REMEMBER THIS GREAT EVENING


June 6, 2009





John Gorka


John Gorka
a gypsy life


JOHN

John Gorka was born in Newark, NJ on a Sunday in July, 1958 under Eisenhower skies. He grew up in Colonia, NJ and at age ten got his first guitar as a Christmas present. Before John's fingers were strong enough to press the strings down his older brother claimed the guitar for himself and carved his name in it. The younger Gorka never recovered from this blow. A few years later he took up the banjo to retaliate. The family was never the same.

I.n high school Gorka started writing songs and singing with a church folk group. When he moved away from home to go to Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA, he started performing in the school coffeehouse programs and the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band, a non-traditional bluegrass, country, blues and folk band. Future songwriter and recording artist Richard Shindell was asked to join the band as the lead guitar player when the others learned he could play Black Magic Rag. Fellow Spasm member Doug Anderson took Gorka to a coffeehouse that had just opened on the south side of Bethlehem, PA called Godfrey Daniels. It was there Gorka discovered the kind of performer he wanted to become.

Godfrey Daniels is one of the oldest and most venerable music institutions in eastern Pennsylvania. A small neighborhood coffeehouse and listening room, it has long been a hangout for music lovers and aspiring musicians, and in the late 1970s, one of these was John Gorka. . . .

JOHNThough his academic course work lay in Philosophy and History, music began to offer paramount enticements. Soon he found himself living in the club’s basement and acting as resident M.C. and soundman, encountering legendary folk troubadors like Canadian singer/songwriter Stan Rogers, Eric Andersen, Tom Paxton and Claudia Schmidt. Their brand of folk-inspired acoustic music inspired him, and before long he was performing his own songs — mostly as an opener for visiting acts. Soon he started traveling to New York City, where Jack Hardy’s legendary Fast Folk circle (a breeding ground for many a major singer/songwriter) became a powerful source of education and encouragement. Folk meccas like Texas’ Kerrville Folk Festival (where he won the New Folk Award in 1984) and Boston followed, and his stunningly soulful baritone voice and emerging songwriting began turning heads. Those who had at one time inspired him — Suzanne Vega, Bill Morrissey, Nanci Griffith, Christine Lavin, Shawn Colvin — had become his peers.

In 1987, the young Minnesota-based Red House Records caught wind of John’s talents and released his first album I Know to popular and critical acclaim. With unusual drive and focus, John hit the ground running and proceeded to record five albums with High Street over the next seven years: Land of the Bottom Line, Jack’s Crows, Temporary Road, Out of the Valley, and Between Five and Seven. His albums and his touring (over 150 nights a year at times) brought new accolades for his craft. Rolling Stone called him “the preeminent male singer/songwriter of the new folk movement.” His rich multi-faceted songs full of depth, beauty and emotion gained increasing attention from critics and audiences across the country, as well as in Europe where his tours led him through Italy, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, Switzerland and Germany.

Other performers also discovered his songwriting. His material is championed by many, — to date more than a score of artists have recorded and/or performed John Gorka songs, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mary Black and Maura O’Connell. He also started sharing tours with many notable friends, — Nanci Griffith and Mary Chapin Carpenter among them.

Longtime fans will find in John's songs a trademark twist of lyric and attention to the details that so effectively evoke a time, a place, a person, or a range of emotion. John also shares his joy at recent changes in his life (namely a 1996 marriage and move to Minnesota, followed by the 1997 birth of a baby boy — Bocephus Mahatma Sinatra Gorka) with a hardened knowledge, vented and voiced and in story songs and character studiesthat engage the imagination and invite introspection.

John has written: "I consider myself to be an aspiring folk singer, not an accomplished one. I think of modern folk music to be more of an attitude or an approach than a musical style. Folk music is music that makes a difference in people's lives and one that finds a useful place. And there is more than one way to get there. To make music that makes a difference is the ideal. I guess that is my mission statement, my musical manifesto."

Though a long way from Godfrey Daniels, John Gorka is still honored to be a part of the folk tradition — energetic acoustic music that is not a trend, not a fad, but an expression of everyday life. His rich baritone voice and unique songcraft weave together in a way that can only be described as “Gorka.”

John appeared with us as we approached the conclusion of our special 40th Anniversary season celebrating return visits of the performers who recently enthralled our audience.

JOHN GORKA & LAUREN MOSERJohn gladly took many requests, and thrilled the young lady again with her personal favorite song, War Makes War (she knows them all). This was absolutely a wonderful evening for all !!!


JOHN

Praises by others for his performances:

  • "Gorka is widely heralded for the sophisticated intelligence and provocative originality of his songs."
        — The Boston Globe

  • "Listening to John Gorka sing, one can get goosebumps all over. There are many reasons — fresh lyrics, a stunning emotional baritone voice, his twisted humor — but to focus on one limits the experience."
        — New York Times

  • about Anais Mitchell: "She’s the future. We are not, Cliff (Eberhardt). We’re between the future and the pasture."
        — John Gorka

  • His "Thoughts are like flowers; those gathered in the morning keep fresh the longest"
        — Andre Gide

  • "John's songs are timeless and people sense that, even hearing him for the first time. He's far more than just an entertainer; he's an entire generation's poet."
        — Gary Gackstatter, Conductor, Winfield Regional Symphony, Winfield, Kansas

  • "His songs reach inside and touch a place that I can't find words for. His music, lyrics and deep, rich voice have been what pulled me through many a tough time. I've been to the land of the bottom line and back ... Some people use drugs or alcohol, me, I use Gorka."
        — Paula Bryn, music junkie



JOHN


Link to YouTube:   Folk Music Society of Huntington - LUCY KAPLANSKY




REMEMBER THIS GREAT EVENING


June 6, 2009





John Gorka


John Gorka
a gypsy life


JOHN

John Gorka was born in Newark, NJ on a Sunday in July, 1958 under Eisenhower skies. He grew up in Colonia, NJ and at age ten got his first guitar as a Christmas present. Before John's fingers were strong enough to press the strings down his older brother claimed the guitar for himself and carved his name in it. The younger Gorka never recovered from this blow. A few years later he took up the banjo to retaliate. The family was never the same.

I.n high school Gorka started writing songs and singing with a church folk group. When he moved away from home to go to Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA, he started performing in the school coffeehouse programs and the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band, a non-traditional bluegrass, country, blues and folk band. Future songwriter and recording artist Richard Shindell was asked to join the band as the lead guitar player when the others learned he could play Black Magic Rag. Fellow Spasm member Doug Anderson took Gorka to a coffeehouse that had just opened on the south side of Bethlehem, PA called Godfrey Daniels. It was there Gorka discovered the kind of performer he wanted to become.

Godfrey Daniels is one of the oldest and most venerable music institutions in eastern Pennsylvania. A small neighborhood coffeehouse and listening room, it has long been a hangout for music lovers and aspiring musicians, and in the late 1970s, one of these was John Gorka. . . .

JOHNThough his academic course work lay in Philosophy and History, music began to offer paramount enticements. Soon he found himself living in the club’s basement and acting as resident M.C. and soundman, encountering legendary folk troubadors like Canadian singer/songwriter Stan Rogers, Eric Andersen, Tom Paxton and Claudia Schmidt. Their brand of folk-inspired acoustic music inspired him, and before long he was performing his own songs — mostly as an opener for visiting acts. Soon he started traveling to New York City, where Jack Hardy’s legendary Fast Folk circle (a breeding ground for many a major singer/songwriter) became a powerful source of education and encouragement. Folk meccas like Texas’ Kerrville Folk Festival (where he won the New Folk Award in 1984) and Boston followed, and his stunningly soulful baritone voice and emerging songwriting began turning heads. Those who had at one time inspired him — Suzanne Vega, Bill Morrissey, Nanci Griffith, Christine Lavin, Shawn Colvin — had become his peers.

In 1987, the young Minnesota-based Red House Records caught wind of John’s talents and released his first album I Know to popular and critical acclaim. With unusual drive and focus, John hit the ground running and proceeded to record five albums with High Street over the next seven years: Land of the Bottom Line, Jack’s Crows, Temporary Road, Out of the Valley, and Between Five and Seven. His albums and his touring (over 150 nights a year at times) brought new accolades for his craft. Rolling Stone called him “the preeminent male singer/songwriter of the new folk movement.” His rich multi-faceted songs full of depth, beauty and emotion gained increasing attention from critics and audiences across the country, as well as in Europe where his tours led him through Italy, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, Switzerland and Germany.

Other performers also discovered his songwriting. His material is championed by many, — to date more than a score of artists have recorded and/or performed John Gorka songs, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mary Black and Maura O’Connell. He also started sharing tours with many notable friends, — Nanci Griffith and Mary Chapin Carpenter among them.

Longtime fans will find in John's songs a trademark twist of lyric and attention to the details that so effectively evoke a time, a place, a person, or a range of emotion. John also shares his joy at recent changes in his life (namely a 1996 marriage and move to Minnesota, followed by the 1997 birth of a baby boy — Bocephus Mahatma Sinatra Gorka) with a hardened knowledge, vented and voiced and in story songs and character studiesthat engage the imagination and invite introspection.

John has written: "I consider myself to be an aspiring folk singer, not an accomplished one. I think of modern folk music to be more of an attitude or an approach than a musical style. Folk music is music that makes a difference in people's lives and one that finds a useful place. And there is more than one way to get there. To make music that makes a difference is the ideal. I guess that is my mission statement, my musical manifesto."

Though a long way from Godfrey Daniels, John Gorka is still honored to be a part of the folk tradition — energetic acoustic music that is not a trend, not a fad, but an expression of everyday life. His rich baritone voice and unique songcraft weave together in a way that can only be described as “Gorka.”

John appeared with us as we approached the conclusion of our special 40th Anniversary season celebrating return visits of the performers who recently enthralled our audience.

JOHN GORKA & LAUREN MOSERJohn gladly took many requests, and thrilled the young lady again with her personal favorite song, War Makes War (she knows them all). This was absolutely a wonderful evening for all !!!


JOHN

Praises by others for his performances:

  • "Gorka is widely heralded for the sophisticated intelligence and provocative originality of his songs."
        — The Boston Globe

  • "Listening to John Gorka sing, one can get goosebumps all over. There are many reasons — fresh lyrics, a stunning emotional baritone voice, his twisted humor — but to focus on one limits the experience."
        — New York Times

  • about Anais Mitchell: "She’s the future. We are not, Cliff (Eberhardt). We’re between the future and the pasture."
        — John Gorka

  • His "Thoughts are like flowers; those gathered in the morning keep fresh the longest"
        — Andre Gide

  • "John's songs are timeless and people sense that, even hearing him for the first time. He's far more than just an entertainer; he's an entire generation's poet."
        — Gary Gackstatter, Conductor, Winfield Regional Symphony, Winfield, Kansas

  • "His songs reach inside and touch a place that I can't find words for. His music, lyrics and deep, rich voice have been what pulled me through many a tough time. I've been to the land of the bottom line and back ... Some people use drugs or alcohol, me, I use Gorka."
        — Paula Bryn, music junkie



JOHN


Link to YouTube:   Video: The Gypsy Life DVD Trailer    

Listen to John on MySpace  

or visit his web site:  







  Opening tonight were our featured open mike performers:


Our host tonight was Ira Perlman, and our open mike featured performances by:

  • J. Paul Bradley
    J. PAUL BRADLEY

  • Shannon and Natalie
    SHANNON & NATALIE

    SHANNON & NATALIE

  • John Taylor
    JOHN TAYLOR

  • Robin Inwald
    ROBIN INWALD

  • Richard Cashman
    RICHARD CASHMAN

  • Gary Schoenberger
    GARY SCHOENBERGER

  • Richard Barnhart
    RICHARD BARNHART

  • Tim Dillon
    TIM DILLON

  • The High School Kids :: Denise Romas, Fred Newland & Cliff Miller
    THE HIGH SCHOOL KIDS :: DENISE ROMAS, FRED NEWLAND & CLIFF MILLER

  • ... and Maria Fairchild & Larry Moser
    MARIA FAIRCHILD & LARRY MOSER



  • If you weren't here tonight, you missed yet another of the very best programs of the year ...









    pix/YouTube.jpg height=30> Video: The Gypsy Life DVD Trailer    

    Listen to John on MySpace  

    or visit his web site:  







      Opening tonight were our featured open mike performers:


    Our host tonight was Ira Perlman, and our open mike featured performances by:

  • J. Paul Bradley
    J. PAUL BRADLEY

  • Shannon and Natalie
    SHANNON & NATALIE

    SHANNON & NATALIE

  • John Taylor
    JOHN TAYLOR

  • Robin Inwald
    ROBIN INWALD

  • Richard Cashman
    RICHARD CASHMAN

  • Gary Schoenberger
    GARY SCHOENBERGER

  • Richard Barnhart
    RICHARD BARNHART

  • Tim Dillon
    TIM DILLON

  • The High School Kids :: Denise Romas, Fred Newland & Cliff Miller
    THE HIGH SCHOOL KIDS :: DENISE ROMAS, FRED NEWLAND & CLIFF MILLER

  • ... and Maria Fairchild & Larry Moser
    MARIA FAIRCHILD & LARRY MOSER



  • If you weren't here tonight, you missed yet another of the very best programs of the year ...