“…an artist to be reckoned with.” -- All Music Guide
Not everyone can convincingly cover John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.” Multi-instrumentalist and roots artist Matt Turk does that and much more. With stellar instrumental chops (guitar, mandolin, lap steel) and a warm, expressive voice, he’s performed in hundreds of venues all over the world, from Europe to the Caribbean; in New York City at the mayor’s residence and at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, where he’s a resident musician. As a side player, bandleader, and solo artist, he’s shared stages with everyone from Norah Jones to The Doobie Brothers. His recent “Fog of War” video features special guest Pete Seeger.
His stirring original tunes include “Silver Ring,” a joyful love song told with vivid beach imagery, and the poignant “It Really Matters,” which hopefully declares, "Calling for a revolution / Crying for evolution / Compassion is the solution / Kindness the contribution." It features his South African-influenced lead guitar, danceable groove and a sing-along chorus that stays with you a long time. The acoustic “Hobo Boy” is about a modern day drifter who sofa surfs. It’s a blues-inspired number – no surprise since Mississippi John Hurt is one of his influences. Matt’s not just a bluesman, though, he’s also inspired by the Beatles, Woody Guthrie and Nina Simone. There’s a great pop sensibility in his “Bette Says.” It bursts with great guitar hooks and a solid groove.
He’s sold over 10,000 albums. The Denver cover is on his 2010 collection of classics, American Preservation. Recorded live and produced by David Dobkin, (film director for Wedding Crashers), it also includes a stirring a cappella version of Pink Floyd’s “On the Turning Away.” He’s not afraid to tackle “America the Beautiful,” giving it a cool rootsy vibe complete with Dobro. Music News Nashville called it, "… arguably the definitive acoustic version.” He has three other solo albums – Washington Arms (2006), What Gives (2002) and Turktunes (1999) – as well as one album with Mandolin Caravan, Desert Soul (2003), and one as part of duo Gillen and Turk, Backs to the Wall (2008). A new solo recording is in production.
Well-known as a side-player, he recently added background vocals to Pete Seeger’s new release, A More Perfect Union. Matt was a founding member of The Hour, a ground-breaking NYC jam band that released three albums. They were the house band for three summers at Arrowhead Ranch, aka Fillmore of the Catskills. Associated with the renowned Bill Graham, the venue regularly attracted rock royalty like Lenny Kravitz, Phish, Blues Traveler, Levon Helm, Little Feat, and the Dave Matthews Band.
Matt’s music has appeared in films including Warner Brother’s Fred Claus (2007). “Bette Says” was featured on CBS; other songs have been heard on the History Channel and more. He also scored the award-winning documentary The Lion of Judah (2011).
He performs 120 gigs a year, from intimate coffeehouses to sheds, for as many as 2000 people. He’s showcased at the International Folk Alliance Conference, and opened for many including Fiona Apple and Bob Dylan. Favorite gigs include an appearance at the New York Disability Parade and many performances at Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival, where he coordinates the Jam Tent.
“Joy is good,” he says with a smile. How can it not be, with Matt Turk?
Matt Turk - guitars, mandolin, Vocal
& the Hobo Caravan - Vocals, Bass, Drums, Guitar, keyboards, Piano, Accordion, flute, keyboards/sax, Chromatic Harmonica
Pete Seeger The Storm King, 2013
Pete Seeger, Lorre Wyatt A More Perfect Union 2012
Backwoods Jupiter presents Bob Dylan's Desire, 2011
Matt Turk, American Preservation, 2010
Tribes Hill, We're All Here, 2010
Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, Piyut North America, 2010
Curtis and the Dilettantes, Tales of a Traveler, 2010
Hope Machine, Big Green Hope Machine, 2009
Gillen & Turk, Back's to the Wall, 2008
Fred Claus Soundtrack, Warner Brothers Records, 2007
Matt Turk, special guest Pete Seeger, "The Fog of War", 2007
Matt Turk, Washington Arms, 2006
Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, Pesach, 2006
Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, Yamim Nora'im, 2005
Mandolin Caravan, Desert Soul, 2003
Matt Turk, What Gives, 2002
Matt Turk, Turktunes, 1999
The Hour, Songs of Sweden, 1992
The Hour, Fricker-Nicker Sessions, 1991
The Hour, Hold Back The Reins, 1989
Talkin’ Turk: A local musician goes from recording with a legend in Fishkill to sitting in with celebs in the South of France.
