John Gorka

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John Gorka
John Gorka at the Falcon Rodge Folk Festival.jpg
John Gorka at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival 2004
Background information
Born (1958-07-27) July 27, 1958 (age 63)
Origin Colonia, New Jersey, US
Genres Folk
Occupation(s) Songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, guitars, piano
Years active 1980s–present
Labels Windham Hill, High Street, Red House
Associated acts Red Horse
Notable instruments
G# guitar

John Gorka (born July 27, 1958)[1] is a contemporary American folk musician. In 1991, Rolling Stone magazine called him "the preeminent male singer-songwriter of what has been dubbed the New Folk Movement."[2]

Personal life

Gorka received his first guitar as a Christmas gift. He eventually learned, instead, to play the banjo, and began performing in a folk music group at his church.[citation needed]

Gorka attended Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

As of 2005, he was residing in the St. Croix Valley area near Saint Paul, Minnesota.


Gorka formed the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band with Doug Anderson and Russ Rentler and would also include guitarist Richard Shindell. He began performing solo at the Godfrey Daniels coffee house as the opening act for various musicians including: Nanci Griffith, Bill Morrissey, Claudia Schmidt and Jack Hardy.

In 1984, Gorka was one of six winners chosen from the finalists in the New Folk competition at the Kerrville Folk Festival. Since then he has regularly toured Europe and North America.

John Gorka at VPRO Studio, Hilversum

He has appeared with artists such as Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, Michael Manring, Christine Lavin, Dave Van Ronk, Cliff Eberhardt, David Massengill, Frank Christian and Lucy Kaplansky. He joined with Kaplansky and Eliza Gilkyson to form the folk supergroup Red Horse in 2010—touring together and releasing a self-titled album on which they record each other's compositions. Red Horse toured through July 2014.

John Gorka 2008

In March 2014, Gorka continued his long relationship with Red House Records with the release of the acoustic CD, Bright Side of Down.

John Gorka in the Hague, the Netherlnds


Studio albums




"Best of" albums

On various artists compilations


  1. Henkle, Doug, "FolkLib Index"
  2. Wing, Eliza, Rolling Stone, August 8, 1991, p. 17

External links