"Gillen and Turk combined their efforts with spectacular results." — David Malachowski, Daily Freeman, Kingston, NY
"pointed, socially conscious songs bolstered by some impressive musicianship" — Greg Haynes, Times Union, Albany, NY
"unvarnished social commentary with folkified hoot-and-holler melodies" — Sing Out! Fall, 2008
Fred Gillen Jr. and Matt Turk first began working together informally, having enjoyed each other's music at various events in the Hudson Valley. After some inspiring shows together they decided to team up as Gillen & Turk. Soon after that they received world-wide notice in an Associated Press article that featured the duo auditioning for the Metropolitan Transit Authority's Music Under New York in Manhattan. In May 2008 Gillen & Turk released their first duo CD Backs to the Wall and spent part of the year touring nationally, with the recording supporting the tour. The CD was well-received by critics and fans, and by early 2009 the first pressing was nearly sold out. The song "Fall Down" from the disc also appeared on CMJ's 10,000 copy 2008 Player Compilation CD. In the summer of 2008, Gillen & Turk were featured on the television show NYC Soundtracks, on the MSG network.
Gillen cut his teeth as bassist in the popular roots-rock band Rain Deputies in the mid- nineties, before going solo in 1997 and releasing his first CD Intentions As Big As The Sky. As a solo artist he has since released five other full-length CD's and two ep's. His latest CD Coney Island has been well-received by local critics and fans. Building up a strong following by playing at every small venue in the Hudson Valley, Gillen was voted "Best Folk Artist" for three consecutive years by readers of The Westchester Weekly. In 2002 he was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts grant to cover expenses for his first European Tour. He also has served as President of Hudson Valley non-profit music collective Tribes Hill for three years, and has released two CD's with his Woody Guthrie- inspired traveling hootenanny Hope Machine. In his spare time Gillen produces and engineers other regional artists' CD's at his studio Woody's House in Croton -on- Hudson, NY.
A soulful vocalist who first picked up the guitar in grade school, Turk also plays mandolin and lap steel, and adeptly combines various musical styles. As a member of The Hour he learned his craft in the fertile NYC jam-rock scene of the early nineties. He teamed up with Pete Seeger as part of The Street Singers, a group that taught folk music to schoolchildren in and around New York City. Turk was greatly inspired to write songs of social justice by Seeger and by his three-year stint working for God's Love-We Deliver. As a solo artist Matt has released three albums, including 2002's highly-acclaimed What Gives, and 2006's, Washington Arms. In October 2006 he released the free digital single, "The Fog of War," which featured musical contributions from Seeger and Rob Morsberger. A video of "The Fog of War", directed by W.L. Jackson was released on the internet in February 2008. Turk's performance of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" with Matter Music and Gaby Moreno was produced by David Dobkin and appeared in the 2007 Warner Brothers film "Fred Claus" starring Vince Vaughn and Rachel Weisz. Turk co-founded the world music group Mandolin Caravan with drummer Kevin Hupp; their first album, Desert Soul, was released in 2003. Matt Turk is a musician-in-residence for Manhattan's Congregation B'nai Jeshurun. He is an artist-in-residence at Westhab's Coachmen homeless shelter in White Plains NY where he teaches folk music to homeless children in his community.