Saturday, September 10, 2016, 7:30 pm
Watch John on YouTube:
Originally from New Jersey, John Gorka is a world-renowned singer-songwriter who got his start in the late 1970’s at a neighborhood coffeehouse in eastern Pennsylvania, where he . encountered legendary folk troubadours like Canadian singer-songwriter Stan Rogers, Eric Andersen, Tom Paxton and Claudia Schmidt. Their brand of folk-inspired acoustic music in turn inspired him, and before long he was performing his own songs. As he began traveling to places like New York City, Boston, and the Kerrville Folk Festival, his stunningly soulful, baritone voice and original songwriting began turning heads as well as winning awards. Those who had at first influenced and inspired him – Suzanne Vega, Bill Morrissey, Nanci Griffith, Christine Lavin, Shawn Colvin – had now also become his peers.
Since the 1987 release of the first of his now twelve allbums, his rich, multifaceted songs full of depth, beauty and emotion have garnered numerous awards and gained increasing attention from critics and audiences across the North American and Europe. Many well known artists have since recorded and/or performed John Gorka songs, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nanci Griffith, Mary Black and Maura O’Connell, and John has also shared the stage with many of them. He has also graced the stages of Austin City Limits, Mountain Stage, e-Town and has appeared on CNN.
On July 22, 2016, Red House Records released Before Beginning: The UnReleased I Know – Nashville, 1985, containing never-before-heard versions of material that would later appear on Gorka’s 1987 Red House debut album, I Know. Only 25 at the time, Gorka had traveled to Nashville, TN to record with producer Jim Rooney (Nanci Griffith, John Prine) at Cowboy Jack Clements’ studio. The sessions featured a full band as well as guest vocals from fellow artists Lucy Kaplansky and Shawn Colvin, also members of the NYC “Fast Folk” scene. The album spontaneously with a full band, all in one room, over in five days. After the sessions, John decided to go a different direction and the tapes were never released. In 2014, he took the tapes out of storage to see if they would still play, liked what he heard, and thought others might, too. The result is a fascinating document of the road not taken, an alternate musical direction the now well-known singer/songwriter chose to forego.
John Gorka now lives in Minnesota and when not on the road, where he enjoys spending time with his wife and children. After three decades of touring, he continues to play festivals, theaters and clubs all over North America and Europe.