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John Gorka's music demonstrates an easy melodic sensibility: Nothing is contrived or overproduced. His work is built around little more than his unmistakable voice and the simple, clean sounds of his guitar. Gorka performed a solo set from WXPN and World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on Oct. 13.
Gorka was born and raised in New Jersey, where he received a guitar as a Christmas present at age 10. His older brother swiped it, so Gorka took up the banjo instead. He first began writing songs with a church group, before eventually moving away from home to attend Moravian College, where he was exposed to the folk-music scene. After encouragement from Nanci Griffith, he won the Kerrville Folk Festival's New Folk Competition, and released his debut disc in 1987. Gorka just released Writing in the Margins, his first album in three years.