NISSWA -- John Gorka, a musical artist who enjoyed a rise to national acclaim in the late 1980s, on Friday will return to the Grassroots Concerts stage that got him started in 1989.
His performance at the Nisswa Community Center closes the fall concert season in a 7:30 p.m. show.
"John has emerged as one of the most recognizable voices in the world of folk music," said Ron Miles, concert coordinator. "He is noted for the attractive intimacy in the small moments in which he sings and in the sincere way in which he presents them."
Gorka was born and raised in New Jersey. In high school Gorka started writing songs and singing with a church folk group. After moving to Moravian College in Pennsylvania he performed in the school coffeehouse programs and the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band, a non-traditional bluegrass, country, blues and folk band.
Future songwriter and recording artist Richard Shindell was asked to join the band as the lead guitar player when the others learned he could play "Black Magic Rag."
Fellow Spasm member Doug Anderson took Gorka to a newly opened coffeehouse called Godfrey Daniels. Many of the people he met and opened for there went on to open doors for him in other parts of the country -- Nanci Griffith, Bill Morrissey, Claudia Schmidt and Jack Hardy.
Griffith encouraged him to enter Kerrville Folk Festival's New Folk Competition, which he won in 1984. Hardy invited him to record for the Fast Folk Musical Magazine and introduced him to the revitalized Greenwich Village folk scene.
He performed in the Fast Folk live shows, which featured Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, Christine Lavin, Dave Van Ronk, Cliff Eberhardt, David Massengill, Frank Christian and Lucy Kaplansky.
He pursued music full time in 1986, and Red House Records released his first record, "I Know," in September 1987. He went on to release "Land of the Bottom Line," "Jack's Crows," "Temporary Road," "Out of the Valley" and "Between Five and Seven" for Windham Hill's High Street Records.
He has worked with producer and musician John Jennings on his last two High Street records.
Gorka lives in the Twin Cities area, where he landed to raise a family with his Minnesota wife.
All seats Friday are $15 with no advance sales.
Salvation Army food shelf donations can be dropped off upon arrival and volunteers will deliver the non-perishable items. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. More information is available from the Grassroots Web site: www.uslink.net/~bradshaw or call 963-2976 or 746-3930.
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