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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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September 2018

1
The Devil Makes Three
70 pts.
Chains Are Broken
New West
FC,JB,RK,TJ,LK
2
Jimmy LaFave
65 pts.
Peace Town
Music Road Records
PKO
3
Malcolm Holcombe
48 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
FB,JBO
4
Cody Canada & the Departed
47 pts.
3
Blue Rose Records
CVL,DHO
5
Jeffrey Foucault
43 pts.
Blood Brothers
Blueblade Records
MB,SZ
6
The War And Treaty
42 pts.
Healing Tide
Thirty Tigers
FCE,AL,MG
7
Martha Fields
40 pts.
Dancing Shadows
Independent
SP,DH,RST,RW
8
The Weight Band
35 pts.
World Gone Mad
Must Have Music
DD,CRS,BM
9
David Olney
32 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music
LM
 
The Black Sorrows
32 pts.
Citizen John
Blue Rose Records
 
11
Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis
31 pts.
Wild Wild Wild
Bloodshot Records
GS
12
Hadley McCall Thackston
28 pts.
Hadley McCall Thackston
Wolfe Island Records
 
 
Nathan Bell
28 pts.
Er Gwaetha Pawb a Phopeth
Angry Stick
PK
14
Curse Of Lono
26 pts.
As I Fell
Submarine Cat Records
MM,JF
15
Ryan Martin
25 pts.
Gimme Some Light
High Moon
 
 
Stephen Simmons
25 pts.
Gall
Locke Creek Records
TK,HDB
17
Jason McNiff
23 pts.
Joy And Independence
At The Helm Records
 
 
Jim Lauderdale
23 pts.
Time Flies
Yep Roc
 
 
Kevin Gordon
23 pts.
Tilt and Shine
Crowville Media
MP
20
Eliza Gilkyson
21 pts.
Secularia
Red House Records
KG,JJC
21
Boz Scaggs
20 pts.
Out Of the Blues
Concord Records
BH,JSM
 
Lucero
20 pts.
Among The Ghosts
Thirty Tigers
JJ
 
Melissa Carper & Rebecca Patek
20 pts.
Brand New Old-Time Songs
Independent
MW
24
The Jayhawks
17 pts.
Back Roads and Abandoned Motels
Legacy
 
25
Lori McKenna
16 pts.
Tree
Cn Records

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