CD Writing In
The Margins

"I don’t have as much time,” He lamented when asked if he still felt inspired to write new songs.. “The working title .of the record I’m working on now is Writing in the Margins because that’s kind of what I have to do with songwriting"...

00..PortFolio Weekly..January 10, 2006

0 1. CHANCE OF RAIN ..............................(..Preview)
2. BROKEN PLACE .................................(..Preview)
0 3
6. BLUER STATE ....................................(..Preview)
. .8. THE LOCKKEEPER. .........................(..Preview)
... ......................(..Preview)


Click here to listen to all sound samples

Tracks 3, 4, 7, 10, 11, & 12: written by John Gorka
Tracks 1, 2, 6 and 9: written by
John Gorka & Laurie Allman. Laurie and
John also
wrote "Trouble and Care" (on Old Futures Gone) together.
Track 5: written by Townes VanZandt
Track 8: written by
Stan Rogers

John Gorka (vocals, acoustic guitar);
Joel Sayles (vocals, bass guitar);
Kathleen Johnson, Lucy Kaplansky, Alice Peacock, Nanci Griffith (vocals);
Dirk Freymuth (acoustic guitar, electric guitar);
Eric Heywood, Joe Savage (pedal steel guitar); Kenni Holmen (saxophone);
Steve Strand (trumpet);
Michael B. Nelson (trombone);
Jeff Victor, Tommy Barbarella (keyboards);
Michael Manring (bass instrument);
JT Bates (drums);
Rob Genadek (percussion)

Producer: Rob Genadek
Engineer: Rob Genadek


RHR194D 2006 ..

Listen to John Gorka : John about writing in the Margins
November 11, 2005 (before concert at Kent stage).. 64 sec.

Listen to John Gorka ....the story behind "Snow Don't fall" .
May 12, 2006 (WSUI AM 910).
.58 sec.

Listen to John Gorka ...The story behind "When You Sing"
July 2, 2006 Transitions Radio Magazine [TRM]
..120 sec.

Listen to John Gorka . John talks about the recording time and technique ('no overdubbing of vocals')
October 6, 2006 (WUMB-FM) .. 120 sec

"When You Sing" is dedicated to blues and Gospel singer Mavis Staples. They met at Appelfarm Festival last year, and Gorka said to Ms. Staples "When you sing, you make the world a better place," and after thanking him, she said "That soundslike a song." So Gorka was inspired write one. The small band is joined by a horn section and backing vocalist Kathleen Johnson, for one of the most upbeat tracks on the CD, both musically and lyrically.

This photo of Mavis Staples (made by Mark Silver) was made live at Appelfarm Festival 2005




John Gorka returns with his most compelling and powerful collection of new songs with guest appearances by Nanci Griffith, Lucy Kaplansky and Alice Peacock. The songs brilliantly cover a variety of themes regarding the human condition, but the stunning centerpiece is the title track. Written from the point of view of a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan, it is an amazinly moving song.


The best singer/ songwriters are often the ones who deserve wider recognition, and that includes John Gorka. His latest effort, "Writing in the Margins," is a pleasure, a deftly mixed bag of a dozen tunes, including a pair of finely wrought covers: Townes Van Zandt's "Snow Don't Fall" and Stan Rogers' "The Lockkeeper." The remaining 10 tracks offer choice moments like "When You Sing," Gorka's very cool tribute to the wondrous Mavis Staples, complete with horns. It's modern folk with a touch of soul. The title track is a poignant soldier's tale that's more personal than political, while "I Miss Everyone" has a pronounced country lilt worthy of Asleep at the Wheel and a nice backing vocal from Lucy Kaplansky. This is one of Gorka's most impressive outings. —Philip Van Vleck

Read an interview with John Gorka
from june 1, 2006
in The Toronto Star:
Just me and my guitar ...

A walk with Gorka

CD review 'Writing in the margins' in FolkWax
December 2006


Writing in the Margins
posted by Mike in Reviews, Folk, Acoustic
Mon, Sep 04, 2006

John Gorka - Writing in the Margins, Reviewed posted by Mike in Reviews, Folk, Acoustic Mon, Sep 04, 2006 I was reminded of John Gorka while watching a Judy Garland biography on PBS last week; he wrote a character sketch of the actress on his first album, detailing the movie studio mistreatment that contributed to her tragic struggles. It was a fledgling example of his ability to report the human condition with keen insight and lucidity, of his uncanny ability to wring deep meaning from the mundane.

A product of the Fast Folk movement of the 1980's, Gorka has released ten albums since 1987, with nary a dud among them. His ardent pen and warm, relaxed delivery make him an envious blend of Jackson Browne and James Taylor; his thoughtful craftsmanship and quotable songs remind me of Townes Van Zandt. If I may say so, he writes songs to live your life by.

Writing in the Margins presents another batch of sincerity and wisdom: in "Chance of Rain" he sings about risks and the costs of not taking them; "Broken Place" suggests that hard times bring more blessings than good times; and the title song and "Road of Good Intentions" strike a decidedly anti-war pose as Gorka warns "…there's more fiction out of Washington than out of Hollwood."

For the first time in his career, Gorka borrows material from other writers. Worth the wait, Townes Van Zandt's "Snow Don't Fall" and Stan Rogers' exquisite "Lock-Keeper" turn out to be the best tracks on the CD. An entire album of Gorka interpreting Townes Van Zandt should be a strong consideration by Red House Records.

Writing in the Margins is one of the best of the year, but not John Gorka's best; for that check out 1990's Land of the Bottom Line. And for a decent survey of Gorka's music, check out the recently released Pure John Gorka - a batch of songs from his Windham Hill years (1990-96).

A part of the article:
String Theories
Science and Art of Recording Acoustic Guitar

SOURCE: AllAboutJazz.com Publicity
Posted: 2008-07-19

Singer/songwriter John Gorka’s description of his record Writing in the Margins as a “quietly subversive search for hope” sums up producer/engineer/mixer Rob Genadek’s approach to inconspicuously capturing Gorka’s rich voice and acoustic guitar playing — without sacrificing character or clarity. “John uses a Lawson L47 tube vocal mic,” says Genadek. “Then we used two Neumann KM184s, one near the neck and one near the bridge [of the acoustic], somewhere near the body. That one ends up sounding mid-rangy but it fills in all the stuff that the other one misses. John doesn’t get real close to the vocal mics, so there is quite a bit of guitar in the vocal mic . . . it becomes a matter of getting his voice right, then working with the other mics to place them in the right position to ensure that the phase characteristics are all complementary among the three. You can move a microphone an inch this way or that way without affecting the sound it captures too much, but when it is combined with another [mic], it can be a drastic change. How do you fix it? You move the mic, obviously.”


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