He was influenced by his grandfather, who was a vaudeville performer and had a large collection of phonograph recordings. Norton's childhood friend and neighbor was ukulele legend Tiny Tim who taught Jack how to play the ukulele. He was also a friend of author Nick Tosches, and assisted in research on a book about minstrel singer Emmett Miller. Immediately after leaving high school, Norton toured with songwriter Ben Weaver and formed The Mullet River Boys - a band that combined bluegrass with dixieland music. They opened for Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Leon Redbone, Greg Brown and the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Early in the group's career, an unknown Norah Jones opened for the band at a show in New York City.
Norton currently performs as a children's musician, is co-creator/host of "The Zinghoppers Show" and is a staff songwriter at BMG Music. Tom Waits is said to be a fan of Conductor Jack's music for children.