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JOHN GORKA —SO DARK YOU SEE - Red House (media)

www.redhouserecords.com
Singer-songwriter, John Gorka is a unique talent. He has a fabulous singing voice and, he writes great songs too. While not all the songs on the album are his own, the ones he has brought in are likewise top order fare. As in his fine interpretations of the poems of Robert Burns and William Stafford, respectively ‘Ae Fond Kiss’ and ‘Where No Monument Stands’, plus you have versions of Bruce ‘Utah’ Phillips’ ‘I Think Of You’ (c/w the briefest of introduction from the late bard), Michael Smith’s popular story-ballad ‘The Dutchman’ that fits his style, perfectly, and a version of the blues perennial ‘Trouble In Mind’ augment his own work. ‘Trouble In Mind’ has the short, but wonderful blues leaning instrumental ‘Fret One’ for company as Gorka with acoustic and Dick Freymuth on electric guitar pick some good stuff. Staying in this vein Gorka plays some choice fret-less banjo on ‘Fret Not’ that though made in his home it has rustic field like recording sound that near surpasses all others. So great is the sound!

Heard at his melodic best on ‘Whole Wide World’ he hooks onto a splendid little melody plus, he has the lovely soothing tones of Eliza Gilkyson lend support. When you place a John Gorka record on your player you not only get music that is good but, it welcomes you right on into his own emotional state of mind as he takes an intimate take on life. One of the prettiest songs is ‘Mr. Chambers’, while on bringing in the accordion of Dan Chouinard ‘That Was The Year’ is both funny and soothing. Also of a soothing nature we have the closing track ‘Diminishing Winds’ that has ‘the fabulous’ Lucy Kaplansky on harmony vocals, and mandolin player Peter Ostroushko lend crucial support to the wistful and imaginative ode.

Others of note include ‘Can’t get Over It’. Another that has the benefit of accordion, and on possessing a keen urgency ‘Ignorance And Privilege’ pounds on in relentless fashion —just how I love Gorka (John at his creative best, man his music speaks to me). While the presentation of Utah’s ‘I Think Of You’ with a hint of an old Celtic melody and Kaplansky in superb voice alongside a supporting cast of Jeff Victor (keyboards), Joel Sayles (upright bass) and Marc Anderson (percussion) it gains wings. As for his song, ‘Live By The Sword’ it is a snappy, lyrically sharp affair. If you are unfamiliar with Gorka then here is the opportunity to correct the defect in your persona plus, as a new year’s resolution why not have ‘become more acquainted with music coming from Red House records’ as your musical aim.
Maurice Hope

Folk legend John Gorka sat the KXT studios Thursday, December 3 for a live performance with afternoon host Joe Kozera.


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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
 
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Gliding
Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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