By the time he recorded his debut album I Know, John Gorka was already a seasoned veteran and it showed. With excellent harmony vocals from Shawn Colvin and Lucy Kaplansky, who also cut their teeth on the New York City folk circuit, John Gorka recorded an album of original songs that had been road-tested and audience approved. The chorus of nearly every song is instantly memorable, and the simple, acoustic arrangements help bring out his powerful voice. The most impressive feature of this debut is the ability of Gorka to move easily from light-hearted humorous songs (“Winter Cows,” “Like My Watch”) to serious songs about the complexities of relationships (“Love Is Our Cross to Bear”). The versatility in his songwriting and the expressiveness of his warm baritone would become his trademarks, and John Gorka has become a leader of the genre dubbed “contemporary folk.” This stunning debut also established Gorka songs in the folk canon, as his inspirational song “Branching Out” is often sung in elementary schools.