John Gorham

John Gorham has been stumbling around the music scene in central Alberta for a long time, pretending to be a cat-skinner, two-bit rancher, carpenter and prospector, playing the old taverns and hall dances with a variety of country bands as a singer and bass player. During this time he has met some great old-time fiddlers and musicians and developed an abiding love of bluegrass, hokum, early country music and western swing. Not greatly enamoured of ‘New Country’ or Nashville, he believes far more good music has come out of Texas. John’s been known to drive a long way to play a few fiddle tunes and drink beer.

Beginning in the late ’80s, John started accompanying singer songwriters Lindi Smith and Lesley Schatz, playing folk festivals and ultimately touring parts of Europe and the former Soviet Union with Lesley. A stint with the folk-jazz group Nicklefinger followed. Later he met and began playing for Joanne Myrol. Friendship and some gigs with with the Alien Rebels, arguably one of Alberta’s best rockabilly bands, led to Uncle Thirsty (Lance Loree)’s inviting John to one of the first Rosebowl jams, hosted by Mike McDonald. While not an earth-shattering epiphany, it rocked pretty hard, and John began to attend fairly regularly, often playing a mandolin-guitar duo reminiscent of the Blue Sky Boys with Mike Bunting. That duo was the genesis of Twang! , a popular bluegrass-swing band, which played around Alberta and Saskatchewan in the late-90’s, and recorded Six Pack. Latterly, the group began playing some of John’s original songs. In 2002 he moved off the farm to the booming metropolis of E-town, and formed the John Henry band, featuring his tunes, and releasing Charmin’ Billy at the end of 2003.

John has worked over the years as a bassist with the Alien Rebels, and Washboard Hank, the Swampflowers as well as backing the Almost Leather Band , Dustin Cole, and Rachelle Van Zanten from time to time. He has also made forays into musical theatre with “ Doc Leonard’s Road Apple Revue ”, and “ Red, the Missing Years ”, a tribute to Red Sovine which he co-wrote with Dove Brown, and produced. These days he has been working with Terry Morrison, and they have recently recorded and released First Waltz, their first album together. John also performs solo, rasping out his particular blend of original songs and obscure covers, and mixing metaphors as though there were no tomorrow.

After nearly losing his hand in a bizarre puppetry accident, – some stunt which involved the juggling of miniature, lit chainsaws, ‘Lefty’, as he is now called, is back in the saddle, tearing it up with Terry, and with the Pleading Hearts and the Two Dollar Whores. Check the listings eh?

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John Gorham - Charmin Billy