"...an artist to be reckoned with."
All Music Guide
Matt Turk is a veteran performer who has engaged audiences around the world, both as a hard-rocking bandleader and an acoustic folk troubadour. Matt's new recording American Preservation, released in March 2010, highlights the latter, as well as showcasing his growing reputation as a stellar re-interpreter of classic tunes. The new record is a collection of traditional standards and well-loved classics, produced by David Dobkin and Dan Pinnella. Recorded live at Matter Music in Burbank California, American Preservation is further evidence of Turk's true musical craftsmanship. With an inspired track list ranging from Roy Acuff to Pink Floyd, and from Taj Mahal to T. Rex, Turk's singing is both confident and relaxed, his mandolin, lap steel, and guitar playing crisp and rollicking. Turk's stellar band includes drummer Dean Butterworth bassist Chris Wagner, Chris Joyner on piano and Wurlitzer, vocalist Gaby Moreno, fiddler Gary Star, saxophonist Tracy Wannamae , Jack Rudy on harmonica and Dan Pinnella on guitars, pedal steel, dobro and slide.
Comfortable as a charismatic collaborator, Matt has recently been showcasing his creativity with fellow Hudson Valley singer-songwriter Fred Gillen, Jr. Performing as Gillen & Turk, the duo soon gained national recognition when they were featured in an AP article on New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority's Music Under New York series. In May 2008 Gillen & Turk released the well-received CD Backs to the Wall and spent part of the year touring nationally to support the record. In the summer of 2008, Gillen & Turk were featured on the television show NYC Soundtracks, on the MSG network.
In February of 2008, Turk released the music video "The Fog of War." Filmed in various locations around the Hudson Valley and New York City, the video features Turk with his special guest, the legendary Pete Seeger. Acoustic Live's Richard Cuccaro calls "The Fog of War" "a remarkable video."
Turk has also lent his considerable musical chops to movie soundtracks. His cover of the seasonal classic "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" appeared on the soundtrack to the 2007 Warner Bros. film "Fred Claus." Turk provided lead vocals, mandolin, lap steel and acoustic guitar on the track. In 2006, his original song "Bette Says" appeared on the television show "Love Monkey". He has also recorded music for the History Channel and other television, cable and internet stations.
As a solo artist Matt has now released four albums. In addition to American Preservation, these include Turktunes (2000), 2002's highly-acclaimed What Gives, and 2006's, Washington Arms. On Washington Arms, Turk again highlights his strength as an interpreter by updating the anthemic Ten Years After hit "I'd Love to Change the World," a track that also appeared on the Sony Music compilation "Play Back 111," released in 2009.
Matt was a founding member of The Hour in the fertile NYC jam-rock scene of the early nineties. Formed in 1987 while some of the band members were students (such as Turk, a history major) at New York University, The Hour peaked as an eclectic acoustic trio before disbanding in 1993 with Matt, Marshall Madow on guitar and vocals, and drummer, Carey Harmon, now of Railroad Earth.. The Hour released three albums --Fricker-Nicker Sessions (1991) and Songs of Sweden (1992) and Hold Back the Reins (2003). They were house band for three summers at Arrowhead Ranch, a music hideaway in the Catskill Mountains that regularly attracted the likes of Lenny Kravitz, Phish, Blues Traveler, Spin Doctors, Levon Helm, Little Feat, Hot Tuna, Max Creek and the Dave Matthews Band.
Around this time Turk became acquainted with producer Phil Ramone, during studio work as a sideman, initially singing on Russ Irwin's debut with Phoebe Snow. "Thanks to Russ' introduction, Phil took an interest in my music and gave me a great tutoring on the craft of songwriting," remembers Turk, "I still reflect on Phil's lessons."
In June 1992 Turk first teamed up with Pete Seeger as part of The Street Singers, a group that taught folk songs to schoolchildren in and around New York City. Turk was greatly inspired by Seeger to write songs of social justice and by his two-year stint working for God's Love-We Deliver, delivering food to folks homebound with AIDS.
In 1996, Turk formed The Dolphin & Shark Ensemble, a sprawling group of pickers and players dedicated to mixing Americana and world beat musical styles. He'd also branched off into researching Jewish folk music. In partnership with Kevin Hupp, he formed Mandolin Caravan, and their first album, Desert Soul, was released in 2003.
For several years (2000-2004) Turk coordinated and hosted the Circle of Song tent at Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival, an event inaugurated by Pete Seeger in the 1960s that's held each June on the banks of the Hudson River. Matt Turk serves as resident musician at Congregation B'nai Jeshrun in New York City, and runs the music element of Story Arts at Coachmen Family Center, an arts project for Westchester County homeless children through a grant from the ArtsWestchester, the Frog Rock Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. A concert December 10, 2009 brought Matt together once more with Seeger, as well as with the kids of the Coachmen Family Center, and others.