if you want to buy this CD autographed by John! ($ 15,00)


John Gorka in his September 2015 newsletter:

I'm still putting the finishing touches on an old recording that preceded "I Know" featuring most of the songs from that debut record with unreleased versions of those songs recorded in Nashville in November 1985. The working title is "Before Beginning".

Available worldwide on July 22nd, you can stream the original version of "I Know" here

The 1987 debut CD "I Know"on Red House Records

John Gorka's landmark Red House debut album I Know is not the version that most of us know. The orginal version, recorded in Nashville with a stable of studio musicians was completely scrapped and rerecorded to become the I Know that introduced the world to John Gorka.
After three decades, these original recordings will finally see the light! Before Beginning-The Unreleased I Know, Nashville 1985 features never-before-heard arrangements of 9 of the 12 songs on I Know including "I Saw a Stranger with Your Hair," "Love is Our Cross to Bear" and "Geza's Wailing Ways," a track released in 1983 on a Fast Folk compilation. Before Beginning is a quintessential album for any folk fan's John Gorka collection.

Release Date: Jul. 22nd, 2016.


New CD in 2016
"Before Beginning"
Early "I Know" 1985 Nashville tapes remastered in 2015.
Red House Records release: July 22nd, 2016

Since his 1987 Red House release, I Know, introduced renowned artist John Gorka to the public, the Minnesota-via-New Jersey guitarist and songwriter’s wit, insight and honesty has made him one of the most respected, beloved songwriters currently carrying on the folk tradition. With the insight that comes with hindsight, John has decided to share his very first studio sessions, a collection of songs recorded in Nashville, TN at Cowboy Jack Clements’ in 1985 with producer Jim Rooney (at the recommendation of Nanci Griffith) and a stable of top studio musicians. Still finding his way, John decided to go a different direction and the sessions were never released. Before Beginning, The Unreleased I Know, brings these never-before-heard, studio versions of John’s earliest material to the public after three decades. It will be available on July 22, 2016 digitally and on CD through Red House Records and features nine of the 12 songs that would be on I Know, as well as “Geza’s Wailing Ways,” a track released in 1983 on a Fast Folk compilation.

Recorded spontaneously with John and a full band — recorded and mixed in five days — these sessions provide a fascinating look into the road not taken, an alternate musical direction this now well-known artist chose to forego.

Featuring extensive liner notes and reminiscences by the artist, we see the seasoned songwriter, now 13 critically acclaimed albums into his career, revisiting his first foray into a professional studio as an aspiring 25-year-old. “Even though it is an older recording it is a fresh take on the songs.” With only a few tracks on compilations at that point, this would be his introduction to the world.

John says of the experience, “I can only say that I was finding my way. I had played solo live almost exclusively and I had not made an album or ever done a studio recording with other players. I guess I just didn’t know what I wanted to hear. I know now that there is more than one right way to present a song. In that way songs are bigger than any one recording of a song. It was good. It just wasn't the good I wanted at the time.”

It would be two more years and two more versions, both recorded in his home state of New Jersey, before I Know would be released on Red House Records.

Over the years, the multitrack tapes of the original recordings went from Nashville to Easton to New York City to Bethlehem, on to Ann Arbor and finally arrived at John’s home in Minnesota a few years ago. In the fall of 2014, he took them out of storage to see if they would still play.

“I brought them to Rob Genadek at The Brewhouse Recording Studio in Minneapolis to listen and we enjoyed what we heard. I thought that others might too, even those people who were familiar with I Know. It had different arrangements and a different energy as I was singing and playing live with the band — Kenny Malone on drums and percussion, Dave Pomeroy on bass and some backing vocals I think, Jay Patten on saxophone, Mike Dugan on electric guitar, Ralph Vitello or Biff Watson on keyboards and Stuart Duncan on fiddle and mandolin. Jim Rooney also played second acoustic guitar on several songs and Shawn Colvin and Lucy Kaplansky sang while we tracked, everyone in one room.”

Genadek “baked” the tapes with a hair dryer so that magnetic particles would not flake off and they were able to transfer the analog tapes to the digital world.

Since then, John Gorka has been a pillar of the folk music community, with 13 albums to his credit and appearances on Austin City Limits, Mountain Stage, eTown, CNN and more. Many artists have recorded and/or performed his songs, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nanci Griffith, Eliza Gilkyson, Mary Black and Maura O’Connell.

