"Bright Side of Down" arrives during the twenty-fifth anniversary of John Gorka's first record. But this is not your father's Gorka album. Largely absent is the affectionate satire of "I'm from New Jersey," the political commentary of "Land of the Bottom Line," and the up-tempo passion of "Mean Streak." With arrangements built around acoustic guitar, and vocals recorded with a different pre-amp and mike, Gorka takes a softer, gentler approach as he ruminates on the passage of time and the passing of friends.
opener, "Holed Up in Mason City," introduces the themes of time and
winter that run throughout. A fierce storm has stranded the singer,
stopping time ("The future isn't ready tonight.") in Mason City, where
time stopped in another snowstorm, when a plane crashed, leaving Buddy
Holly eternally twenty-two. In anybody else's hands, the song could
have been heavy-handed, but Gorka lightens it with an accordion sound,
a two-stepping rhythm, and an evening at the fictional Big Bopper Diner.
ever self-deprecating Gorka declares himself and spring the winners,
but he's down on his knees with the loser anyway. No matter what freezes
us, a thaw can come and this record is warm enough to help get you through