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The original item was published from 11/10/2021 9:22:00 AM to 11/19/2021 12:00:05 AM.

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Hampton History Museum

Posted on: October 18, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Jacob Vanko Virtual Concert - Wednesday, October 17, 6 pm

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Join singer/songwriter for a special solo performance as part of our Virtual Front Porch Music series debuting on Facebook Live. Jacob released his first full-length album, “Ten Years,” with his band at the Hampton History Museum in September 2019.

Raised in an environment where both sides of his family were artistic and musical, he was constantly surrounded by an eclectic, creative energy. Jacob would frequently sneak out of bed and peak in on his old man’s blues jams in the basement of his childhood home. His father, a songwriter in his own right, introduced iconic songwriters like John Prine, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan to his burgeoning, songwriter son.

Vanko’s musical lineage also includes figures like his grandfather on his mother's side, who was a local jazz drummer and his aunt on his father’s side, who was a nationally prominent classical pianist. As a teen growing up in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the raw and rebellious artist gravitated towards the furious, dark and heavy sounds of groups like Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Tool. The melodic and unique sounds of grunge with the gritty guitar tones, aggressive vocals and well-crafted songs were major contributing factors to the evolution and development of Vanko’s writing and live performance energy.

Jacob found himself coming into his own as a songwriter in his 20’s. Migrating from Pennsylvania to land in Southeast Virginia, his life experiences to this point painted a curious picture of the world. Social observations, the ugliness of inner struggle, searching and questioning brought an intense quality to his writing. The early seeds of traditional blues, folk, country and bluegrass have collided with the bold sounds of grunge and rock influences forging a poetic, Americana songwriter with a furious live stage presence.

For a preview, check out Jacob’s music at

In describing his debut CD, Vanko said, “The songs are all derived from personal life stories, people who have been a big part of my life and people I briefly crossed paths with. These songs are like chapters of one book out of a 10 book series. Some are just written from the perspective of a third party fly on the wall watching a small slice of middle class life unfold. Some are built from feelings of redemption and ambition. Others poured out in the middle of a quiet, lonely night.” 

Vanko was born and raised in the Anthracite Coal Region of Northeast Pennsylvania. The blue-collar towns of the once vibrant valley nestled in Pennsylvania’s slice of the Appalachian Mountains was a compelling backdrop for the young artist’s narrative and poetic songwriting style. An old soul at heart, Jacob found a sense of comfort in performing and writing. Learning to play blues and Folk with his father while being influenced by classic rock and grunge made for a unique evolution in writing, composition and storytelling. Touching on observational themes from first-hand experiences brings a distinct intimacy to the songs.  

When asked about his songwriting style, Vanko states, “My influences range from Bruce Springsteen and John Prine to Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder. I listen to all kinds of music and admire authentic songs. I'm just trying to write from my soul and mind. And my definitions of abstract things like ‘soul’ and ‘mind’ are probably different than the listener’s definitions. We all hear and see things differently. That's beautiful. Humans are complex and let's take that complexity for a ride. It's not a rock album. It's not a folk album. It's not a country album. But it's also all of those.” 

After the concert debuts on Facebook Live, it can later be found on our YouTube playlist and website,

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