by Robert Wilkinson
Though relatively few know of this brilliant talent, and even fewer know his birthday, today we celebrate the great folk singer-songwriter John Gorka. If you haven't heard him sing, you're in for a major treat!
I first heard him on a Windham Hill Christmas cd, and his voice immediately got my attention. His music is haunting, beautiful, humorous, poignant, rowdy, and definitely geniune. As the SD Union Trib wrote, "His piercing poetic lyrics are as arresting as his vocals... folk heaven."
There are quite a few videos out there, so prepare to enjoy yourself with one of the great talents of our era! As usual, some require more time to buffer than others, but they're all worth the wait. If you want the video to open in a new tab, right click on the link.
Let's begin with one of my favorites, written in a somewhat grim stage of his life. Here's the title song from his 2nd cd, Land of the Bottom Line. Though the album features an amazingly powerful set of tracks, as he sez, it really doesn't have any happy songs on it. Still, it's truly a great album!
Here's an extraordinarily funny song, a wry take on aging: People My Age
As any one from New Jersey will agree, this song gets it all in a nutshell: I'm From New Jersey
My wife is a New Jersey Italian and loves this one! From "Land of the Bottom Line," Italian Girls
Combine a haunting voice singing a sad song, and you get a little piece of his genuineness (which is why so many love him!) Here are two sad ones and one fairly in your face, all from "Land of the Bottom Line" (I told you it's an amazing album!)
Another confessional from early in his career, a bit of a rocker:
Another early one, Jack's Crows
From "Writing in the Margins," the extraordinary title song: Writing In the Margins
Also from "Writing in the Margins," Chance of Rain
The title song of his new DVD (it's great!) Gypsy Life
The Gypsy Life Named after a JG song, this page is all about John and his album "Writing in the Margins." Lots of info and links.
And here's John Gorka video site, created by a big JG fan, it includes videos of his 2009 European tour, interviews, video and audio clips, and just about anything you'd ever want to know about this singular and remarkable talent.
So here's to you, John Gorka! You are truly one of the best. May you have many, many more birthdays, happier times to come, and an ever increasing group of fans who love and appreciate you and your music. (And may your DVD sell at least a hundred thousand. It's a great piece of work!)
© Copyright 2009 Robert Wilkinson