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Get to know Gorka

See the musician Rolling Stone magazine called “the pre-eminent male singer/songwriter of the new folk movement.”

John Gorka returns to play a concert in celebration of his studio album “So Dark You See” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday Nov. 9 at Crossings.

For the first time in his 20-plus year career, he includes two original instrumental tunes.

The tracks embody the future and history of acoustic music. One song features new beats and a contemporary feel and the next is an old-timey banjo number evoking the raw sounds of a vintage field recording.

Gorka’s reputation as a world-renowned singer-songwriter has grown over a career spanning over two decades.

New Jersey born and now based in Minnesota, he's authored a critically acclaimed body of work celebrated in collector’s edition box called “The Gypsy Life” featuring a hi-definition DVD and companion CD.

Windham Hill Records also released a collection of his greatest hits from the label Pure John Gorka.

In 2010, he also released an album with his friends and Red House Records label-mates Lucy Kaplansky and Eliza Gilkyson under the name Red Horse.

On “So Dark You See,” Gorka brings together fellow songwriters Peter Ostroushko, Dean Magraw, Gilkyson and Kaplansky to recreate the feeling of spontaneity and magic of playing with friends on a festival stage.

Tickets are $24 in advance, $26 at the door. To reserve tickets, visit, call 507-732-7616 or stop in to Crossings at 320 East Avenue in Zumbrota.

Read more about Gorka’s connection with music and musician tastes below.

We asked, he answered

How long have you been involved with music?

I think I’ve been involved with music since I could hear it – it has affected me since the very beginning.

Describe your music genre.

I don’t really know what to call it. Sometimes I call it acoustic folk, but it has elements of country, blues, R&B and gospel.

What instruments do you or can you play?

That depends on who you ask. I try to play guitar, banjo and piano.

What or who inspires your music?

Songs can be inspired by anything I experience, see, read about. There is a long list of musicians I have been inspired by. Some from hearing them on records – Tim Hardin, Joni Mitchell, John Prine, Steve Goodman, Janis Ian and others. Others I have seen live, primarily at Godfrey’s Daniels Coffeehouse in Bethlehem, Penn. – Stan Rodgers, Jack Hardy, Claudia Schmidt, Rosalee Sorrells, Nanci Griffith.

Do you have a favorite piece of your own work?

No, that would be like favoring one child over another. If I did, I wouldn’t say.

Are you currently working on any project?

Yes, doing the final mixes on my new CD, which is due out in late January. The working title is “The Bright Side of Down.”

What would you want most people to know about you, as a musician?

That I am still working at it and don’t feel I have it made.

What is one song off your top 10 favorite song list?

“Time” by Tom Waits

Do you have a favorite artist – in any type of art medium?

Not really, but perhaps Maya Angelou.

Besides music, do you have interesting hobbies?

Recording music and riding my bicycle.

What is one thing someone wouldn’t know about you?

What I am going to say next, even I don’t know that.

If you were to listen one song – any song – right now, what would it be?

I would pop the album I am working on in the car and press the random play button.

Stacy Bengs-Silverberg

Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.

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