Fred Gillen Jr

Fred Gillen Jr

BandFolkAmericana

rabble-rousing folk troubador

Biography

Hudson Valley, New York- based NYFA (New York Foundation For The Arts)
grant recipient Fred Gillen Jr. writes and sings songs with messages of hope,
love, and spiritual transformation wrapped up in stories of the struggles and
triumphs of the human condition. Perhaps his musical artistry is best describes by New York Times writer Tom Staudter: "Gillen understands that his musical artistry isn't cookie-cutter stuff, but in the purest sense of the folk tradition he forges ahead, idiosyncrasies and all, a storyteller with rough truths to impart."
An extremely prolific songwriter, Gillen has released five full-length CD's and two e.p.’s independently in the past nine years to great critical acclaim, including his latest full-length release "Gone Gone Gone." His inspired and spontaneous live performances have built him an extensive following on the east coast and beyond. Having toured in most of the U.S.A., as well as Germany, Czech Republic, and Ireland, Gillen is equally comfortable on a huge festival stage, in an intimate house concert, or at almost any venue in between. For three straight years Gillen was voted "Best Folk Artist" by the readers of Westchester Weekly in that publication's readers' poll, and is well-respected by his peers in the folk music community.
Besides performing solo/ acoustic shows, Gillen is a member of Hope Machine. Hope Machine performs "rabble-rousing, folk-rock, native-americana, industrial-rockabilly, foot-stompin'-songs for peace and justice," in a style that can only be described as a "Traveling Hootenanny." The group began as a Woody Guthrie tribute, and is still endorsed by the Woody Guthrie Foundation, though they now incorporate some of their own songs, along with Woody, Pete Seeger, traditional, and any other songs which fit the moment. The group recently released its first CD "March." Gillen has also recently joined the Matt Turk band as bassist, and is performing some acoustic shows as the duo "Gillen & Turk" with Matt.
Having served as president of non-profit organization Tribes Hill for two and a half years, and currently serving on the organization's board, Gillen has also done a great deal to promote and encourage other artists in the Hudson Valley and build up a thriving music scene there.
A long-time engineer and producer of independent recordings, Gillen recently renovated his studio "Woody's House," and has recently worked on CD's by James Durst, Steve Kirkman, Scott Urgola, Work 'O The Weavers, Anthony DaCosta, and Steve Chizmadia there.

Lyrics

Killing Machine

Written By: Fred Gillen Jr.

They decorated me ceremoniously, the governor was there and 3 generals too
I got my medals, I was on TV, but now what am I supposed to do?
‘cause there is no job for a killing machine back here in civilization
the army said they’d train me and give me a skill,
then they gave me a gun and sent me to kill
and now I’m home, but there is no home
for a newly retired killing machine

and nobody wants to hear my story
now the war is over and they want to forget
but how can I forget the people I killed and the friends I’ve lost?

So I walked into my bar unceremoniously, I was a regular here not so long ago
But now to some I’m a bit of a celebrity and to the rest I’m just a jar-head, a G.I. Joe
I buy a couple rounds but it ain’t the same, I’ll never again be one of the guys
So I sit at home and watch TV and try to forget what I know I can’t
There’s no escape, and no reprieve
For a newly unemployed killing machine

and nobody wants to hear my story
now the war is over and they want to forget
but how can I forget the people I killed and the friends I’ve lost?

They arrested me ceremoniously, they read me my rights like a reading at a mass
I’ll get 3 square meals and an orange jumpsuit,
but at least I will no longer be out on my ass
I’ll make dog-tags and license plates- the irony, I’ll take orders again like I did before
They say I can take classes and learn a trade, I’ll get to eat potatoes and drink cool aid
But there’s no honor to be had in this place
For a newly incarcerated killing machine

and nobody wants to hear my story
now the war is over and they want to forget
but how can I forget the people I killed and the friends I’ve lost?

Killing machine
I guess I’ll always be a killing machine
I don’t want to be a killing machine

Censor The Wind

Written By: Fred Gillen Jr.

Censor the wind
it is carrying dangerous messages
pave the land we walk on
there are germs where we stand
I will lay down and press my ear down to the ground
pick up the signal that's been lost
Broadcast some white noise
keep all frequencies out of range
keep up this constant chaos
maybe we'll all be deceived
I will lay down and press my ear down to the ground
pick up the signal that's been lost
Help me lift this hammer
so that we can smash this T.V. screen
someone lend me a lighter
so we can burn this magazine
Tie up my hands
there are too many locks to pick
cut off my fingers
So I can't turn the winning trick
I will lay down and press my ear down to the ground
pick up the signal that's been lost
I can leave the light on but you'll have to climb the stairs
open up this package when you get there
Censor the wind
it is carrying dangerous messages
stick both your fingers in your ears

Discography

solo CD's:
Intentions As Big As The Sky (1997)
Tales Of The Misplaced (1998)
Nervous Laughter (2000)
Grace (2001)
We The People (2004 e.p.)
Gone Gone Gone (2006)
Cost Of Freedom (2006 e.p.)

compilations:
Standing Room (2004)
Steal This Comp (2005)

as a band member:
Tumbleweed Mile: Paint The Morning Gone (2003)
Hope Machine: March (2006)

Set List

I always do a spontaneous show, being in the moment with the audience. I do anywhere from one twenty-minute set to three one-hour sets. The material ranges from forty or fifty original songs from the past ten years to a few covers of songs by Woody Guthrie, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Pete Seeger, and others, plus some covers of other Hudson- Valley artists from my network.