Live & Direct with John Gorka


John Gorka recently joined Mike Sauter and WYEP members for a Live and Direct Studio session to play a few new songs off of his upcoming album. Bright Side of Down is expected to release at the beginning of March after a four year break since his last album, So Dark You Can See.  

Gorka’s presence in WYEP Studios was lighthearted as he kept joking with Mike and the audience about how this is the first time he has played these songs in public and that he might know how to play the next song coming up. We learn that the album title Bright Side of Down came to him by chance. It was winter in New Hampshire when Gorka was wearing his down winter jacket. He tells his friend he loves his coat because it packs down into any shape and can fit anywhere when he friend then replies, “Yeah, that’s the bright side of down.” Gorka was immediately inspired to start writing music. “I love to play with words. Sometimes I have a way with words, and sometimes words have a way with me.”

All songs on Bright Side of Down are originals, the only exception being “She's That Kind of Mystery,” a cover and tribute to Bill Morrissey’s passing in 2011. John pulls much of his influence from folk singer/songwriter musicians like Bill Morrissey, Jack Hardy and Pete Seeger. Since their passing, Gorka tours and records music with current folk artists like Lucy Kaplansky and Eliza Gilkyson who appear on more than one record, as well as Claudia Schmidt.

“Honeybee,” a new song from the album which wasn’t played at the Live and Direct Session is something more personal, a tune Gorka sings to his daughter around the house. His wife once pointed out that he has a song for their son but not their daughter, so fans can expect to get a little snapshot into Gorka’s home life once the record drops.

“I have quite a few household songs, most of which you would never want to hear. So I thought about it and I didn’t know if it was going to work out, but I did it. I only recorded it once, there’s only one take of it,” says Gorka. “...I’m gonna learn that song soon. The guitar part. I know how the tune goes.”

Gorka played at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts that night and said he was pleased to be back in Pittsburgh. For more information on what John is up to you can check out his website.


Set List: 

She's That Kind of Mystery

Holed Up in Mason City

Bright Side of Down

Thirstier Wind