Mpls.St.Paul Magazine takes a snapshot look at local folk singer John Gorka. November 2006 By Katie Derdoski

LIVES: Marine-on-St. Croix

ON WRITING IN THE MARGINS, HIS LATEST RED HOUSE RECORDS RELEASE: “I think of the record in general as a search for hope. If there’s a theme to the record, that’s it—a quietly subversive search for hope.”

NEW TUNE: “I like ‘When You Sing’—it’s my first time having horns on a record. I love the way they turned out. But I like them all, otherwise I wouldn’t put them on.”

ON SONGWRITING: “It’s still a mystery in many ways to me. Songs can come from something I hear. Other times, I’m playing guitar and I realize I’m playing something I’ve not played before or it strikes me as emotionally evocative. I try not to write any one way, and I try to be open. The sparks can come from just about everywhere, so you have to be on the lookout.”

ON HIS MUSIC RADAR: “Antje Duvekot, a young woman from Germany, the new Paul Simon, and lots of Bob Marley. I listen to my iPod on shuffle, and it’s like the greatest radio station I’ve ever heard.”

HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR: “I visited the Spam museum in Austin. That was a thrill—after that, I feel like a true Minnesotan. It was very moving!”

CATCH HIS ACT: Nov. 11 2006. The Cedar, 416 Cedar Ave., Mpls., 612-338-2674,