"bright side of down"
......Click here to buy the great new John Gorka CD


Click here to hear the story behind the CD title "bright side of down" (Interview WYEP 91.3 "Live & Direct, January 30, 2014. 50 sec)


  The new John Gorka CD (number 12) will be out March 4, 2014
  01 - Holed Up Mason City Preview .......
  02 - Bright Side of Down Preview
  03 - High Horse Preview
  04 - More Than One Preview
  05 - She's That Kind of Mystery Preview.
  06 - Outnumbered Preview
  07 - Don't Judge a Life Preview...........Story behind this song: John on WYEP, Jan 30, 2014
  08 - Honeybee Preview...........Story behind this song: John on WYEP, Jan 30, 2014
  09 - Procrastination Blues Preview
  10 - Thirstier Wind Preview
  11 - Mind to Think Preview
  12 - Really Spring Preview..........Story behind this song: John on WYEP, Jan 30, 2014

Click here for the review in Something Else! by Nick DeRiso (March 11, 2014)
Click here
for the review in De krant van Midden Drenthe (March 11, 2014)
Click here for the review in Elmore by Gene Knapp (March 17, 2014)
Click here for the review in Rootstime BE (Belgium music magazine)
Click here for the review on WUNC 91.5
North Carolina Public Radio
Click here for the review in No Depression (San Francisco Web-magazine)
Click here for the review in Minor 7th (on-line review forum to enable independent or under-recognized acoustic guitarists This review was made by David Kleiner)
Click here for the review in New Folk Sounds (digital Dutch magazine, Oct 2014)



Click here for the interview "John Gorka Looks on the Bright Side" about the CD on CMT Edge.com by Brian T. Atkinson (March 25, 2014).

Click here for "Life Journey: A Conversation with John Gorka" in The Huffington Post by Mike Ragogna (March 31, 2014)

Click here for a great interview with John Gorka about the songs on the new CD. Made by David Kleiner for Minor 7th (May 17, 2014)




John Gorka Taping For TPT Minnesota Original (online in Feb 2014)
John Gorka performs "Thirstier Wind" at The Brewhouse Recording Studio in Minneapolis.
John Gorka arrived at the studio Oct 30, 2013 with professional musicians and a film crew to record some songs. What a true pleasure to listen to well written music played by outstanding musicians. Plus it's all on tape!

Musicians: John Gorka, Marc Anderson, and Enrique Toussaint Engineer: Rob Genadek Assistant: Jaad Tal .

  October 31, 2013, 2013:

I took part in a piece for TPT's Minnesota Originals yesterday at The Brewhouse Studio in Minneapolis recording a piece with Enrique Toussaint and Marc Anderson


























On July 30, 2013 Lucy Kaplansky did the backing vocals in her New York home for one or more songs. She wrote on her facebook: "Singing on John Gorka's new CD just now!" and she made this photo>

Click here to listen to John Gorka about recording de backing vocals from Lucy and Eliza on the new CD on WDIY 88.1. "John Gorka on the Blend" August 2, 2013).

Just like the "So Dark you see" CD John said about this new album: “It sounds like what people would see if they came to see me live”.

Click here to listen to John Gorka about the recording process on Radio Heartland (july 31, 2013)

On August 28, 2013 John gorka wrote in his newsletter:

Work continues on the new recording project that is due out in January on Red House Records. All the instrumental parts are done and my main vocal parts are done. We've had some excellent guest singers do their parts in the last few weeks including Lucy Kaplansky and Eliza Gilkyson -- my Red Horse friends. Antje Duvekot sent in her parts from the East Coast last week and Claudia Schmidt came to Rob Genadek's studio in Minneapolis yesterday to sing on a new song. I'm very happy with the way this is going and I'm excited for you to hear the final version. There are a couple of other guest vocalists scheduled to do their parts in the next few weeks and then we mix and master in October.

  September 4, 2013:
Michael Johnson
is coming in to sing this afternoon on my "Illusion of Control" project.

On October 22, 2013 John gorka wrote in his newsletter:

Later this morning I'll be going to the studio to finish up the first round of mixes for the new record due out in January on Red House Records. My Red Horse pals, Lucy Kaplansky and Eliza Gilkyson join me on a song and for the first time the excellent Michael Johnson sings on one of my recordings. The special guests also include 2 of my other favorite artists -- Claudia Schmidt and Antje Duvekot Mixing is the part of the recording process where we try to get a good balance of the instruments and the vocals so they all get along and don't get in each others' way. After that is the mastering process where we try to get a consistent level from song to song. The goal is to make sure that what you hear sounds good on whatever sound system you may be listening on. The working title is "Bright Side of Down". I think of the new project as a collection of songs to help a body through the cold to springtime.

John Gorka cutting some new tracks at the Brewhouse Studio in July 2012.




Dirk Freymuth plays bouzouki on a John Gorka session in December
2012 at The Brewhouse Recording Studio.

John Gorka and Dirk Freymuth at The Brewhouse Recording Studio in
September 2012.

