12 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

John Gorka's songs have never been about grandstanding—the frisson his work generates comes from a constant accumulation of small surprises and understated epiphanies. He has continually refined that process over the course of his career, but seldom more so than here on his 10th album. With appropriately tasteful backing that tends toward an organic folk-rock feel, Gorka peers deeply into the often-mystifying workings of the human heart, be it the hazardous journey of love ("Bluer State") or the strength that can come from being hurt ("Broken Place"). Gorka's warm, oaky vocal tones push his observations forward with only as much force as necessary and not an ounce more, letting listeners lean partway in toward him for a truly intimate exchange. He also happens to be one of the few who can truly make a Townes Van Zandt tune ("Snow Don't Fall") his own, and when he adds a country twang to the proceedings with "I Miss Everyone" or a slow-burning soul feel on "When You Sing," he shows that the tricks up his sleeve extend to his musical moves as well.

EDITORS’ NOTES

John Gorka's songs have never been about grandstanding—the frisson his work generates comes from a constant accumulation of small surprises and understated epiphanies. He has continually refined that process over the course of his career, but seldom more so than here on his 10th album. With appropriately tasteful backing that tends toward an organic folk-rock feel, Gorka peers deeply into the often-mystifying workings of the human heart, be it the hazardous journey of love ("Bluer State") or the strength that can come from being hurt ("Broken Place"). Gorka's warm, oaky vocal tones push his observations forward with only as much force as necessary and not an ounce more, letting listeners lean partway in toward him for a truly intimate exchange. He also happens to be one of the few who can truly make a Townes Van Zandt tune ("Snow Don't Fall") his own, and when he adds a country twang to the proceedings with "I Miss Everyone" or a slow-burning soul feel on "When You Sing," he shows that the tricks up his sleeve extend to his musical moves as well.

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