Click here to stream track four: "I Know" on "Red House Records Soundcloud"



    Track 1 Down in the Milltown Preview
    Track 2 Love is Our Cross to Bear Preview
    Track 3 Geza’s Wailing Ways Preview
    Track 4 I Know Preview
    Track 5 Out of My Mind Preview
    Track 6 Downtown Tonight Preview
    Track 7 Blues Palace Preview
    Track 8 Winter Cows Preview
    Track 9 Branching Out Preview
    Track 10 I Saw a Stranger with Your Hair Preview




Click here to listen to DJ John Gorka.

24 minutes (16,6 MB)

John played on July 31, 2016 in 24 minutes 6 tracks of his new CD "Before Beginning".

Not every artist would jump at the chance to pair tracks off his new album “Before Beginning” with food – and that is exactly what John Gorka did! Find out John Gorka’s favorite foods and how they relate to songs on his new album! Warning: you may feel hungryduring AND after listening to this show.

Click here if you want to subscribe on The Village SiriusXM Satellite Radio




John Gorka talks about his new old CD 'Before Beginning'

John Gorka stopped in to the Radio Heartland studio on August 26, 2016 to talk with Mike Pengra about the two different recordings of I Know and to compare versions of a few tunes.'.................. Click here for the link


John talked about "Before Beginning" in Hunter At Sunrise on WHRO
On December 6, 2015 John Gorka talked about this "new" project on "Hunter At Sunrise" with Hunter Hughes. Red House Records will release this CD in the first part of 2016. John recorded his first CD "I Know" three times and the first version was recorded in Nashville in November 1985. After 30 years John heard the Nashville tapes and remixed/remastered it...

Click here to listen to "Before Beginning" part of the interview (2,5 minutes)

John talked about "Before Beginning" on WCLZ 98.9 Studio Z (Jan 7, 2016)

Click here to listen to John Gorka talking about the recording period in 1985:
"We recorded and mixed ten songs in five days in one room, everybody playing and very few overdubs. Nanci Griffith recommended to work with Jim Rooney.

John talked about "Before Beginning" live at "Out of the Woods Radio", April 15, 2016 (Concord, New Hampshire)

Click here to listen to John Gorka and Jon Colcord about
the recording process and cleaning the old magnetic tapes... (4 minutes)

Out of the Woods is an independently-produced, 3 hour mostly acoustic music program currently heard weekly on the following radio stations: CJMP, KGIG, KONR, KXCR, WRAQ, WSCS, WYAP, Boston Free Radio, Bumps Radio, The Global Voice, Homelands Radio, Neopa Community Radio, PineKONE Radio, Shout Radio, Sword Radio


In 1985, as a young 25-year-old folk singer, John
set off for Nashville to record his debut album.
Upon returning to New Jersey, John decided to go another direction and this studio version of I Know
was shelved. Now with the insight that comes with hindsight, John has decided to share those very
first studio recording sessions with "Before Begin-
ning", The Unreleased I Know - Nashville, 1985.

The album features never-before-heard versions of
such Gorka classics as "I Saw a Stranger with Your Hair," "Love Is Our Cross to Bear" with Lucy
Kaplansky and Shawn Colvin singing harmonies.
Included is an updated version of the track "Geza's Wailing Ways," one of Gorka's first recorded songs
that originally was on a 1983 Fast Folk compilation album. Before Beginning is an essential album for
fans of John and folk music!

Redhouse Records newsletter July15,2016


Before Beginning Reviews


Click here for the album review in "Rambles.NET" (July 16, 2016)
Click here for the album review in "Elmore Magazine" (July 22, 2016)
Click here for the album review in "No Depression" (July 22, 2016)
Click here for the album review in "Music Matters"
(July 22, 2016)
Click here for the album review in Folk Roots/Folk Branches (Blog)
................... with .Mike Regenstreif.

Click here for the album review in "Accoustic Guitar" (Aug. 29, 2016)
Click here for the album review in "Country Standard Time" (Aug. 29, 2016)
Click here for the album review in "New Folk Sounds" (NL) (Dec 2016)


Here is a very nice Conversation with John Gorka in the Huffington Post (Aug 5, 2016) about Before Beginning

Here is another nice interview about the CD Before Beginning: Folk Singer John Gorka’s Lost Tracks
(Valley Advocate@Play, Nov 6, 2016 Written by Hunter Styles)




On September 15, 2016 John did a session and an interview with to John Platt for his "Sunday Supper" program on WFUW (aired on November 27, 2016)

Click on the article to listen to the great interview/songs.

Thanks John Platt for making such a nice show again!

25 MB ....25'35"








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