I saw John Gorka way back in the late 80s (or maybe it was the early 90s). My memory of the show is quite vague. But I think that he was one of four singer-songwriters appearing on stage that night. Cliff Eberhardt, Nancy Griffith and/or Mary Chapin Carpenter may have been there, too. In any event, I remember that I liked him. He was a classic folk singer. With a good sense of humor, as I recall.
Fast forward 25 or 30 years or so. It's 2017. John Gorka is scheduled to appear in Bryn Mawr as part of the Bryn Mawr Twilight Concert series. And, lo and behold, David Broida, who runs the Bryn Mawr Twilight Concert series, asked if Matt Lyons and I would open for John Gorka. Which is totally cool. We, of course, said yes. And I started re-familiarizing myself with John Gorka. And then David asks if Matt and I can switch dates. And, since we're nice like that, we agreed. So, just like that, we're not scheduled to open for John Gorka anymore. Instead, we'll be opening for Jonatha Brooke on June 17. Which is cool, too.
But I really liked the idea of opening for John Gorka. After listening to some of his more recent stuff, I realize just how good he is. His 2016 album, Before Beginning, is classic folk, with sweet tunes and thoughtful lyrics. And his 2014 release, Bright Side Down, is filled with classic Sleepy Hollow tunes (for those of you familiar with the long-running WXPN early morning weekend show).
John Gorka, who was raised in New Jersey, went to college in Pennsylvania, and now lives in Minnesota, gets about a dozen or so plays a year on XPN. And he's most definitely a hard-working troubadour, with a very busy national touring schedule. And, yes, he'll be at the Bryn Mawr Gazebo on July 15. Matt and I won't be opening that night, but, still, if you can, head on over to Bryn Mawr; it's sure to be a very good show.
So, for this edition of "One Song at a Time," let's highlight my new favorite John Gorka song. It's a song from the Bright Side Down album called Holed Up In Mason City, and it's awesome.