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Gordon Bok

With his deep, resonating voice and melodic six- and 12-string guitar fingerpicking, Gordon Bok has been the leading purveyor of the music of the sea for nearly half a century. Although he has often preferred to spend his time in his workshop in Maine, working on wood sculptures, his albums and performances are always eagerly awaited by his many fans.

A native of Pennsylvania, Bok grew up in rural Maine. His musical skills were inherited from his parents. While his mother taught him folk songs on nylon-string guitar, his father exposed him to jazz and classical music. Although he began playing guitar at the age of nine, Bok didn't sing until being encouraged by a fiddler and seaman he met while working a summer job on a boat following his high-school graduation.

Traveling to larger East Coast cities during the winter to work as a carpenter, Bok became absorbed in the folk music scene. With his large repertoire of songs about the sea, he became one of the traditional circuit's best-known artists. Bok, however, remained reclusive. After five years of prodding, he finally relented to allowing Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary to produce his self-titled debut album in 1965. In the 1980s, Bok was inspired by a series of disturbing dreams to compose in the ancient style of cante-fables, a non-rhyming style of balladry. His cante-fable The Play of Lady Odivere was recorded in 1989.

In addition to his performances and recordings as a soloist, Bok has worked in a trio with Ann Mayo Muir and Ed Trickett. He recorded a duo album, Neighbors, with Cindy Kallet in 1996. In the 21st century his recordings as a solo artist have included Dear to Our Island (2001), Herrings in the Bay (2003), Apples in the Basket (2005), In Concert (2006), and Other Eyes (2010), all released on Bok's Timberhead Music label based in Camden, Maine. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

captaintimpa e g e l o w
Gordon kept hisself to sea by marryin' a Captain..... w h i l e our connection Ellen Vincent chose me Tim Paegelow as her Captain....I am certain we both remember her with the greatest love and respect..... a n d her Down on the Island, Up on the Main.....bro t h e r s in music and brothers on the water.......
I named my son Kagan because of this song.
shantteyman
Peter Kagan and the Wind has to rate with some of the best American poetry and storytelling . The little 12 string guitar he plays in this song is aptly Bell.
I always think of my father when I hear music like this. The lyrics and his voice make me feel safe and warm.
shantteyman
Gordon is the sea come ashore. His voice, his gentle spirit and his humility make him the genuine article. If you get the chance, go see him live.
I listen to Gordon while painting gives me deeper motivation with each song and lyric !
Yes, Woody's Children...F u n d y and Herring Croon. Hooked at once. Where did that reel of tape go? A voice, a guitar style, a knowledge of so many songs from so many places. Anyone else remember the OTHER record that Sherman played that night? It was the first album from a new Canadian singer named Joni Mitchell. He thought both singers a bit too melancholy.
lkelly274
I too was introduced to his incredible voice on Woody's Children which aired on Friday nights in the late '60's. His Bay of Fundy was the first I heard and is still a favorite. His solo work as well as his albums with Muir and Trickett kept me in touch with the Northeast when I lived in Southern California for five years. Ironically, I got a job in Southeastern Mass. after that and his songs, especially Turning Towards the Morning and Tune for November help me with the winters.
A favorite of mine since I first heard Robert Sherman play some of his fine songs on WQXR-FM's (NY) Woody's Children. Attending a concert he performed with Ann Mayo Muir and Ed Trickett in the Georgetown University Cathedral (ca. 1979 or 1980) was one of my most memorable musical experiences. I can still feel the harmonies resonate!
I first heard Gordon's Sea-faring songs when I was DownEast @ Bowdoin some 100 years ago...there' s magic to his songs and carries o'er the waves of time...
dwarfstar
In the mid-seventie s we rented a room to a musician, and although he never
paid his rent, he introduced me to the music of Gordon Bok. I guess we're
even.
First heard Gordon Bok in the late 70's in Chicago. Fred Holstein introduced me to many of his songs, and I heard Bok on WFMT's "Midnight Special" program. He's been one of my favorites ever since. If I had to pick favorites, "Turning Toward the Morning" and "Peter Kagen and the Wind" will do for starters.

One of the all time best.
His voice can reach deeper into my soul than anything else. The first time I heard him was while in college with a friend, and we dug out her parents old records and lay on the floor listening... we both looked over at each other with tears in our eyes, both having felt that we had come home. A memorable experience, that I feel a piece of whenever I hear him sing.
tod5
I've only heard the song "Apples in the basket", but there's something timeless, universal and haunting about it, and about his voice.
Remarkable.
spirit02
My favorite for the past 35 years.

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