.. ....

Click on the poster to download (1.41 MB)

the new CD

so dark you see

John Gorka: "It's a more intimate, vocal and guitar centered record than the last two."

Click here to buy an autographed CD
( $15,00 or €10,97)


Click here if you want to hear John talking about the cover (KXT Dec.2009)... 1'41"
Click here if you want to hear John talking about the photo (MPR Nov.2009). 0'45"

.....Back cover photo "so dark you see" (made by Jos van Vliet!)
.......Click on the photo to download the big version: 2,97 MB






John Gorka newsletter october, 14, 2009

Greetings Dear Reader and Listener,

It's already snowed here a couple of times with more on the way tonight, but I still believe we will have Autumn here in Minnesota. That's kind of an optimistic statement for me, maybe because it's early and the caffeine is still at its most effective stage. Anyway, the new cd, "so dark you see" is officially out there. I've been selling them at shows for the past couple of weekends but now it's available in stores and online. From what I'm told you can find them at Barnes & Noble and the finest nonvirtual record stores. Maybe there is one near you. Online, Amazon.com has the best price I've seen. Redhouserecords.com has them for a little more but they also have "Writing in the Margins" on sale for $5.00! That's less than they charge me for the ones I sell at shows! I'll see if they will let me in on that price.

I'm glad to be working with Red House on this one though as they are one of the best independent labels out there.

You might see a logo on the back of the cd for Blue Chalk Records. That is my modest little imprint. I'm hoping to be able to put out new recordings under that label in a downloadable or physical form. More than likely, things that wouldn't fit on the full length "records" I do with Red House. The whole world of record labels and record stores has changed so much since I got started... (I started to ramble here so I went back and took most of that out.) In any case, I hope it won't be 3 years until the next one.

You can order signed copies of "so dark you see" at my website johngorka.com.

PS -- The jukebox is working again on my site. It just doesn't come on automatically anymore. You have to click on it...

Here again is the cover of the cd. It's from a painting by the multitalented singer/songwriter/guitarist/painter Tom Pirozzoli. There are 15 tunes on the record. For the first time there are 2 instrumentals: One guitar instrumental in DADGAD tuning with Dirk Freymuth on electric guitar and Michael Manring on bass. The banjo piece is on fretless banjo and is just me.
The record in general is a more vocal and guitar centered project than the last couple of cds. So it is more like my live sound except with exceptional guests. Lucy Kaplansky returns to sing on 3 songs and for the first time Eliza Gilkyson backs me up, singing on 2 songs. Peter Ostroushko returns to play on 2 songs and Dean Magraw plays on 3. Joel Sayles, Marc Anderson, Enrique Toussaint and Jeff Victor also appear once again. I think of the record as a little folk festival with a variety of lyrical voices that span several styles and musical eras. There are 3 covers: "I Think of You" by Utah Phillips, "The Dutchman" by Michael Smith and "Trouble in Mind" by Richard M. Jones and 2 collaborations with other writers: Robert Burns and William Stafford. There are also a bunch of my own new songs. It is a record of the world I'm from but it is also looking at the new world ahead, in my humble opinion. I hope you will like it.

John Gorka


John Gorka "so dark you see"
Red House Records RHR CD 223

1) A Fond Kiss ...... . .. ...( Preview)
2) Whole Wide World . . .... ......(
3) Can't Get Over it .. .... . .....(
4) Fret One ...... .... . .(
5) Ignorance & Privilege . . ..........(

6) Utah . . .. ........(
7 sec)
7) I Think of You ... .. . ......(
8) Where No Monuments Stand . .. ... ......(
9) Night into Day ........ .. . .(
10) Fret Not ........ . . ..(
11) Live by the Sword . . ..........(
12) Trouble in Mind ...... ... . ..(
13) The Dutchman .. .... . .....(
14) Mr. Chambers .. ...... . ...(
15) That Was the Year ..... . . .....(
16) Diminishing Winds . ....... . ...(

Click here to listen to all sound samples

John Gorka stopped by the Radio Heartland studio (November 4, 2009) to play some songs from his latest release. John played a new instrumental on the banjo and had a nice conversation with Dale Connelly from MPR about the CD "so dark you see".
Songs performed: "I Think of You," "Where No Monuments Stand" and "Ignorance And Privilege" ..........(Click here to support MPR)

If you want to see John playing track 8 and 12: Click here
You will see the John Gorka video sessions, recorded oct 25, 2008

If you want to see the FolkAlley session version "Ignorance & Privilege",
recorded may 5, 2009: Click here

Click here for the article English through Song: John Gorka (about "Ignorance & Privilege")

"Where No Monument Stands” is featured in the upcoming documentary Every War Has Two Losers. This film tells the story of how one man, William Stafford (1914-1993), choose to answer the call to war. It is a story of confronting beliefs that swirl around war - Isn't war inevitable? Even necessary? What about the enemy? Stafford refused to fight in World War Two and served four years in camps for conscientious objectors. Click here for more info.

