NEW FOLK SONGWRITER JOHN GORKA RETURNS TO EIGHTH STEP
Popular baritone represents best of contemporary folk genre- honors roots
firmly planted in folk community
Singer-songwriter-guitarist-pianist JOHN GORKA, regarded as "the pre-eminent
male singer-songwriter of the New Folk Movement" (Rolling Stone) returns for
an EIGHTH STEP concert at 8 PM, FRIDAY, MARCH 7, 2003, THE EIGHTH STEP at ST
ROSE/St Joseph Hall, 985 Madison Street, Albany.
“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…” -The New York Times
“He weaves wry, slice-of-life observations reminiscent of Lyle Lovell and
John Prine.” -Associated Press
Gorka’s last two albums were released on Red House Records, marking a return
to the label that issued his critically acclaimed, career-launching debut
album I Know in 1987. Between then and now Gorka recorded several albums on
Windham Hill’s High Street record label. He's also appeared annually at The
Eighth Step beginning in the original downstairs coffeehouse and moving
upstairs, then to Cohoes Music Hall, and even to Page Hall for "On A Winter's
Night" (co-produced with Caffe Lena as 'The Step Caffe'). See more
information below , or go to www.johngorka.com.
Doors open at 7 pm; College of St Rose is wheelchair accessible & smoke-free;
our kitchens serve the region’s finest gourmet desserts and beverages. For
travel directions or to call in advance for assistance entering the building,
call (518) 434-1703, or contact The Eighth Step through www.eighthstep.com.
Tickets are $17, with Visa or MasterCard at the TicketLine at (518) 434-1703,
or online at www.eighthstep.com; also by cash or check at Eighth Step Ticket
Outlets: in Albany-Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, or Honest Weight Food
Co-op (Central Ave); Schenectady- The Open Door (Jay St); Troy- The Music
Shack (River St); Clifton Park- The GreenGrocer (Halfmoon Plaza, Rte 9);
Saratoga- Celtic Treasures (Broadway).
JOHN GORKA-- BIOGRAPHY
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 young Moravian College student JOHN GORKA.
Though his academic course work lay in Philosophy and History, he found music
infinitely more enticing. Soon he found himself living in the club's basement
and acting as resident emcee 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 moved
and intrigued him; before long he was performing his own songs, mostly as an
opener for visiting acts.
Soon Gorka began 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. Then he hit folk
meccas like Texas' Kerrville Folk Festival (he took the New Folk Award in
1984) and Boston, his stunningly soulful baritone voice and emerging
songwriting beginning to turn heads in earnest. 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. When an
offer came from Windham Hill's Will Ackerman in 1989, he signed with that
label's inprint, High Street Records. He recorded 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-- introducing his music
to an ever-widening audience. His video for the single "When She Kisses Me"
found long-term rotation on VH-1's "Current Country" as well as on CMT and
the Nashville Network. John also graced the stage of Austin City Limits,
appeared on CNN, and has been the subject of other national programming.
Finally in 1998, after five successful recordings and seven years at Windham
Hill/High Street, John returned to his musical roots at Red House Records.
The choice was driven, in part, by the artistic integrity represented by Red
House in an industry increasingly obsessed with the business of music. As
Gorka puts it, "Red House is in it first for the music, and so am I. It's a
good place to be."
After Yesterday represented the first fruits of that reunion and reflects
John's continuing commitment to the craft of songwriting. Its twelve songs
encompass John's trademark twist of lyric and attention to the details that
so effectively evoke a time, a place, a person, or a range of emotion. But
there are also the stirrings of new musical directions, notably the evocative
addition of percussion from Ani DiFranco's drummer Andy Stochansky. Gorka
also shared 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 cuts such as "Cypress Trees," "After Yesterday"
and "When He Cries." He voices a more hardened knowledge in "Thorny Patch"
and "Wisdom." Story songs and character studies, "Amber Lee," "Silvertown"
and "Zuly" engage the imagination, while "Heroes" provokes introspection.
Though a long way from Godfrey Daniels, John Gorka is still honored to be a
part of the folk tradition -- energetic acoustic music, not trend nor fad,
but a reach for transcendent expression of everyday life. After Yesterday
embodies that expression -- another classic release where his rich baritone
voice and unique songcraft weave together in a way that is uniquely "Gorka."
* * *