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Acoustic Performer John Gorka Graces Duke City

John Gorka
John Gorka

Singer/songwriter John Gorka delivered two highly spirited sets at the Summer Nights series at the BioPark (903 10th Street SW) on Thursday, June 19. The Minnesota-based veteran touring artist wowed longtime fans and won over countless Albuquerque music lovers who were new to his signature mix of deep and clever vocals, guitar and comedic storytelling.

Gorka opened with originals from his latest release, The Bright Side of Down, and continued to sample the collection to great effect throughout the evening. Gorka is nothing if not precise, personal and universal, sometimes all in the same lyric. This ability combined with masterful musicianship across genres including folk, blues, pop, rock, bluegrass and rockabilly makes him a worthy companion for an evening ... or a lifetime. This reviewer has seen him in concert over 20 times. Many of those performances have been in festival settings, as Gorka is a highly sought-after act on the vital, enduring national folk fest circuit. At the BioPark concert, he joked about visiting Scandinavia, a hotbed of singer/songwriter and folk fandom.

Gorka's catalog is extensive, and he plumbed its depths in concert. Selections included chestnuts like “I Saw a Stranger with Your Hair,” “I’m From New Jersey,” “Branching Out” and “Love is Our Cross to Bear.” The modern-day Renaissance man wove requests and selective orchestrated sing-alongs to engage the receptive crowd on the lawn that beautiful night. Many in the audience were obviously longtime followers. And they, along with the newcomers, were rewarded with a varied and holistic representation of the showman’s talent.

In stark contrast to the awkward egotism displayed by Marc Cohn the week prior at Zoo Music, Gorka paid our fair city a compliment during the second set. He praised the enthusiastic audience, noting that he wished all his shows could be like this, in “this corner of paradise.” The key to delivering such a line lies in simplicity and sincerity, and Gorka radiated both.

John Gorka is a deft master of the folk trifecta: penetrating lyrics, unparalleled musicianship and compelling storytelling. When he opened and finished his tunes at the BioPark, he wasn't greeted with mere applause: We’re talking yelps, yoo-hoo's, squeals of joy and all-around exuberant acknowledgment of this well-traveled troubadour.

Dear John, please come back soon and stay longer.

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news

The Daily Word in the State of the Union, tumbleweed uprisings and the Toe Jesus of Silver City

Last night, Obama gave his annual State of the Union address. Here's the important part.

And, of course, the rebuttal.

How not to deal with the media: New York representative threatens to throw reporter off balcony and "break him in half." With the cameras running.

Remember that time Pete Seeger refused to cooperate with HUAC? He did offer to sing them some songs though.

The Journal has an interactive map and comprehensive timeline of APD shootings, as well as information on the resulting cost to taxpayers.

More proof that God's running out of ideas for miracles: The Toe Jesus of Silver City. Go home, God. You're drunk.

Watch out, everybody! The tumbleweeds are fighting back!

Music

Low Culture, genre-palooza and popular music

Low Culture
Ryan Maddox
Low Culture

This week’s Music to Your Ears dishes up the 411 on shows in genres ranging from poppy garage-punk to doomcream R&B to indie rock to folk. Listen to tracks from featured acts below. Synchro Studio • Low Culture • Pregnant, Again • Harbors • Downplay Music • Sat Jan 12 • 7:30 pm • $6 • ALL-AGES!

Low Culture - “Low Culture”
Bigawatt - Bigawatt
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Telegraph Canyon - “Safe on the Outside”

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Music

Sonic reductions of Horse Lords, Samantha Glass and Chris Schoen

Music writer Peter Mezensky and I checked out new releases from Horse Lords, Samantha Glass and Chris Schoen and share our opinions in this week’s Sonic Reducer. Check out audio from featured acts below.

Horse Lords - “Wildcat Strike”
Samantha Glass - Rising Movements
Chris Schoen - Heaven or Hell or Wherever

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V.21 No.28 | 7/12/2012

[click to enlarge]

Flyer on the Wall

Folky Friday the 13th

Observe this superstitiously spooky Friday with a collection of Americana acts at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW). Cali Shaw, Wildewood, Todd and the Fox, and Jenny Wren form the local lineup. Admission is $5, and the show starts at 9 p.m. (JCC)

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V.21 No.16 | 4/19/2012
Claude Stephenson

Show Up!

Sage Words

Indiegrass songstress Sage Harrington

Americana is the new punk rock. Like the early ’80s when any yob with a snarl and electric guitar called themselves punk, anyone today that has a thrift store banjo and name drops the Carter Family thinks they are folk musicians, deserving of serious listening and dollar-per-song downloads. Wrong.

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V.20 No.24 | 6/16/2011
Los Martinez
Courtesy of Los Martinez

Spotlight

Let Your Folk Flag Fly

The 13th annual Albuquerque Folk Festival says it’s hip to be square dancing

What can you do at the folk festival? Almost everything. (Within limits, people. Keep your pants on.) The aforementioned question is posed at the top of the online “festival overview,” and underneath is a long list of answers, like sing, dance, learn an instrument, perform for an audience, hear live music and bring your kids. The Alibi breaks down some of the weekend’s highlights.

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V.19 No.34 | 8/26/2010
Too many red heads for one couch
Monica

Show Up!

Better Than Your Friend’s Basement

The Parson Red Heads on showmanship and style

At performances by The Parson Red Heads, audiences can expect upbeat, folksy, multi-harmony rock and roll with psychedelic traces, and, most likely, special treatment. It is a major concern of the band’s to make sure you get your money’s worth and possibly participate in the show.

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Today's Events

The Piano in a Factory at National Hispanic Cultural Center

Zhang Meng's whimsical film about a father's attempt to build a piano for his daughter in the wake of his unending marriage.

Mic Club $1000 3: Mat-Dre • Rahney • Suede School • Wolfman Jack • CSRucker • Spurticus and more • hip-hop, rap, variety at Launchpad

Pajama Storytime at Taylor Ranch Library

More Recommented Events ››
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