‘TRUE IN TIME’ ON NPR’s FOLK ALLEY
Catch John’s showcase at Folk Alliance International on Saturday, February 17th in Kansas City – Celebrating Red House’s 35th Anniversary!
“Wry, slice-of-life observations reminiscent of Lyle Lovett and John Prine.”
— Associated Press
“A pleasure…modern folk with a touch of soul.”
“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
Iconic singer-songwriter John Gorka’s new studio album, TRUE IN TIME, is premiering now at NPR’s Folk Alley. They cite the album’s “deep and meaningful songs” and write that “Gorka’s soulful voice, songwriting, and guitar work are what we’re here for, and they are given center stage.” TRUE IN TIME will be released on Friday, January 19, 2018 on Red House Records. John will be one of the performers at Folk Alliance International this year performing at a special showcase celebrating Red House’s 35th Anniversary. Details will be announced soon.
This is Gorka’s first new studio album since 2014’s BRIGHT SIDE OF DOWN and it’s an engaging, personal album that shows the full range of Gorka’s artistry, exhibiting his spirited acoustic guitar playing, insightful lyrics and wry, witty storytelling. Produced by Rob Genadek at Uptown Sound in Minneapolis, it features a band of some of the Twin Cities best musicians in live sessions, with vocal cameos contributed by fellow folk luminaries Jonatha Brooke, Eliza Gilkyson, and Lucy Kaplansky.
The tracks capture the sound of career musicians (and friends) who understand where Gorka’s music comes from and instinctively know what to contribute. You can hear the songs lock into place with a spontaneity and vibe that makes you, the listener, feel as if you’ve been invited to sit in. There’s a warmth, both sonically and in the interaction of the players, that makes this one of Gorka’s best, and that’s saying something.
The tracks sound fresh and lived in at the same time. “A lot of the songs on this record remind me of Utah Phillips’ line ‘The past didn’t go anywhere’ and Faulkner’s ‘The past is never dead. It’s not even past,’” says Gorka of the album’s themes.
“I wrote the title song with Pete Kennedy (The Kennedys). When Carrie Fisher and her mom, Debbie Reynolds, died within a day of each other I quoted lines from Paul Simon‘s ‘Mother and Child Reunion’ on Facebook — ‘Oh I would not give you false hope on this strange and mournful day. But a mother and child reunion is only a motion away.’ Pete responded, ‘Maybe all songs come true in time.’ Later he wrote, ‘True in time sounds like a song,’ and we proceeded to write the song long distance via email. We collaborated on the title and the lyrics and I came up with the tune,” Gorka says. “I think that ‘What is true?’ is a question a lot of us are asking today.”
John Gorka continues to find new insights in the commonplace, beauty in the ordinary, the twist of bitter in the sweet, all delivered with one of the most distinctive folk voices of our time.
The iconic songwriter’s 14th album will be out January 19th on Red House Records.
From New Jersey, John Gorka is a world-renowned singer-songwriter who got his start at a neighborhood coffeehouse in eastern Pennsylvania. Though small, Godfrey Daniels was and is one of the oldest and most venerable music institutions and has long been a hangout for music lovers and aspiring musicians. In the late 1970’s, John was was one of these aspiring musicians. Although his academic coursework at Moravian College 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 MC and sound man, encountering legendary folk troubadours 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 original 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, when an offer came from Windham Hill’s Will Ackerman in 1989, he signed with that label’s imprint, High Street Records. He 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. 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. He also started sharing tours with many notable friends—Nanci Griffith and Mary Chapin Carpenter among them. All this brought his music to an ever-widening audience. His video for the single “When She Kisses Me” found a long-term rotation on VH-1’s “Current Country,” as well as on CMT and the Nashville Network.
In 1998, after five successful recordings and seven years at Windham Hill/High Street, John felt the need for a change and decided to return to his musical roots at Red House Records. The choice was driven, in part, by the artistic integrity that the label represents in an industry where the business of music too often takes precedence. The 1998 release After Yesterday marked a decidedly different attitude towards making music for John, and his next release The Company You Keep held fast to his tradition of fine songwriting, yet moved forward down new avenues. Its 14 songs displays John’s creative use of lyrics and attention to detail. Andy Stochansky played drums and shared production credits with John and Rob Genadek. Ani DiFranco, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lucy Kaplansky and Patty Larkin contributed stellar guitar work and vocals to this fan favorite. Old Futures Gone was informed by his life as husband and father of two young children and also contained the colorful experience of many hard years on the road. Writing in the Margins followed in 2006 and was an engaging collection of sweet and serious songs that spanned many musical genres—folk, pop, country and soul—and featured guest vocalistsNanci Griffith, Lucy Kaplansky and Alice Peacock. His 11th studio album, 2009’s So Dark You See, found him returning to his early folks roots with a batch of originals as well as covers of songs by Utah Phillips and Michael Smith and a cover of the blues standard “Trouble in Mind.” March 2014 saw the release of Bright Side of Down, a catchy, timeless batch of folk-pop songs produced with Rob Genadek with guest vocals by his label mates Lucy Kaplansky, Eliza Gilkyson, Claudia Schmidt and Michael Johnson. A live performance DVD,John Gorka Live at Tales from the Tavern, an interview and convert DVD filmed in 2013, is available now through Tales From the Tavern’s website at www.talesfromthetavern.com.
In addition to his 14 critically acclaimed albums, John has released a collector’s edition box featuring a hi-definition DVD and companion CD called The Gypsy Life. Windham Hill also released a collection of John’s greatest hits from the label called Pure John Gorka. In 2010, he also released an album with his friends and Red House label-mates Lucy Kaplansky and Eliza Gilkyson under the name Red Horse. Getting high praise from critics and fans alike, it landed on the Billboard Folk Charts and was one of the most played albums on folk radio.
Many well known artists have recorded and/or performed John Gorka songs, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nanci Griffith, Mary Black and Maura O’Connell. John has graced the stage of Austin City Limits, Mountain Stage, etown and has appeared on CNN. His new song “Where No Monuments Stand” is featured in the documentary Every War Has Two Losers about activist and Oregon Poet Laureate William Stafford (1914-1993).