12 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

John Gorka's songs have never been about grandstanding—the frisson his work generates comes from a constant accumulation of small surprises and understated epiphanies. He has continually refined that process over the course of his career, but seldom more so than here on his 10th album. With appropriately tasteful backing that tends toward an organic folk-rock feel, Gorka peers deeply into the often-mystifying workings of the human heart, be it the hazardous journey of love ("Bluer State") or the strength that can come from being hurt ("Broken Place"). Gorka's warm, oaky vocal tones push his observations forward with only as much force as necessary and not an ounce more, letting listeners lean partway in toward him for a truly intimate exchange. He also happens to be one of the few who can truly make a Townes Van Zandt tune ("Snow Don't Fall") his own, and when he adds a country twang to the proceedings with "I Miss Everyone" or a slow-burning soul feel on "When You Sing," he shows that the tricks up his sleeve extend to his musical moves as well.

EDITORS’ NOTES

John Gorka's songs have never been about grandstanding—the frisson his work generates comes from a constant accumulation of small surprises and understated epiphanies. He has continually refined that process over the course of his career, but seldom more so than here on his 10th album. With appropriately tasteful backing that tends toward an organic folk-rock feel, Gorka peers deeply into the often-mystifying workings of the human heart, be it the hazardous journey of love ("Bluer State") or the strength that can come from being hurt ("Broken Place"). Gorka's warm, oaky vocal tones push his observations forward with only as much force as necessary and not an ounce more, letting listeners lean partway in toward him for a truly intimate exchange. He also happens to be one of the few who can truly make a Townes Van Zandt tune ("Snow Don't Fall") his own, and when he adds a country twang to the proceedings with "I Miss Everyone" or a slow-burning soul feel on "When You Sing," he shows that the tricks up his sleeve extend to his musical moves as well.

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3:19
2:24
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3:01
3:17
3:35
5:12
4:14
4:25
3:49
2:25

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

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