Sunday was an interesting day. I started out by playing a two hour set at the vegan palace Shankara. Slooooooow, though I got a $2 tip from a pretty lady who got some takeout. I was fresh from the two hour set last night at Godfrey’s. So, I leaned into my material and it felt good. I played up to my standards, even for just the waitress and Wendi, the chef. I got paid with a powerful felafel platter that will feed me for two days. I figured I had spent the last couple gigs playing for 10 people. Playing well, but as the Invisible Man.
My friend John Gorka was in town Sunday night for a sold out show. I had made a FB comment to John that the Godfrey’s key still worked. And, by gosh, it still did. When I came down to the club, after my wonderful nap, John was all set up on stage and strumming a song. We are as close to brothers as I know (having two sisters, one of whom has dropped me off her planet), so it is a homecoming in many ways.
John grew up here, listening to all the great folks, bringing his songs to our open mikes, meeting folks like Stan Rogers and Eric Andersen. In fact, we talked about the time, late one night, when Eric gave a phone call to John and it was Joni Mitchell on the other end. They talked for about a half hour.
Tonight, John did a great show, full of his superb humor, strong songs and impeccable stage presence. His Godfrey’s lineage is amazing. He has picked up all the great techniques from watching the pros here, taken it to the road and integrated into his art. And he still keeps it real. And that’s what really tickles me. He brings that very special Godfrey’s essence, if I may be so bold to say, to audiences around the world.
One of our major connections remains Stan Roger’s visits to Godfrey’s many times in the early years. We both recall sitting on the old trunk and being amazed at the sheer power of Stan’s music and presence. During this visit, on stage and afterwards, John expounded on Stan’s effect on him and the club. It was nice to reflect on Stan’s legacy. John channels it in every show.
After the show, as we packed up, John and I had a great chance to reflect on Legacy: how The Key still works in the door. I have generations of families listening to my music on a very local level and John has his Bethlehem bred music out on the world level. We’re doing okay, I guess. I am so proud to have John as my friend.
I was especially glad to have several of Godfrey’s new ‘Gorka’s ‘sticking around to listen in on the chatter. Mike, Mike, Sam, John, Ed and many more. I realized that these moments were exactly the same as John had spent with Stan Rogers thirty years ago. Where legends are made, indeed. …and passed on…..