Radoslav Lorkovic can relate to the classic Pretender’s cut “My City was Gone.” When Lorkovic returned during the spring to Iowa City, where he came of age in the ’70s, he was in disbelief.
“I didn’t recognize the city,” Lorkovic said by phone from Pampa, Texas. “I thought I was in Ann Arbor. I’m not saying Iowa City isn’t cool. Iowa City looks like Austin used to look like, which is a cool thing. But a few skyscrapers popped up on the Iowa City skyline over the last two years.
“However, it’s still a great place.”
When Lorkovic returns to the Corridor to perform Friday (11/22) at CSPS in nearby Cedar Rapids, he’ll hark back to the dawn of his musical career. He was performing with the Cody Jarrett Band 40 years ago. The short-lived group, which existed throughout 1979, had potential, he said.
“We formed in January of that year and the band was history by December,” he said. “That was one of the most fun times that I ever had. I was the keyboardist and we had such great songs. We had so much going for us. We had talent and songs. We had a chance to go far.”
The Jarrett Band had one big issue.
“We partied too much and that was the end,” Lorkovic said. “We were like the band Stillwater that was in the movie ‘Almost Famous.’ We had a record deal, but we never put the album out. I’m still threatening to put that album out.”
Whether or not those tracks get laid down, Lorkovic, 61, guitarist John Lake, a founding member of the Cody Jarrett Band, and drummer Jim Viner will play some of the Jarrett Band’s Americana cuts. Lorkovic, who also plays a mean accordion, will preview some new material, too.
“I have a lot of songs that I recently wrote that I would like to play,” he said.
Count on the Chicago resident to deliver an array of material.
“That’s what I do,” he said. “Music for me is an obsession.”
Few contemporary musicians possess the range of the gifted Lorkovic, who easily veers from folk to blues to Americana.
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“There are a lot of one-trick ponies out there,” he said. “I can’t operate that way. I’m fortunate that I’m able to do what I want. I know some musicians play bars and they’re asked to play covers. I’ve never been asked to do that ... but I know three or four Jimmy Buffett songs if someone asks for it. I can do whatever you like.”
It’s not surprising that the well-versed musician can play just about anything anyone requests.
“I’m not saying that I’m a human jukebox, but I can play a variety of styles of songs and I enjoy it,” he said. “Playing music is what I’m passionate about.”
It all started when Lorkovic, who was born in Croatia, moved to Minneapolis in 1964 when he was 6 years old. When his neuroscientist father, Hrvoje Lorkovic, joined the research staff as a scientist at the University of Iowa in 1969, the family relocated to Iowa City. His younger brother, Ivan Lorkovic, followed in their father’s footsteps and became a scientist.
At UI, Lorkovic followed the Grateful Dead. “When I was supposed to be working on trigonometry and algebra, I was working on Grateful Dead songs,” he said. “I quickly discovered that music was my passion.”
Shortly after graduating, Lorkovic joined the Jarrett Band followed by a slot in Bo Ramsey and the Sliders. Ramsey turned Lorkovic onto Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.
“I developed a huge appreciation for the blues thanks to Bo,” Lorkovic said.
During the ’90s, Lorkovic started playing with singer/songwriter Greg Brown.
“Greg is all about folk,” Lorkovic said. “Thanks to Greg, I got into that style of music. I never stopped exploring. I’m still musically curious. Thanks to that curiosity that I’ve always had, I explore. Who knows what I’ll do next?”
• What: Radoslav Lorkovic
• Where: CSPS Hall, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids
• When: 8 p.m. Friday (11/22)
• Tickets: $15 advance, $20 door; CSPS Box Office, (319) 364-1580 or Legionarts.org/events/upcoming/
• Artist’s website: radoslavlorkovic.com