An Evening with John Gorka

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An Evening with John Gorka

John Gorka


New Jersey born and Minnesota based, John Gorka is a world-renowned singer-songwriter who got his start at a neighborhood coffeehouse in eastern Pennsylvania. Soon he found himself living in the club’s basement and acting as resident MC and soundman, encountering legendary folk troubadours. Their brand of folk-inspired acoustic music inspired him, and before long he was performing his own songs – mostly as an opener for visiting acts. From there he traveled to New York City, where Jack Hardy’s legendary Fast Folk circle (a breeding ground for many a major singer-songwriter) became a powerful source of education and encouragement. Folk meccas like Texas’ Kerrville Folk Festival and Boston followed, and his stunningly soulful baritone voice and original songwriting began turning heads. Those who had at one time inspired him – Suzanne Vega, Bill Morrissey, Nanci Griffith, Christine Lavin, Shawn Colvin – had become his peers.

In 1987, the young Minnesota-based Red House Records caught wind of John’s talents and released his first album, I Know, to popular and critical acclaim. John hit the ground running and, when an offer came from Windham Hill’s Will Ackerman in 1989, he signed with that label’s imprint, High Street Records; releasing five albums with them. His tour schedule — over 150 nights a year at times — brought new accolades for his craft. His rich multifaceted songs full of depth, beauty and emotion gained increasing attention from critics and audiences across the country, as well as in Europe where his tours led him through Italy, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, Switzerland and Germany. He also started sharing tours with many notable friends—Nanci Griffith and Mary Chapin Carpenter among them.

In 1998, he decided to return to his musical roots at Red House Records. The choice was driven, in part, by the artistic integrity that the label represents in an industry where the business of music too often takes precedence. In addition to his critically acclaimed albums, John released a collector’s edition box featuring a hi-definition DVD and companion CD called The Gypsy Life.

Many well known artists have recorded and/or performed John Gorka songs, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nanci Griffith, Mary Black and Maura O’Connell. John has graced the stage of Austin City Limits, Mountain Stage, etown and has appeared on CNN.

Kirsten Maxwell


Based out of Long Island, NY, award-winning songwriter Kirsten Maxwell brings the kind of refreshing yet familiar sound that audiences crave. She has been described as “making love to the audience”. With a quick wit and commanding stage presence, Kirsten gives the impression of being more accomplished than her 24 years.

Kirsten was voted a Most Wanted Artist at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival 2017. She was a winner of the South Florida Folk Festival Singer Songwriter Competition 2016 and the Rhode Island Songwriters Association (RISA) songwriting contest 2015. She has showcased at three of the Regional Folk Alliance conferences (NERFA, SERFA, SWRFA) and appeared at the international conference in Kansas City this February. Kirsten was also recognized for songwriting as a finalist in the Kerrville New Folk songwriting competition in 2016.