John Gorka
Kennebec Journal Staff
Copyright 2012 MaineToday Media, Inc.
31 Front St., Waterville, ME 04901

Lucky Clark

Slates in Hallowell will host Sunday and Monday night concerts by John Gorka. He began his career in the late 70s and released his first album "I Know," on Red House Records in 1987. He moved to Windham Hill's High Street imprint label in 1989 and released five albums during the next seven years. In 1998, he returned to Red House and recently released his 11th studio album, and a trio format with singer-songwriters Lucy Kaplanski and Eliza Gilkyson called "Red Horse." Ever since he started he's been coming to our state fairly regularly. An interview was arranged that reached him at his St. Paul, Minn., home.

Q: How are things going?
Gorka: They're all right -- things are very good.

Q: Now, you've done two nights in a row at Slates before, haven't you?
Gorka: Yes ... I've done it once or twice. No more than twice -- but maybe it was one time.

Q: At least you know what to expect when you get there.
Gorka: Yeah, it's a great place with great people and great food, so it's easy to go back.

Q: Your manager told me that you had a couple of projects cooking on the back burners. Could we talk about those?
Gorka: Oh, yes, I've got projects to work on. There's a Red Horse one that's in the works that will probably be the first thing. Then I have my own project that I have to get going. So, yeah, it's fun -- I've got a bunch of songs picked out for the Red Horse, now it's just a matter of learning them -- and then recording them.

Q: Now Red Horse is that the trio you have with Lucy Kaplanski and Eliza Gilkyson?
Gorka: That's right ... and this is our second album. It continues to be fun and it works well personally, musically our voices go together well so it's very, very fun. Now prior to the first project we had never sung together before -- all three of us. I had sung with Lucy since forever and done stuff with Eliza, and Eliza sang with Lucy one time, but the three of us had never sung together, so it's really fun that it worked out.

Q: Do you do much touring as a trio?
Gorka: Yeah, we did a lot of shows together last year -- we did a ton of shows all over the U.S. and some in Canada. It was fun and we got to play at some new places, new towns, new venues. It was a great thing to do.

Q: What about your solo stuff?
Gorka: Well, I've got a whole bunch of songs ready to go. I think that being with Red Horse -- just traveling with that kind of company and the conversations and ideas kind of floating around has brought in a lot of songs for me personally.

Q: When will that album of solo work come out, do you know?
Gorka: Sometime next year -- probably summer of next year because I probably won't get a chance to work on it until September. I should have some time then. I have more than enough songs for that.

Q: Will the folks at Slates get a chance to hear some of that material?
Gorka: Probably not -- I don't know it well enough yet.

Q: Oh, and when will the new Red Horse CD come out? About the same time as your solo album?
Gorka: No, that will be out probably at the end of February or March of next year. The first one came out in July of 2010. It got us some nice attention allowing us to continue the fun. That was the idea behind the record -- to give us a reason to hang out together. We couldn't have predicted that it was going to be a good business move.

Q: Is there anything you'd like me to pass on to the readers of this article about your upcoming shows?
Gorka: Well, I always look forward to coming to Maine. It's always something special, and I'm glad that people always keep coming out to the shows. Oh, I'm also playing something new at the live shows. I've been bringing along this little electric guitar with me, doing a few songs on that ... it's a tiny thing called a G-Sharp guitar and it's opened up a kind of new world for me. It's fun ... it's a nice surprise to be plugged in.

Lucky Clark has spent more than four decades writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at

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