16 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s truly stunning what some folks can do with just an acoustic guitar and the power of their own voice. John Gorka is an elite level singer-songwriter who occasionally allows bass and drums to help drive his tunes. But in the end it comes down to the incredible intimacy of Gorka and his guitar. Two instrumentals, “Fret One” and “Fret Not” allow for a few quick flourishes of fingerpicking and fretboard chops. But it’s the simple, subtle shadings of “Night Into Day” that show off everything Gorka can do. The emotion comes through on the strum of the first guitar chord and doesn’t let up until the final notes rings out. He interprets Utah Phillips’ “I Think of You,” Richard Jones’ bluesy “Trouble In Mind,” and Michael Smith’s “The Dutchman” with the same grace he brings to his own originals. “Whole Wide World” tips towards pop. “Ignorance and Privilege,” “Where No Monuments Stand,” “That Was the Year” and “Diminishing Winds” deliver a contemplative songwriter. Sophisticated yet never over-complicated, Gorka’s a veteran with miles to go before he’s complete.

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s truly stunning what some folks can do with just an acoustic guitar and the power of their own voice. John Gorka is an elite level singer-songwriter who occasionally allows bass and drums to help drive his tunes. But in the end it comes down to the incredible intimacy of Gorka and his guitar. Two instrumentals, “Fret One” and “Fret Not” allow for a few quick flourishes of fingerpicking and fretboard chops. But it’s the simple, subtle shadings of “Night Into Day” that show off everything Gorka can do. The emotion comes through on the strum of the first guitar chord and doesn’t let up until the final notes rings out. He interprets Utah Phillips’ “I Think of You,” Richard Jones’ bluesy “Trouble In Mind,” and Michael Smith’s “The Dutchman” with the same grace he brings to his own originals. “Whole Wide World” tips towards pop. “Ignorance and Privilege,” “Where No Monuments Stand,” “That Was the Year” and “Diminishing Winds” deliver a contemplative songwriter. Sophisticated yet never over-complicated, Gorka’s a veteran with miles to go before he’s complete.

TITLE TIME
3:36
2:54
3:32
2:10
4:22
0:07
3:36
2:23
3:44
1:20
2:14
3:02
4:48
2:58
2:46
4:09

About John Gorka

A singer/songwriter famed for his rich, expressive baritone, New Jersey native John Gorka was one of the leading lights of the new folk movement. Gorka began his career while attending college in Pennsylvania in the early '80s, appearing at open-mike nights at a local coffeehouse before eventually forming his own group, the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band. Soon he hit the road, performing up and down the Eastern Seaboard before finally settling in Texas and winning the Kerrville Folk Festival's prestigious New Folk Award in 1984. In 1987, Gorka cut his debut album, I Know, for the Red House label, winning acclaim for his songs' subtle wit and acute character observations. After a move to Windham Hill, he issued 1990's Land of the Bottom Line, followed two years later by Jack's Crows. With 1993's Temporary Road, Gorka garnered significant airplay from country outlets with the single and video "When She Kisses Me," resulting in tours supporting Mary Chapin Carpenter and Nanci Griffith. For 1994's Out of the Valley, Gorka traveled to Nashville to team with producer John Jennings, who recruited guests including Carpenter, Kathy Mattea, guitarist Leo Kottke, and Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks; Between Five and Seven followed in 1996, and two years later he returned with After Yesterday. Company You Keep, which followed in early 2001, featured guest spots from Carpenter, Patty Larkin, and Lucy Kaplansky. 2003 saw the release of the typically introspective Old Futures Gone. It was followed in 2006 by Writing in the Margins. So Dark You See appeared in 2009, and Red Horse, a collaborative album with Eliza Gilkyson and Lucy Kaplansky, followed in 2010. Gorka didn't record again for a few years, though he did keep up a steady touring schedule. In March of 2014, he re-emerged with The Bright Side of Down. ~ Jason Ankeny

  • ORIGIN
    Edison, NJ
  • BORN
    1958

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