John Gorka to perform at Red Dragon Listening Room on Jan. 14

  By Chelsea Brasted, |The Times-Picayune The Times-Picayune Email the author | Follow on Twitter on January 13, 2014 at 1:06 PM

John Gorka performs at the Red Dragon Listening Room in Baton Rouge on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Tamulevich Artist Representation)

When John Gorka's new album drops sometime in March, it'll represent not only the fruits of three decades' work but also a new approach to an well-worn, familiar path for the folk artist. Gorka first will take an unfamiliar one to Baton Rouge and the Red Dragon Listening Room, where he'll perform his first show ever in the city Jan. 16.

Gorka first officially began his musical career in 1984 when he won the New Folk Award, an honor that clued him in to thinking other people might actually enjoy his music.

"It was the firs time I started to get the idea that maybe there might be a larger audience out there who would like what I was doing," Gorka said. "After that, I got asked to play a couple festivals, and this was before I had any kind of recordings out. That was a nice boost for my confidence".

Since then, Gorka has been on a circuit of quirky opera houses and listening spaces and he's released more than a dozen albums. For the next one, however, he changed his approach, which is why fans have waited a little longer than they've been used to in the past 10 years.

"I did it a little bit at a time over a long period of time," Gorka said. "This way I can see how the performances held up over time for me."Shelf life is an important aspect to Gorka's writing, especially now when he's still called upon to perform songs more than two decades old.

"I don't mind that people like the old songs," he said. "I like them, too. The shows are kind of like I'm telling a story, and if I leave out the beginning, then the story doesn't make much sense."

The new collection of songs, entitled "Bright Side of Down," is expected to see a March release. The album, Gorka admits, has a wintery theme simply based on the grouping of songs that came out of his time in the studio. The theme was more accident than intention.

"The working title of the last several projects has been 'Illusion of Control,'" Gorka laughed.

Gorka performs at the Red Dragon Listening Room on Thursday, Jan. 16 with Gina Forsyth opening. Tickets are $30 or $40 for reserved VIP seating. Email for tickets.


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