Good company

John Gorka Bean Scene, Fri., Dec. 5

Nevada City duo Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald opened to a packed house. Kamm, on acoustic guitar and vocals, and flame-haired vocalist MacDonald performed a delightful set, sounding at times a little like Simon and Garfunkel. Nice harmonies.

The bearded John Gorka, looking professorial in his black jacket and pants with a pale blue mock turtleneck beneath (his red shoelaces, however, giving him away as not quite an academic), performed two satisfying sets for an enraptured crowd, clearly there to see their man. A look around the room revealed eyes closed in bliss to the moving music and lips mouthing familiar words.

Gorka introduced songs playfully, his knowing eyes twinkling: “I’d like to do a request now … from a few weeks ago.” My favorite of the night was one of two he performed on keyboard, a beautiful song called “Let Them In,” about young casualties of war deserving to be let into Heaven: “Let them in…/ They are very tired…/Give them things they like/ Let them make noise/ Let them love/ ‘Cause they’ve had no time…” I doubt I was the only one crying.

Gorka’s friend, singer-guitarist Christine Kane, came up for a few songs, and the one she did alone was particularly nice.

A very nice night, Gorka left the satisfied audience with these words from his last encore song: "Peace on earth, / Goodwill to men…/the wrong shall fail, / the right prevail…"