John Gorka in the Hague, the Netherlands, october 25, 2008.
Photo made by Jos van Vliet


1) The first (dutch) review... altcountryforum site.. (October 22, 2009)
2) So Dark You See review "Citypages" site .......(November 11, 2009)
3) So Dark You See review "Acoustic Guitar"....... (November 13, 2009)
4) So Dark You See review "Oor".............................. (December 9, 2009)
5) So Dark You See review "Popmatters"............... (December 11, 2009)
6) So Dark You See review "alt country.nl" ............ (December 24, 2009)
7) So Dark You See review "Washington Post " .. (February 26, 2010)
8) So Dark You See review "Gazette online " ....... (March 20, 2010)
9) So Dark You See review "Enjoy the music.com" . (March, 2010)


"Claremont Near Ascutney"
is featured as the cover of John Gorka's CD "so dark you see". The canvas painting was made by Tom Pirozzoli

Amazon review (september 15, 2009)

With So Dark You See, John solidifies himself among the folk music greats with a collection of songs that are multi-layered with rich meaning and emotion. Intelligently crafted lines weave themes of love and hope in troubled times together with sharp observations of the privileged few and troubles we must endure. So Dark You See captures a songwriter at the pinnacle of his craft. A Gorka classic!

John Gorka has always been one of the premier songwriters in folk music and with So Dark You See, he offers up yet another masterpiece. The record is powerful, vibrant, intelligent and tender. The 16 tracks dazzle with a freshness that appeals to a broad spectrum of fans yet holds to that classic Gorka sound making this one of his strongest recordings of his career.

With a provocative, soul-stirring, sophistication, John turns keen observations of the troubles and rough roads we travel during tough times into musical gems that shine with a hopefulness in a dark time. Songs like "Whole Wide World" and " Mr. Chambers" are pop-infused folk at their best with choruses that hook you in while "Where No Monument Stand," "Ignorance and Privilege," and " Diminishing Winds" are as contemplative as they are clever. Among John's prolific originals are his compelling reinterpretations of Utah Phillips' "I Think of You," "Trouble in Mind" by Richard Jones and Michael Smith's "The Dutchman."

As all great songwriters do, John pushes his own musical boundaries with his first recorded instrumentals "Fret One" and "Fret Not." These two songs have as much of an emotional impact as the others, but allow John to showcase his raw talent as a musician.

On So Dark You See, John Gorka delivers an ambitious and striking collection of songs with a thematic complexity that digs into the darkness of the human condition and drags it back out into the light. Like the lone skeleton of a tree on the cover that has weathered the storm, Gorka's words part the clouds to reassure the listener that once you can see through the darkness there is hope on the horizon.




The three covers on the new CD....

On the new CD "so dark you see" John Gorka will play three songs from other artists. Joshua, aka Boyhowdy made a nice blog about the covers you can read it here. John Gorka told about it in the John Gorka videosite interview (may 31, 2009). Here are the original versions of track 7, 12, 13 and:







Click here to listen to

"I Think of You" by Utah Phillips (1935-2008)
vocals: Rosalie Sorrels

CD "Starlight On The Rails - A Songbook "
Record Label: Daemon Records (2005)

"I Think Of You" I ought to mention about song-
writing generally, and especially writing songs like
this: very often you write a song as a matter of
housecleaning, sweeping your head out, throwing

out the
garbage. You walk up to a cliff and take this garbage and drop it off. You never want to see it again. When someone in the audience asks you to sing one of those songs, it's like walking up to you and handing you a bag of garbage and asking if it belongs to you. Not that I necessarily feel that way about "If I Could Be the Rain" or "I Think of You''. They're just difficult songs for me to sing. I started writing "I Think of You" in Korea in 1958, and I finished it in 1960. 1 wrote it for my first wife.

............. .UTAH PHILLIPS

John Gorka & Bruce Utah Phillips at
Godfrey Daniels in 1994. >





Click here to listen to

"Trouble In Mind" by Richard M. Jones (1892-1945)
CD: "Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1927-1944)"

Richard Myknee Jones was from a
musical family in New Orleans and
played a variety of instruments before
making the piano
his main instrument.

He played in Armand Piron's Olympia Orchestra and led his own band called The Four Hot Hounds which included Sugar Johnny Smith and occasionally King Oliver. During World War One he played with Papa Celestin. He left New Orleans in 1919 and moved to Chicago where he set up the Chicago branch of Clarence Williams publishing company and music store. He played in bands in Chicago during the 1920s, but his main gig was as manager of Okeh records race records division. He led his own studio band called Richard M. Jones' Jazz Wizards and accompanied a great number of singers and bands on piano. He continued to be active in music until his death both as a musician and talent scout. Jones is best remembered today as the composer of such Jazz standards as "Trouble In Mind" and "Riverside Blues".




"The Dutchman" by Michael Smith .........>
CD: Michael Smith / Love Stories
Record Label: Flying Fish / Rounder (1991)



back to homepage