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Hastings resident Matt Turk is one busy singer/songwriter. One day, he’s off doing background vocals...Hastings resident Matt Turk is one busy singer/songwriter. One day, he’s off doing background vocals on a Pete Seeger record (September’s A More Perfect Union), the next he’s off scoring a documentary (The Lion of Judah), and, after that, he’s taking a trip to Nazareth, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem to act as a musical ambassador—and all while working on his own album of rootsy Americana music, which he’s about to start recording. We caught up with Turk to ask about his musical projects.
Live at City Winery, NYC 3/10/13, Aztec Two-Step with Special Guest Matt Turk
"Matt Turk's beautifully arranged and performed acoustic pieces... a fresh listen."
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"the rootsy rendition of "America the Beautiful" arguably could be considered the definitive acousti..."the rootsy rendition of "America the Beautiful" arguably could be considered the definitive acoustic version."
Night Rhythms on 100.7 WHUD
"American Preservation is an American Masterpiece!"
Matt Turk at the Living Room
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"Belting blues, softly breaking your heart with a range that is worthy of Aaron Neville, Turk can, a..."Belting blues, softly breaking your heart with a range that is worthy of Aaron Neville, Turk can, and does, it all."
The Fog of War with special guest Pete Seeger
Beefstock Concert Review
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Matt Turk's soulfully virtuosic acoustic guitar and mandolin work. The best song of the whole festiv...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.
"...unvarnished social commentary with folkified hoot-and-holler melodies"
March 2008 Cover
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"Two folk-rock musicians had traveled almost parallel paths to arrive at the same destination. Their..."Two folk-rock musicians had traveled almost parallel paths to arrive at the same destination. Their rafter-raising shout-outs for peace and social justice combine influences from Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. How they got there speaks to their foundations, their integrity and their gritty determination as well as their talent." Richard Cuccaro
Singin' Some Social Commentary
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"Fred Gillen and Matt Turk sing folk music that rests on commitment. They sing a lot of social-comme..."Fred Gillen and Matt Turk sing folk music that rests on commitment. They sing a lot of social-commentary songs. They're young, but their politics are those of the first generation of politicized folk singers. The music needs no apology, they're fine musicians." The Wave May 29, 2008
Matt Turk Makes His Mark
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"Turk delivers poignant lyrics with solid artisanship coupled with a powerful, dynamic voice. It is ..."Turk delivers poignant lyrics with solid artisanship coupled with a powerful, dynamic voice. It is his ability to charm that allows Turk's music to reach a wide variety of audiences, both young and old." Dara Sliwinski
Turk, a songwriting balladeer
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"To say that Turk's music has one distinctive feel would be impossible. At times his music is highly..."To say that Turk's music has one distinctive feel would be impossible. At times his music is highly introspective and folksy, yet for the most part, his tunes are well-crafted rock songs that are impossible not to relate to on some level." James O'Rourke
Gillen & Turk
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"Backs to the Wall is an eclectic mix of the familiar and the slightly exotic. Reminiscent of great ..."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." CJ Trent
All Music Guide
"an artist to be reckoned with" Joe Viglione
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"In my 20 years in the music business as a musician, producer, and radio host, I have listened to co..."In my 20 years in the music business as a musician, producer, and radio host, I have listened to countless indie releases. What Gives by Matt Turk is among the best of them! Strong songwriting with catchy hooks complemented by tasteful production, solid guitar playing, and compelling vocals are what sets What Gives apart. I'd put this album up against anything, indie or major label, and it would come out a winner." Todd Mack
Matt Turk sets are drawn from original compositions, traditionals and choice covers.
Fifth & Faith (original)
Dear Mr. President (original)
Silver Ring (original)
You Don't Mess Around with Jim (Jim Croce)
Midnight on the Water (traditional)
Dog Story (original)
Bette Says (original)
Sweet Virginia (Jagger/Richards)
Freight Train (traditional)