"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!
"unvarnished social commentary with folkified hoot-and-holler melodies"
Sing Out! Fall 2008
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
Well-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.
GILLEN & TURK - Backs to the Wall
Tuneful 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