Bassplayer Enrique Toussaint with John Gorka at The Brewhouse
Recording Studio. (Dec 2012)

  Click here to listen to John
Gorka: He is talking about the working process on WYEP "Live & Direct" (4'45", Jan 30, 2014)
Dirk Freymuth and John Gorka at The Brewhouse Recording Studio in December 2012.



The CD cover
January 6, 2014 Red House records published the new CD cover "bright side of down" for the first time on their website .

For the CD cover John Gorka wanted a painting from Tom Pirozolli Tom Pirozolli also made the beautiful CD cover "So dark you see".
He is a guitar player and made several CD's.
The cover of his CD "The Putnam-Pirozzoli Guitar Duo" (with Gerry Putnam) has the same atmosphere as the 'so dark you see' CD.

This is the canvas painting, called "Twilight Porch" >>


The story behind the
CD portrait

Click on the photo to download the high quality press photo

The 'bright side of down' portrait photo was made in the Hague, the Netherlands, on February 21, 2012 just after the 3th videosession for this website. John is standing before a painting made by Frans Manders in 1999 and it's called 'Vaucluse'.

I was the lucky guy who made this photo and the "Red car" photo from the "So dark you see" CD.
In fact I made both photos in the same room (The "So dark you see" photo on the balcony).

Click here to know more about Frans Manders

Jos van Vliet

Click on the photo to download the high quality photo


The backside CD photo

The backside CD photo was made by Joe del Tufo. He made the photo in Arden Gild Hall Arden, DE on March 11, 2011. Click here to see 56 photos made by Joe del Tufo from the soundcheck and the concert. (click on the photo to enlarge)



Just three weeks before the release of the CD "bright side of down" John Gorka visited on February 14, 2014 the tpt Almanac tv studio and he played this new song (plus an interview)





From the album information:

In Bright Side of Down, Gorka offers a complete listen, with arrangements built around vocal and guitar and songs that vary in type, tempo and feel. The 11 original songs and one cover (by his late friend Bill Morrissey, “She’s That Kind of Mystery”) explore broad themes of winter-to-spring: of unforgiving edges, saving beauty, and being at the mercy of larger forces. The songs adjust like eyes to darkness, opening up to let in more light.

“I think my experience living in Minnesota has brought a certain perspective to this record. You’ll find it in the images but also in the idea that in spite of bitter cold and wind, people find ways to hold each other up and keep going.”

The album opens with the true story of trying to get home in a blinding Iowa blizzard (the catchy, uptempo “Holed Up Mason City” — Mason City, IA is famous for being the city where Richie Valens, the Big Bopper and Buddy Holly’s plane took off after after a show in Clear Lake for what would be their fatal last flight (and no, there is no “Big Bopper” diner in Mason City) — and ends


with a reflection on the spring that seems so far away with “Really Spring. ” He experiences “Procrastination Blues,” shares the charming “Honeybee,” written for his daughter, and the timely story of “High Horse,” set in a crumbling neighborhood where the good jobs are no more.

There’s a greater intimacy to these performances that reflects the way the album was made. Gorka composed the songs on the road and at his home studio before bringing them into the Brewhouse Studio in Minneapolis. He’d record demos and let them “rest” to see if they aged well. The result is an album in the true sense of the word — a meticulously sequenced group of songs that works as a whole.

“The process was different,” he says of the sessions for Bright Side of Down. “I’d go in a little bit at a time by myself for maybe two or three hours, once or twice a week, get a performance of one song and see how it held up over time. At home, I’d try things and play instruments I had no business playing, and if the parts didn’t work, nobody had to hear them; I felt a lot freer to experiment. But since I often perform by myself, I wanted the songs to reflect the feel and presence of my vocal and guitar. Some of the songs lend themselves to more elaborate arrangements, but the vocal is really prominent in all of them because that’s where the story is told.”

After recording the bones of the songs, Gorka brought in producer/engineer Rob Genedak and a cast of top musicians including Jeff Victor (keyboards), JT Bates (drums), Enrique Toussaint (electric bass) and others. “Rob is a drummer and was able to put things together as well,” John says. “Some of the things that Rob did on “Procrastination Blues” — he recorded his foot keeping time on the floor of the control room while he was slapping his chest — ended up sticking and becoming part of the final mix. There were experimental parts we did that came to be the ‘real’ thing.” The songs sparkle with John’s characteristic wit, humanity and insight enhanced by artful contributions of the other players and singers.

Bright Side of Down is a rich listening experience, an album you can listen to and hear something new each time. It’s personal while hitting a universal nerve, a quality John Gorka has made his signature, with a group of songs that you’ll keep thinking about long after the album ends.




One of the tracks on the new John Gorka CD will be Bill Morissey's song "She's That Kind Of Mystery".

< Here is a 2012 live version from "She's That Kind Of Mystery" by John Gorka. (Live at Lage Vuursche February 18, 2012)

Bill Morrissey passed away in 2011 (click here to read more)

Click here to read more about THE BILL MORRISSEY TRIBUTE CONCERT (November 17, 2011)



Another new track on the John Gorka CD "The Bright side of Down" is "Thirstier Wind"

< John Gorka played this live version in Paradiso, Amsterdam (December 15, 2013)

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