So Dark You See

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So Dark You See
So Dark You See.jpg
Studio album by John Gorka
Released October 13, 2009 (2009-10-13)
Genre Folk, singer-songwriter
Label Blue chalk/Red House
Producer Rob Genadek and John Gorka
John Gorka chronology
Writing in the Margins
So Dark You See
Red Horse

So Dark You See is a 2009 studio album by folk singer-songwriter John Gorka. The album offers eight new examples of Gorka's own lyrical songwriting, two instrumental tracks, poetry of Robert Burns and William Stafford performed and set to music by Gorka, covers of songs by fellow folkies, Utah Phillips and Michael Smith, and Gorka's take on the blues standard, "Trouble in Mind".


This was Gorka's eleventh studio album release in a career that has spanned over two decades. The album held the top position on the Folk Radio airplay chart for the months of September and October 2009.[1] Folk Alley named "Ignorance & Privilege" as #6 on their list of The Top 10 Folk Songs of 2009.[2]

Reception and commentary[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Acoustic Guitar favorable[3]
Curator favorable[4]
Flying Shoes favorable[5]
The Gazette favorable[6]
MusicMatters favorable[7]
PopMatters 6/10[8]
Washington Post favorable[9]
Rob Williams favorable[10]

Critical response was positive.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Lyrics Music Musicians Length
1. "A Fond Kiss" Robert Burns John Gorka * John Gorka (vocal, guitar, harmonium, V-Station) 3:37
2. "Whole Wide World" John Gorka John Gorka * John Gorka (vocal, acoustic guitar, percussion) 2:54
3. "Can't Get Over It" John Gorka John Gorka * John Gorka (vocal, acoustic guitar)
  • Dan Chouinard (accordion)
  • Jeff Victor (Oberheim OB8)
4. "Fret One" [instrumental] John Gorka * John Gorka (acoustic guitar)
  • Dirk Freymuth (electric guitar)
  • Michael Manring (fretless bass)
  • Rob Genadek (percussion)
  • "Stylus" (percussion)
5. "Ignorance & Privilege" John Gorka John Gorka * John Gorka (vocal, acoustic guitar)
  • Marc Anderson (percussion)
  • Enrique Toussaint (electric guitar)
  • Dirk Freymuth (electric guitar)
  • Eliza Gilkyson (harmony vocal)
6. "Utah"     (The track is Utah Phillips' recorded voice, stating a wish hear Gorka perform one of his songs.) 0:07
7. "I Think of You" Utah Phillips Utah Phillips * John Gorka (vocal, acoustic guitar)
  • Lucy Kaplansky (harmony vocals)
  • Joel Salyles (upright bass)
  • Jeff Victor (keyboard)
8. "Where No Monument Stands" William Stafford John Gorka * John Gorka (vocal, acoustic guitar)
  • Dean Magraw (electric guitar)
9. "Night into Day" John Gorka John Gorka * John Gorka (vocal, acoustic guitar) 3:44
10. "Fret Not" [instrumental] John Gorka * John Gorka (fretless tackhead banjo) 1:20
11. "Live by the Sword" John Gorka John Gorka * John Gorka (vocal, keyboards, acoustic guitar)
  • Dean Magraw (2nd acoustic guitar)
  • Joel Sayles (upright bass)
12. "Trouble in Mind" Richard M. Jones Richard M. Jones * John Gorka (vocal, acoustic guitar) 3:02
13. "The Dutchman" Michael Smith   * John Gorka (vocal, acoustic guitar) 4:48
14. "Mr. Chambers" John Gorka John Gorka * John Gorka (vocal, acoustic guitar) 2:58
15. "That Was the Year" John Gorka John Gorka * John Gorka (vocal, acoustic guitar) 2:46
16. "Diminishing Winds" John Gorka John Gorka * John Gorka (vocal, guitar)
  • Joel Sayles (harmony vocal)
  • Enrique Toussaint (electric bass)
  • Dan Chouinard (accordion)
  • Marc Anderson (percussion)
113. Untitled   Michael Smith    



  • John Gorka — vocals, fretless banjo, guitar, harmonium, keyboards and percussion
  • Marc Anderson — percussion
  • Dan Chouinard — accordion
  • Dick Freymuth — electric guitar
  • Rob Genadek — Percussion
  • Eliza Gilkyson — vocals
  • Dean Magraw — electric and acoustic guitars
  • Michael Manring — fretless bass
  • Peter Ostroushko — fiddle and mandolin
  • Joel Sayles — vocals, upright bass
  • Enrique Toussaint — electric bass
  • Jeff Victor — keyboards


  • Produced by Rob Genadek and John Gorka
  • Engineering by Rob Genadek and John Gorka at The Brewhouse in Minneapolis, MN
  • Lucy Kaplansky recorded by Mark Dann in New York, New York


  • Front cover painting, "Clairmont near Ascutney" by Tom Pirozzoli[11]
  • Back cover photography by Jos Van Vliet
  • Art direction and design by Jon Reischl

Chart performance[edit]

Chart Peak
Folk Radio Top Albums #1 September & October 2009[1]
Americana Radio Albums #44 December 7, 2009[12]


  1. ^ a b Richard Gillmann, Top Folk Albums, Songs, Artists and Labels of October 2009, Top Folk Albums, Songs, Artists and Labels of November 2009, compiled from playlists submitted to Folk DJ-L
  2. ^ Jim Blum, The Top 10 Folk Songs Of 2009, From Folk Alley, NPR, December 10, 2009
  3. ^ a b Mike Thomas, John Gorka, So Dark You See, Acoustic Guitar, January 2010
  4. ^ a b Ed Eubanks, So Dark You See: The Music of John Gorka, Curator Magazine, April 2, 2010
  5. ^ a b Maurice Hope, John Gorka—So Dark You See, Flying Shoes Review, December 31, 2009
  6. ^ a b Diana Nollen, CD REVIEW: Gorka kicks up fine dust along life’s winding paths, The Gazette/Source Media Group, UPDATED: March 20, 2010
  7. ^ a b Michael Devlin, Review: John Gorka—So Dark You See, MusicMaters Review, 27
  8. ^ a b Richard Elliott, John Gorka: So Dark You See, PopMatters, December 11, 2009
  9. ^ a b Catherine P. Lewis, CD review: John Gorka's So Dark You see, Washington Post, February 26, 2010
  10. ^ a b Rob Williams, John Gorka’s SO DARK YOU CAN SEE (Music Review) [sic], Rob Williams Media, May 9, 2010
  11. ^ "Tom Pirozzoli - Art & Music". Retrieved 2012-03-10. 
  12. ^ Archive Playlist for week of Monday, December 07, 2009, Americana Music Association

External links[edit]