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Writing In the Margins

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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.

Customer Reviews

Another work of inspiration

John is a special songwriter. I find myself applauding out loud in my office listening to his commentary on this world. Here again with "Writing in the Margins" we have the beautiful melodies coupled with the simple silky baritone. But, as usual it is the lyrics that are the centerpiece of John's work. I feel like he could write 1000 more songs and keep getting them right. If you are a Gorka fan, this one is in perfect step with the trajectory of John's stuff.

Grew on me after a couple of listens

The title to my review sort of says it all: I first listened to this album in my car and there was a lot of background noise and the subtleties of Mr. Gorka's melodies, lyrics, guitar work and arrangements were lost on me. So I put it away for a few days and then brought it back out at home with no background noise, a better sound system and my full attention and it was definitely worth it. It just keeps growing on me. It's quite different from "Temporary Road," the other Gorka album that I have and love, but his spot-on songwriting, beautiful baritone voice and tasty guitar work is unmistakeably great. If you like contemporary folk singer songwriters, you're bound to find something you like here. Try "Chance of Rain," "Broken Place," "I Miss Everyone," "Satellites," and "Writing in the Margins."

Just about as good as it gets...

I am a HUGE John Gorka fan. I like his acoustic stuff...just John and his 6-string. His last two disks include a full band and while it sounds very good it is not my favorite. That said this is his most thought provoking work. While I do not always agree with his politics, I can respect and understand his point of view. His music is about as well done and well written as anything you will hear. It is filled with emotion and empathy. He is truly one of America’s best singer/songwriters. This disc earns an A+ in my book and worth the $9.99. There is not a bad song on any of his albums so you can pop in the disc (or iPod) and listen. It is a fantastic experience.

Biography

Born: 1958 in Edison, NJ

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

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...
Full Bio