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New live, weekly radio show to showcase Grand Rapids' growing music scene

Local indy-folk artist Quinn Mathews will host GRLive from The B.O.B. starting April 28 at 12 p.m..
Quinn Mathews relaxes with some of his musical friends

Quinn Mathews relaxes with some of his musical friends /Courtesy of Quinn Mathews

GRLive premiers Thursday April 28 at noon in The B.O.B.

Last week's show included the bands Michigander and Sleep Cheaters, and jazz artist John Shea, as well as a conversation with Eddie Tadlock of the West Michigan Jazz Society. To find out what's in store for coming weeks go to



GR Live

GR Live /Courtesy of Quinn Mathews

Music fans are happy to know there’s a new way to find out about shows happening in the GR music scene.

Local indy-folk artist Quinn Mathews loves the local music scene so much that he decided to make it even better. With a little help from his friends, this multi-instrumentalist and member of the folk duo Channing and Quinn,  has pulled together something of a phenomenon which premiered Thursday April 28th at Home of Music and Entertainment in The B.O.B. downtown Grand Rapids.

GRLive is a live radio show that is broadcast on local community radio station WYCE 88.1 FM from 12:00 to 1:00 PM every Thursday until September. As a live show, Mathews will host musicians and others in the music industry to talk about what’s happening musically in the coming week. Lots of different genres of music will be represented over the course of the summer, with special guests and live musical performances integrated into each unique event.

“It brings back the tradition of live radio,” says Mathews.  “It’s open to the public, and it’s a live show with musical performances and interviews with musicians, but it also promotes other shows that are coming up.” 

With the intention of adding a nostalgic feel to the show, Mathews based the original idea for GRLive on similar broadcasts he’s familiar with from his southern upbringing and experiences as a musician in Tennessee.  Shows like The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville are more plentiful in the south, and Mathews wanted to bring that to West Michigan audiences. “The fact that it’s live, that people can just wander in for lunch or a drink. And, it can be broadcast to the even wider listening audience.  It will be recorded and available as a podcast anytime.” 

When he moved from Tennessee to West Michigan two years ago, Mathews became deeply involved with the local music industry. Through his own musical efforts, attending local performances, and becoming a volunteer programmer for WYCE 88.1 Mathews has met a lot of musicians and other music lovers.  And while all this has added up to a great appreciation for his adopted city, it still seemed like something was missing. He noticed a lot of excitement about Grand Rapids as “Beer City USA” and about the thriving visual arts culture, but when it came to finding out about musical performances, there just wasn’t a really easy way to do it.

“Even though I know there are a lot of music fans in town, not everyone seems to know what's going on in the music scene,” said Mathews. “As a decent-sized city that’s growing, we have a lot of great music venues. People hear about the shows at Founders and the Intersection, but there is a lot of live music being performed in smaller out-of-the-way places. In hotel lobbies, restaurants, lots of musicians are playing really great music live in this town. You can learn a lot from Local Spins on WYCE,  but you can miss a lot, too.”

This show is a combination of efforts by the community, the city and music as partners. Mathews worked together with Janet Korn, the Idea Genie at ExperienceGR, AJ Paschka station manager at WYCE 88.1 FM, and Greg Gilmore, Chief Executive Officer of The Gilmore Collection  to coordinate and make GRLive a reality. Mathews also worked with John Sinkevics, creator of Local Spins, who will have an open invitation to join Mathews at GRLive shows to help Grand Rapids find out about upcoming music shows.

In a recent interview, Mathews answered questions that shed a little more light on what’s important to him and why this project is so exciting for people in Grand Rapids area who love music.

What are you most excited about for Grand Rapids, for this program and for yourself as an artist?

I really am just excited about Grand Rapids in general. The city is so cool with so many great things going on.  Artprize is fantastic and all the visual art galleries that have popped up are amazing, and downtown art festivals, etc.. I'm a huge beer fan and all the breweries get me excited as well. I think my favorite thing in Michigan is everyone taking a chance at what they love. In Nashville everyone was of course a musician, everyone had the same story, "I left home and love music so I moved to Nashville to play music." Which is awesome, don't get me wrong, but it's the same story with everyone. In two years here in Michigan I have heard so many amazing stories of people taking chances to do what they love. Home brewers that love beer and brew in their basements end up taking a chance, quitting their jobs and opening a brewery. People who love music start concert series in their own houses and then open up their own music venues. Hair dressers open salons...everyone is taking a chance around here. I was just talking to a guy the other day that has always wanted to be a chef and just decided one day to open a restaurant. Coffee shops...same thing. This is the kind of place we want to be!

How does your bandmate Channing play into your story?

Channing pretty much IS my story. We met in North Carolina working in musical theatre. She was a singer and performer and I was in a few bands at the time. We teamed up and started writing music together and after about a year decided to move to Nashville. We spent 9 years in Nashville writing music, recording albums, touring the country and writing soundtracks for TV & film. We met Brian Vander Ark of The Verve Pipe on the road and he said "Have you guys ever been to Michigan?" and we realized "Come to think of it, no, never!" So he had us come up and play a few shows and we lived in his airstream trailer in his front lawn in East Grand Rapids which is amazing now that I think about it. We loved Grand Rapids and rented a house here and moved our stuff up from Nashville.  We just released our newest record "Up North" which is our first "Michigan-made album" all written and recorded here in town. We'll be touring around this summer in support of it, Channing sings backup with The Verve Pipe as well and tours with them, they will be on the road a lot this summer.  She'll be hanging out down at all the GR LIVE shows helping me for sure.

What do you see for the future of GRLive,  after the first round of shows is over in the fall?

I have hardly even mentioned that this show ends in September because I want it to go on forever even if I'm not a part of it! I think a live radio show downtown before the weekend is fantastic to promote the upcoming music and entertainment listings in Grand Rapids. I've been chatting with ArtPrize about continuing with some special GR LIVE shows and then I would love to launch a fall/winter GR LIVE series!  So stay tuned!




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