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John Gorka is first of five artists to perform in Grassroots Concerts fall lineup

Five Friday night concerts are scheduled for the fall 2013 Grassroots Concerts season, which is the 25th year for the all-volunteer acoustic series.

The first concert of the silver anniversary season will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, at the Live Well Nightclub and Coffee Bar in Nisswa, featuring an artist who is well-known to folk music fans — John Gorka.

Playing the series’ 277th concert, Gorka will make his seventh appearance in the venue where he debuted in 1989. Back when concerts were held in the Brainerd Odd Fellows Hall, he shared the stage with Garnet Rogers, the second performer of the 2013 fall season.

Gorka’s rich baritone voice, introspective songwriting and dry wit are trademarks always in play when he takes the stage. He recently has toured with fellow Red House Records artists Lucy Kaplansky and Eliza Gilkyson as the trio Red Horse.

He has been working on new songs, recording and retrieving older songs as well as exploring the electric guitar world.

When not on the road, Gorka enjoys time with his family in Minnesota.

The rest of the 2013 fall season:

• Friday, Oct. 4: Garnet Rogers, Canadian folk artist known for powerful songwriting and remarkable musicianship. He can tell a great story in song and between them. Rogers will make his sixth Grassroots appearance, having last performed in Nisswa in 2008.

• Friday, Oct. 25: Dakota Dave Hull, whose guitar style spans a wide musical geography to create a blend of jazz, ragtime, folk, blues, Western swing and vintage pop. This will be his first solo appearance. He has performed three concerts in duos.

• Friday, Nov. 8: Chastity Brown, whose roots are planted in gospel and soul, country and blues, makes her series debut. Raised in Tennessee, Brown calls her music “Americana soul.”

• Friday, Nov. 22: Mary Bue, a Duluth-based musician who has been a piano player since fourth grade, when her mother bribed her with $75 per year to practice. Since 17, Bue has been writing songs and taking them on the road to 38 states and counting. This will be her concert series debut.

Admission is $10 at the door for adults and $5 for children under 12 with listening attention, when accompanied by an adult. At all shows, seating is first-come, first-served. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.; doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The Live Well Nightclub and Coffee Bar, 5459 County Road 18, is located in the Journey Church across from the A & W Restaurant and next to the school in Nisswa.

Grassroots Concerts are made possible in part by a grant from the Five Wings Arts Council through the Minnesota state Legislature. The series is a 501c(3) non-profit under the Internal Revenue Code.

The concert series encourages donations of non-perishable items from those attending. Volunteers will deliver them to the food shelf.

For information, go to, call 218-839-4092 or email

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889