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The Joe Vig Top 40 (February 2011)

"A strong effort by two fine songwriter/singers, Matt Turk and Fred Gillen Jr. who bring their blend of Americana, folk rock and solid instrumentation to this CD episode they call Backs To The Wall." [ more >>]

They keep the circle unbroken

By Mary Shustack
The Journal News  April 30, 2009
Cover Story
Pete Seeger will be honored with a star-studded 90th-birthday concert Sunday at Madison Square Garden.  The pre-party, though, happens Saturday night in White Plains.
That's when the "Tribes Hill Songbook" - a concert featuring members of the acclaimed Hudson Valley music collective, formed in the spirit of Seeger - is presented at The Arts Exchange, ArtsWestchester's performing space on Mamaroneck Avenue.

Tribes Hill musicians Anthony da Costa, Matt Turk, Fred Gillen Jr., KJ Denhert, Kathleen Pemble and Steve Kirkman will be performing each other's songs.  Tribes Hill has made quite an impact beyond its local start, says John Platt of WFUV 90.7 FM. It now features more than 100 official Hudson Valley members, but extends to a larger community.  "What's happened, I think, in a way, is it's spun out from Westchester," Platt, host of WFUV's folk-oriented "Sunday Breakfast" show says. "It has created this rippled effect throughout the metropolitan area." [...more...]

Concert Review: Beefstock 2009

The revelation of the evening was Gillen and Turk. To say that their whole is greater than the sum of the parts is in their case an actual compliment, Fred Gillen Jr.'s fiery lyricism and old school Americana folk songwriting is a perfect complement to Matt Turk's soulfully virtuosic acoustic guitar and mandolin work. The best song of the whole festival was a new number possibly titled "Dear Mr. President," an absolutely spot-on critique. "Dear Mr. Governor, did you really call on her to comfort you in your hour of need?" Gillen and Turk asked the crowd, to considerable laughter. The song's last verse celebrated that "it's really great, the votes were really counted in 2008!" The duo also held the increasingly celebratory crowd hushed through the dark 9/11 blowback ballad "We All Fall Down," then an oldtimey number where Turk mimed a muted trumpet and got the audience going with an increasingly complicated call-and-response, and a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" that had some of the audience in tears.

Lucid Culture
Albany NY Times Union"pointed, socially conscious songs bolstered by some impressive musicianship"
Greg Haymes
Times Union, Albany NY
February 26, 2009


Monterey County Herald

"Backs to the Wall is a strong, confident work of folkish-rootsy rock with political and social consciousness."

Mac McDonald: Getting jazzed
The Monterey County Herald, Go!
January 2009

"unvarnished social commentary with folkified hoot-and-holler melodies"

Sing Out!  Fall 2008


Maija Morton, KUMD (Duluth, MN) 
 "Humanitarian.  Songs about people and about living and getting along and those good folk traditions of standing up and speaking out."  Maija Morton, KUMD Duluth, MN

Todd Rundgren at the Tarrytown Music Hall

Opening the show was Gillen and Turk. They've played all up and down the Hudson River Valley, doing both electric and acoustic shows. I hadn't heard of them before, but I thoroughly enjoyed them and bought Backs to the Wall , their latest CD, in between their set and Todd's. They played a relatively short acoustic set and were darn good.

 Box of Textures by Seth Elgart

Gillen & Turk's "Backs to the Wall"
well crafted and filled with hope -- WITH MUSIC

The Daily FreemanWell-executed harmonies can be transforming, and the duo Gillen & Turk inherently knows that.

The Hudson Valley's Fred Gillen Jr. and Matt Turk have put together a CD of not only finely crafted songs sung well, but filled with hope. They've put their time in - underground for the MTA in Manhattan, as well as at Pete Seeger's "Circle of Song" tent at the Great Clearwater Music and Arts Festival.

Former solo artists, Gillen and Turk combined their efforts with spectacular results. An alt-country cosmic cowboy sound is revealed in the 12 tracks here, from the open air "These Nameless Streets," the sunny Grateful Dead-like vibe of "It Really Matters," the urgent, politically charged "Black Hills" and the free-flowing "Come Away With Me."

"Peace Rant" recalls early Dylan in more ways than one, while "Killing Machine" has an almost Clash-like anxiety.

This work is not frivolous love songs, but topical and thought-provoking tunes, like the music we loved years ago.

A moving first effort by a promising pair.

By David Malachowski
Daily Freeman 07/11/2008
Kingston, NY


The World According to Wawrzyniak

 GILLEN & TURK - Backs to the Wall

Jersey BeatTuneful and lulling, with a nice folksy pop-rock sound and equally engaging reflective sensibility to it, this album automatically wins the listener over on the basis of its gently melodic quality alone. Fred Gillen Jr. and Matt Turk harmonize beautifully well together on the lead vocals; their two voices blend seamlessly into a lovely and arresting whole that’s an absolute pleasure to hear. Moreover, these two New York City-based guys are very fine and thoughtful songwriters. Whether it’s the sweet charm of the opening track “These Nameless Streets,” or the bubbly vitality of the bouncy “It Really Matters,” this album delivers one delightful song after another.  Some songs rock a bit harder than others (“Fall Down” in particular has a strong socking beat to it), but every last one hits the pleasingly dulcet spot just the same. A wonderfully radiant little gem.

Joe Wawrzyniak, Jersey Beat

Celebrity Cafe

The Celebrity Cafe"Backs to the Wall is an eclectic mix of the familiar and the slightly exotic. Reminiscent of great musicians like Bob Dylan and the Beatles, Gillen & Turk are both poets and political commentators, and their statements are framed by top-notch playing and original instrumentation."   Read the entire article here
C.J. Trent

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