"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 met more than a decade ago in New York's fertile Hudson Valley music scene. In addition to solo and other projects, they teamed up as Gillen & Turk. As a duo they feature two part vocal harmony, a huge variety of instruments including guitars, mandolin, harmonica, and of course Gillen's famous washboard, and an infectiously positive energy. Soon after forming their duo they received world-wide attention in an Associated Press article that featured them auditioning for the Metropolitan Transit Authority's Music Under New York in Manhattan. They are still on MUNY's roster, though they rarely perform in the subways these days.
In May of 2008 Gillen & Turk released their first duo CD Backs to the Wall and spent much of the year touring nationally, with the recording supporting the tour. This tour included radio appearances on stations such as New York's WFUV and California's KPIG, and opening for Todd Rundgren. Backs to the Wall, an acoustic and electric, folk-rock, singer/songwriter CD was well-received by critics and fans, and in 2009 the first pressing sold out. A song from the album, "Fall Down," appeared on CMJ's 2008 Compilation CD, given to 11,000 CMJ conference attendees. In the summer of 2008, Gillen & Turk were featured on the television show NYC Soundtracks, on the MSG network. They've continued to play as a duo sporadically over the years, and their fan base has remained loyal. In 2014, after all these years working together, they began to co-write, and plan to release another album in late 2015 or early 2016 featuring primarily songs they've co-written. While they work on writing together, they're touring extensively as a duo in 2015, calling the tour the "Love Revival" tour, as they play songs from Turk's latest album Cold Revival and Gillen's latest release, Wage Love.
As a solo artist NYFA (New York Foundation For The Arts) grant recipient Fred Gillen Jr has released nine full-length albums, to great critical acclaim, and has toured all over the U.S. and Europe. His songs have been featured on ABC's "All My Children," NPR's "Car Talk," and in 2012 his version of Woody Guthrie's "I Ain't Got No Home" was featured on "Pete Remembers Woody," a collection of Pete Seeger's spoken stories about Woody Guthrie. Like Guthrie, Gillen's songs often reflect the struggles of the marginalized and forgotten, shining a light on both the despair and hope in the human condition. In 2010 two of his songs were recorded by Hudson Valley band The Yayas, and in 2014 his widely-sung folk song "Sing Sing Sing" was recorded by the eco-rock band Solar Punch. He has also served his local music community as President of non-profit music organization Tribes Hill for three years, and he was a founding member of the critically-acclaimed band Hope Machine who were an "official program" of the Woody Guthrie Foundation & Archives for several years. A song from Hope Machine's debut CD March was included in Folk Alliance's War And Politics Compilation CD in 2011. He has shared the stage with Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow, Tom Chapin, John Hall, and other nationally-known artists in both the folk and rock genres, and opened for Merle Haggard, Ellis Paul, Dar Williams, Fred Eaglesmith, and others.
As a producer Gillen has about thirty records credited to him in the past five years, and his recording studio Woody's House is a busy hub of Hudson Valley creativity. He is currently a co-writing member of the rock band Hot Rod Pacer, and his latest solo album Wage Love was released in February of 2015. This is his first solo album which features primarily his more "political" songs, concerning topics such as war, the plight of veterans, freedom, 9/11, and the story of the great labor organizer Joe Hill.
Web music authority All Music Guide calls Matt Turk "...an artist to be reckoned with." A seasoned recording artist, multi-instrumentalist, eternal idealist and compassionate peace loving realist, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York based Matt Turk is a veteran performer who has engaged audiences around the world, both as a rocking bandleader and an acoustic folk troubadour. He has shared the stage with Pete Seeger and opened for Judy Collins, The Doobie Brothers, Fiona Apple, The Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart and more. He has performed throughout the U.S.A., Europe, Israel and the Caribbean, appearing at festivals and venues including Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival, the Gathering of the Vibes, Atlanta's Music Midtown, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Beacon Theatre and Brooklyn Bowl.
Matt's new recording, Cold Revival, is produced by David Dobkin, also a filmmaker, best known for directing "Wedding Crashers." Cold Revival was recorded in Los Angeles at Matter Music and is an arrestingly emotional collection of songs dealing with human relationships, loss, and the redeeming power of love. The album was released October 7, 2014. The tracks provide a modern folk-influenced soundscape showcasing Matt's powerful troubadour. Guitar Player says: "On his latest release, Cold Revival, Matt Turk expertly weaves track after track of acoustic guitar and mandolin into a folk-rock fabric where they can stand on their own or sit comfortably side by side with electric guitars, lap-steel, keys, and vocals." Rust Magazine voted Cold Revival 2014 album of the year saying: "With Cold Revival, Matt Turk has distinguished himself as one of the premier talents of our time, and this is one of the best albums ever made. It is that special." In 2011, Matt scored the full-length documentary "The Lion of Judah," winner of several independent film festival awards. Matt's 2010 release American Preservation placed #20 on the folk charts FolkRadio.org and is a collection of well-loved classics, ranging from Taj Mahal to T. Rex. In February of 2008, Turk released the music video "The Fog of War" which featured the musician with special guest Pete Seeger. Acoustic Live's Richard Cuccaro called it "a remarkable video." Matt's cover of the Christmas classic "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" appeared on the soundtrack to the 2007 Warner Bros. film "Fred Claus."
His version of "America the Beautiful "has been called "arguably the definitive acoustic version" by Music News Nashville. Besides Cold Revival and American Preservation, Turk's discography includes Turktunes (2000), What Gives (2002) and Washington Arms (2006), Mandolin Caravan's Desert Soul (2003) and Gillen & Turk's Backs to the Wall (2008.)