Back in the early 1980s, a fellow named John Gorka won the Kerrville Music Festical’s annual songwriter contest. His prize was two-fold: first, he go to open the two week festival on the main stage. Second, he received a free scholarship to the mid-festival three day songwriters’ workshop.
I had the good fortune of attending that workshop (see post on Steve Gillette), and instantly fell for John’s songs.
How could you not love songs about wanting to grow up to be a tree, how BB King was wrong, or fantasies of the thoughts and dreams of dairy cows in the winter fields of the midwest?
When I moved to NYC in 1986, I kept up with the songwriter community by joining the Musician’s Coop that oversaw entertainment at The Speakeasy on MacDougal Street in the Village. And who should later also move to NYC but John Gorka.
I wouldn’t say we became more than acquaintances, but one of my best memories is trading songs in the Village’s Washington Square on a warm Summer midnight with John Gorka and Michelle Shocked.
John went on to Nashville, TV appearances, etc., and easily sells out the Barns at Wolftrap when he plays the DC area.
Check him out here:
Also, see his wikipedia entry: