Lyrical Songwriters are natural storytellers, and there is an audience waiting to hear yours. On Lyrical, host Jonah Grinkewitz, a local songwriter, goes behind the lyrics to showcase talented songwriters in Hampton Roads and beyond. This hour-long musical conversation features live performances, recorded music and more. It is a platform for songwriters to explain their lyrics, their influences and what drives them as a musician. Want to share the story behind your lyrics?
Lyrical

Lyrical

From WHRV

Songwriters are natural storytellers, and there is an audience waiting to hear yours. On Lyrical, host Jonah Grinkewitz, a local songwriter, goes behind the lyrics to showcase talented songwriters in Hampton Roads and beyond. This hour-long musical conversation features live performances, recorded music and more. It is a platform for songwriters to explain their lyrics, their influences and what drives them as a musician. Want to share the story behind your lyrics?

Most Recent Episodes

Nate Sacks of The Lifehacks

Nate Sacks works hard - he fronts his own band The LifeHacks, lends his talents to the band Galaxy Dynamite, performs as a solo artist, teaches music at The School of Rock in Virginia Beach and somehow finds the time to run his own promotional company Local Cheers which brings beer and music together at awesome events. That's just the list of projects he's involved with right now, but he's been playing in bands since he was 16 and crafting his songwriting and music skills for awhile. A major turning point was winning the Sea Level Singer Songwriter Emerging Artist contest in 2012 sponsored by Tidewater Arts Outreach. He won on his third try and each time he pushed himself to write better songs. That maturation has paid off, as is evident in the songs you'll hear in this episode of Lyrical. Nate's lyrics can be biting, funny and sometimes filled with angst. He can be idealistic and realistic in the same song, but he's always honest. Nate and I worked together to plan and put on the first Lyrical Singer Songwriter Contest, and it's a pleasure to feature him on the latest episode of Lyrical. We share a passion for uplifting the songwriting community in Hampton Roads. After doing so much work behind the scenes, it's time to shine the spotlight on Mr. Sacks and give you a glimpse into his songwriting and musical approach.

Michael Ford Jr and Ben Ford of Airpark

Songwriting brothers Michael and Ben are nearly "Irish twins" - a term I learned during the latest episode of Lyrical. And, as they told me, being brothers gives them an advantage when it comes to songwriting because they know how to be direct with their feedback and work together to make music that they love. They were both in the folk/rock outfit The Apache Relay which enjoyed a healthy amount of success with their "wall of sound" style of music. Michael told me that he wanted Airpark to be known as "...a band that takes chances" and it certainly was a risk in departing from The Apache Relay's signature sound to make the more minimalist groove rock that Airpark started out with on their first release, "Volume 1." Since that first release though they have continued to switch it up with each new single and EP, and as Ben stated, "We have no interest in making the same record twice." Although they tour pretty constantly, they still find the time record intricately crafted songs with lyrics that evoke intense feelings. "Yours Till I Die" is perhaps one of my favorite songs of all time, with lyrics that feel so real that you forget it's even a song when you listen to it. If that doesn't make sense hopefully listening to my interview with Ben and Michael will help clear things up.

John Mark Nelson

Songwriter John Mark Nelson hails from St. Paul, Minnesota, but his ties to Virginia run deep. His story is a testament to the power of songwriting and music to bring people together. It was almost 6 years ago that host Jonah Grinkewitz heard one of John's songs on Minnesota Public Radio's The Current, sparking a long and winding road to Jonah's apartment for a house concert and the newest episode of Lyrical. John's songs are mostly autobiographical and you can hear him wrestling with the challenges he faces and the complicated emotions that come with them. Blended into this episode are moments from his house concert performance where he describes very accurately what it's like to be an independent musician. His musical career hasn't been easy, but it is evident from talking to him and hearing his lyrics that he won't give up anytime soon. The episode ends with the full story of how John and Jonah met, and they play the song that brought them together - "Reminisce."

Skye Zentz

Skye Zentz is a trusted voice in the Hampton Roads songwriting community. She is not only a songwriter, but also as an educator, producer and leader. She's no stranger to WHRO, as her parents hosted a folk music program here in the past and Skye writes songs for the Batten Environmental Education Initiative. As a songwriter, she has the ability to write in many different modes - whether it's a personal song drawing on ancient mythology or writing the music for an adaptation of "Alice in Wonderland," Skye places herself in her songs and presents ideas in a way that is both insightful and relatable. We discuss some of her favorite lyrics and songwriters, how she felt drawn to music and empowering the local songwriting community and her role as an educator at the Muse Writing Center.

Logan Vath

On the song, "Every town," Logan Vath sings, "You don't have to settle to settle down." Logan grew up in Nebraska, but found his way to Hampton Roads thanks to the Navy. On the latest episode of Lyrical we break down that journey and the constant struggle he faces as a restless spirit trying to settle down and establish roots. Logan's lyrics are carefully worded and packed tightly into his songs. You may have to listen once or twice to a song to pick up on all of the intricate details of his songwriting. We did our best to slow things down on this episode and peel back the story, and I hope you'll enjoy it.

The Last Bison

Songwriter Ben Hardesty and bass player/cellist Amos Housworth of The Last Bison join host Jonah Grinkewitz for the second episode of Lyrical. Location and identity are very important to Ben's songwriting. Ben describes himself as an "experience-based" songwriter. He draws on key moments from his past, including growing up in the rainforests of Bolivia and the swamps of Chesapeake, as well as traveling in Europe as a young adult. Ben and Amos also discuss how their lineup has changed in recent years, and what this means for the band's new musical direction. Upon their debut, NPR described them as "Classical influenced southern folk rock." But as Ben shares in this episode, they are finally coming back to the music that they grew up listening to, such as David Bowie, U2 and the Police. Whether it's folk rock or synth pop, the characteristic soaring vocals, intricate textures and melodic hooks persist in their newest album "Süda" which is out now.

Allen Hudson of Court Street Company

Songwriter Allen Hudson of the Portsmouth rock band Court Street Company kicks off the first episode of "Lyrical." Allen takes us through his songwriting narrative, from his earliest songs to his newest. We discuss his biggest musical influences, including the Foo Fighters, the Killers and Big Star. We talk about the stories behind his songs: him growing up and meeting the girl of his dreams, his appreciation for blues mythology and being perfectly happy with the person he loves. To end the episode, Allen and Jonah play the song that brought them together to form the band Court Street Company.

Lyrical with Host Jonah Grinkewitz

Go behind the lyrics with local and national songwriters.

Back To Top