Matt Turk & Friends
"...an artist to be reckoned with." All Music Guide
A seasoned recording artist, multi-instrumentalist, eternal idealist and peace loving realist, Matt Turk is a veteran performer who has engaged audiences around the world, both as a hard-rocking bandleader and an acoustic folk troubadour. He has shared the stage with Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Norah Jones, the Dave Matthews Band, the Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart and Phil Lesh, Hot Tuna, Richie Havens, Fiona Apple, The Doobie Brothers, Ellis Marsalis, NRBQ, and many more. He has performed and toured throughout the U.S.A, Israel, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean appearing at scores of festivals and venues, including Clearwater's Hudson River Revival, the Gathering of the Vibes, the Berkshire Mountain Music Festival, Atlanta's Music Midtown, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Beacon Theater, Tarrytown Music Hall, Folk Alliance International and at the invitation of Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, Gracie Mansion, the mayor's official residence.
Matt's latest record, American Preservation, placed at Number #20 on the folk/dj charts and is a collection of traditional standards and well-loved classics, ranging from Roy Acuff to Pink Floyd, and from Taj Mahal to T. Rex. Matt's version of "America the Beautiful" has been called "arguably the definitive acoustic version" by Music News Nashville. American Preservation was produced by David Dobkin, also a film director most well known for "Wedding Crashers".
Comfortable as a charismatic collaborator, Matt has showcased his creativity with fellow Hudson Valley singer-songwriter Fred Gillen, Jr. Performing as Gillen & Turk, the duo gained national recognition when they were featured in an AP article on the New York 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 the year touring nationally. In the summer of 2008, G&T were featured on the television show "NYC Soundtracks", on the MSG network, and their track "Fall Down" was featured track on a CMJ Sampler.
In February of 2008, Turk released the music video "The Fog of War," directed by W.L. Jackson. 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 CBS television show "Love Monkey". He has also recorded music for the History Channel and other television, cable and internet stations. In 2011, Matt scored the full-length documentary entitled "The Lion of Judah," chronicling Leo Zisman's tale of Holocaust survival, about which the New York Times says "the movie's act of affirmation addresses an unimpeachable, moving subject and is undertaken with decency."
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 late 1980's and early 90's. 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 acoustic trio before disbanding in 1993 with Matt, Marshall Madow on guitar, percussion and vocals, and drummer, Carey Harmon, now of Railroad Earth. The Hour released three albums -- Hold Back the Reins (1989), Fricker-Nicker Sessions (1991) and Songs of Sweden (1992). They were house band for three summers at Arrowhead Ranch, Ken and Michele Hoff's "Fillmore of the Catskills", backed by legendary rock impresario Bill Graham, 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 and adults in and around New York City. Turk was greatly inspired by Seeger to write songs of social justice, and by his year and a half 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 music styles. He'd also branched off into researching Jewish folk music and in partnership with Kevin Hupp, he formed Mandolin Caravan, and their album, Desert Soul, was released in 2003.
For several years, Turk has 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 where he now coordinates the Jam tent. Matt Turk serves as resident musician at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in New York City and is an Arts Westchester roster artist.
Always supportive of his fellow regional and local artists, Matt served two terms (June 2010-June 2012) as president of the board of Tribes Hill, the Hudson Valley kindred folk music organization.
Matt lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY.