WNIJ 89.5 FM features The Saturday Blues

DEKALB—WNIJ aims to lift your spirits this holiday weekend with a special focus on gospel music during The Saturday Blues, Saturday, April 7, from 1 to 4 p.m. on 89.5 FM. Host Dan Klefstad says, “The Saturday Blues Gospel Special is one of my most beloved programs—and listener response is always great!”

Klefstad first began featuring gospel music as an Easter weekend blues show tradition about 10 years ago. Since then, he’s amassed a large collection of CDs appropriate for the occasion. Mavis Staples and the Blind Boys of Alabama are among Klefstad’s personal favorite gospel singers.

“But I believe Aretha Franklin is the very best,” Klefstad noted. “She has an incredible range, and lots of power.”

Klefstad said gospel is in Aretha’s blood as her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, was a famous preacher in the 1940s and 1950s. He gave sermons all over the country, and was one of the first to put his sermons on record. “I won’t be playing any sermons, however,” Klefstad interjects. “I’ll just stick to the music.”

Klefstad finds great significance in showcasing gospel music this time of year.

“American music rests on the twin pillars of slave music: field hollers and spirituals,” Klefstad said. “The field hollers eventually became blues, and spirituals became gospel, most notably when mixed with Western harmonies in the 1930s. This blend of Saturday night and Sunday morning music is the foundation for rock ’n; roll—or, at least, the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle!”

The Saturday Blues airs every Saturday afternoon from 1 to 4 p.m., with additional hours of blues programming Friday and Saturday nights starting at 9 p.m. For a complete list of WNIJ programs and information, visit www.wnij.org. 89.5-WNIJ is the news/talk service of Northern Public Radio, the broadcast service of Northern Illinois University.

from the April 4-10, 2007, issue

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