22 September 2017
Heather Mae opens
On Friday, September 22, John Gorka brings his nice-guy baritone and wry, slice-of-life observations to the me&thee stage. If there was a Mount Rushmore of folk, then Gorka’s gentle, smiling face would certainly be one of the faces up there. Anointed by Rolling Stone as the “preeminent male singer-songwriter of the New Folk Movement,” Gorka has legions of devoted fans and has appeared on PBS’s Austin City Limits, NPR’s Mountain Stage and festivals around the world. This is a singer-songwriter who is all about the live performance and the audience. ¶ Another powerful performer, Washington, D.C.-based singer-songwriter Heather Mae, opens the show.
Concert starts at 8:00 pm.
It is fitting that this world-renowned singer-songwriter, who cut his teeth on the coffeehouse circuit, should return to the me&thee, one of the longest running and most revered coffeehouses on the East Coast. New Jersey-born John Gorka debuted at Godfrey Daniels, another venerable and respected coffeehouse in eastern Pennsylvania in the late 1970s. Bitten by the folk bug, Gorka soon abandoned his Philosophy studies at Moravian College and took up residence in the club’s basement, acting as host and sound man for legendary performers like Tom Paxton, Eric Andersen and Claudia Schmidt. It was there that Gorka began penning and performing his own songs.
Soon Gorka hit the road, traveling to Boston and New York City to play at the legendary Fast Folk circle in Greenwich Village, which was a breeding ground for many a singer-songwriter, and hitting the festival circuit including the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas where he won the New Folk Award in 1984. After a few false starts John’s debut recording I Know was released in September of 1987 on Minnesota-based Red House Records to much critical and popular acclaim. He has gone on to release many more CDs and DVDs which include a varied mixture of relevant and contemporary songs. A masterful live performer, gifted with a goosebump-inducing baritone and a twisted sense of humor, John Gorka is impossible to pigeonhole. “I don’t mind calling myself a folksinger,” he reflects, “although, I’m not so sure that’s what I am. I’m a blend of folk, rhythm and blues and gospel. It’s been said that in folk music, the music is more important than the singer, and for me to become a folksinger, now that would be a real achievement.”
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Heather Mae is an artist who startles your senses on many levels, engaging the part of your brain that makes you shake your hips, but also raise your fist in solidarity. She is an imaginative lyricist with a powerhouse voice and forging new ground with her newest album called I am Enough. This collection of songs is a bold breakout from her former years as a folk singer-songwriter strumming a ukulele. Heather Mae has developed an interesting indie-pop sound, but also her musical take on touchy subjects ranging from LGBTQ discrimination, gender stereotypes, body image, and mental health issues. She writes music for those that need an anthem and doesn’t shy away from tackling topics not often heard in pop music.
Photo by Sarah Stuart Walters
- John Gorka is the energizer bunny of singer/songwriters. He just keeps going and going. Each new release not only equals the quality of his last, but exceeds it. Vintage Guitar Magazine
- The leading singer/songwriter of the New Folk movement Rolling Stone
- Gorka is widely heralded for the sophisticated intelligence and provocative originality of his songs. Boston Globe
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- Artists and musicians love to talk about their creative process and how they might change it or get better. Heather Mae dives in and faces her art head on. Heather Mae has a long and beautiful career ahead of her. 100.1 KRUU FM, Lyrical Venus: Focus on Female Singer-Songwriters
- The LGBTQ Community has always had a body image problem, and now we have an anthem to change that. AudioFuzz