children laughing, birds singing, blues, jazz, love songs, music that expresses the human spirit.

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