In 2021 I saw that John Gorka, was performing a virtual concert—so I bought tickets, set up a video projector, and watched him in my living room with my wife and my two boys. It was a moment of light in a dark time. So, when it came time to put together Restoring Memory: A COVIDCalls exploration of the first 2 COVID years, I took a chance and reached out—and well, he’s here!
From New Jersey, John Gorka is a world-renowned singer-songwriter who got his start at a neighborhood coffeehouse in eastern Pennsylvania. Jack Hardy’s legendary Fast Folk circle (a breeding ground for many a major singer-songwriter) was a powerful source of education and encouragement early in his career, and he won the New Folk Award in 1984 at Texas’ Kerrville Folk Festival. In addition to his 11 critically acclaimed albums, John released a collector’s edition box featuring a hi-definition DVD and companion CD called The Gypsy Life. Windham Hill also released a collection of John’s greatest hits from the label called Pure John Gorka. In 2010, he also released an album with his friends and Red House label-mates Lucy Kaplansky and Eliza Gilkyson under the name Red Horse. Getting high praise from critics and fans alike, it landed on the Billboard Folk Charts and was one of the most played albums on folk radio. Many well known artists have recorded and/or performed John Gorka songs, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nanci Griffith, Mary Black and Maura O’Connell. John has played all over the USA and Europe at hallowed venues like Austin City Limits and Mountain Stage.