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All you have to do is study his Folk Dude Pedigree.
• Guitar and banjo at an early age? Check.
• Joined a band in college with a wacky name? Check (and that would be the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band).
• Started to play gigs at renowned Godfrey Daniels coffee house? Check.
• Shared bills with artists like Nanci Griffith, Bill Morrissey and Jack Hardy? Check.
• Prestigious slot at Kerrville Folk Festival? Check.
• Briefly replaced Buckethead in an Axl Rose incarnation of Guns N' Roses?
Oh, hold on. Scratch that last one.
Still, almost inevitably, John Gorka became not just a headliner but arguably the biggest name on the New Folk circuit. Which is why his appearance Friday at Unity Hall in New London's All Souls Church, part of the reliably great Friday Night Folk series, is a great opportunity.
It's been a while since Gorka released a CD of new material, but his most recent album, 2009's "So Dark You See," shows he's lost none of his compositional skills.
- RICK KOSTER
John Gorka, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Unity Hall, All Souls Church, 19 Jay Street, New London;. $17 advance, $20 door, $10 students; (860) 443-0316, fridaynightfolk.org.