The Bright Side of Down

The Bright Side of Down

by John GorkaJohn Gorka

CD

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Overview

Bright Side of Down is singer and songwriter John Gorka's first set of new studio material since 2009's So Dark You See. Once more produced by Rob Grenadek, it features his regular band and some well-known friends. Gorka's work has developed along a particular line over the last two decades. He pays close attention to the details in his craft -- rhyme, musical economy, tight melodies -- and whether what's in a song is true to it. "Holed Up in Mason City," with its shuffling meld of acoustic and electric guitars, brushed drums, and accordion, is about the fate of enduring a pre-season blizzard. Told in the first person, musically it owes a small debt to Richard Thompson, which is hardly a bad thing. Lucy Kaplansky and Eliza Gilkyson contribute harmonies to the melancholy title track. While it's a sad song, Gorka's protagonist never sounds as if he feels sorry for himself. "High Horse" is the reverse. He offers traces of bitter irony in the aftermath of a broken relationship and his protagonist intimates his health is failing while everything else is going to hell. Gorka expresses empathy for his character, but he's not necessarily buying it. He delivers a fine reading of Bill Morrissey's "She's That Kind of Mystery." With sparse accompaniment, Gorka finds the world-weariness in the author's intent, lets it come to the fore, and still manages to reveal the romantic magic in its core, thanks in part to Amilia Spicer's hovering backing vocal. Closer "Really Spring" is among the most tender songs that Gorka's written, with a simple four-chord figure framed by the spectral yet irrepressible harmony vocal of Antje Duvekot. It captures the wistfulness of spring's past and the longing for its arrival and renewal, and the knowing that knowing winter always has one last trick up its sleeve. Bright Side of Down should resonate with Gorka's fans and those of modern American folk music.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/04/2014
Label: Red House
UPC: 0033651027126
catalogNumber: 271
Rank: 57258

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John Gorka   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Keyboards,Vocals,Hi String
Michael Johnson   Vocals
Eliza Gilkyson   Vocals
Claudia Schmidt   Vocals
Michael Manring   Electric Bass
Lucy Kaplansky   Vocals
Enrique Toussaint   Electric Bass
Jeff Victor   Keyboards
Rob Genadek   Percussion,Drums
Dirk Freymuth   Bouzouki,Electric Guitar,Hi String
J.T. Bates   Percussion,Drums
Amilia K. Spicer   Vocals
Antje Duvekot   Vocals
Gordy Johnson   Acoustic Bass
Cale Baglyos Reed   Fiddle

Technical Credits

John Gorka   Composer,Engineer
Bill Morrissey   Composer
Tom Pirozzoli   Cover Painting
Ben Wittman   Engineer
Rob Genadek   Producer,Engineer
Cisco Ryder   Engineer
Steve McCormick   Engineer
Dave Schoenhauer   Engineer
Tommy Tucker   Engineer
Jos Van Vliet   Portrait Photography
Jon Reischi   Art Direction

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