John Gorka at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival 2004
|Born||July 27, 1958 (age 55)|
|Origin||Edison, New Jersey, US|
|Labels||Windham Hill, High Street, Red House|
John Gorka (born 1958) is a contemporary American folk musician. In 1991, Rolling Stone magazine called him "the preeminent male singer-songwriter of what has been dubbed the New Folk Movement."
Gorka received his first guitar as a Christmas gift, though Gorka alleges that his older brother stole it from him shortly thereafter. He eventually learned, instead, to play the banjo, and began performing in a folk music group at his church.
Gorka attended Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and joined the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band which would also include guitarist Richard Shindell. He began performing solo at the Godfrey Daniels coffee house as the opening act for various musicians including: Nanci Griffith, Bill Morrissey, Claudia Schmidt and Jack Hardy.
In 1984, Gorka took first place at the Kerrville Folk Festival. Since then he has toured with artists such as Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, Michael Manring, Christine Lavin, Dave Van Ronk, Cliff Eberhardt, David Massengill, Frank Christian and Lucy Kaplansky.
As of 2005, he was residing in the St. Croix Valley area near Saint Paul, Minnesota.
In 2008, Gorka decided to return to Europe for the first time in fourteen years. In October, he played four times in the Netherlands, played live on VPRO radio and did a session for the John Gorka video site.
In 2009, Gorka toured in the USA but also in Ireland and the Netherlands. In October, Red House Records released the CD "So Dark You See." Gorka's latest installment is considered a more intimate, vocal and guitar-centered record than the last two.
In March, 2014, Gorka continued his long relationship with Red House records by releasing another warm, acoustic CD, "Bright Side of Down."
- I Know (Red House, 1987)
- Land of the Bottom Line (Windham Hill/High Street, 1990)
- Jack's Crows (Windham Hill/High Street, 1991)
- Temporary Road (Windham Hill/High Street, 1992)
- Out of the Valley (Windham Hill/High Street, 1994)
- Between Five and Seven (Windham Hill/High Street, 1996)
- After Yesterday (Red House, 1998)
- The Company You Keep (Red House, 2001)
- Old Futures Gone (Red House, 2003)
- Writing in the Margins (Red House, 2006)
- So Dark You See (Red House, 2009)
- Bright Side of Down (Red House, 2014)
- Motor Folkin' (Windham Hill/High Street, 1994)
- The Gypsy Life (AIX Records, 2007)
"Best of" albums
- Pure John Gorka (Windham Hill, 2006)
On various artists compilations
- See various issues of Fast Folk Musical Magazine for early recordings.
- "I Saw a Stranger with Your Hair" on Legacy: A Collection of New Folk Music (Windham Hill, 1989)
- "Christmas Bells", on A Winter's Solstice, Vol. III (Windham Hill, 1990)
- "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" on A Tribute to Bob Dylan, Vol. 2 (SIS, 1994)
- "The Gypsy Life" on The Live from Mountain Stage, Vol. 8 (Blue Plate, 1995)
- "Bracero" on What's That I Hear?: The Songs of Phil Ochs (Sliced Bread, 1998)
- "Thirsty Boots" (Eric Andersen) on Bleecker Street: Greenwich Village in the 1960s (Astor Place Records, 1999)
- "Girl from the North Country" on A Nod to Bob: An Artists' Tribute to Bob Dylan on His 60th Birthday (Red House, 2001)
- "Do La Lay", "Things We've Handed Down" and others on Down at the Sea Hotel (La Montagne Secrète, 2007)
- Henkle, Doug, "FolkLib Index"
- Wing, Eliza, Rolling Stone, August 8, 1991, p. 17