Fred Gillen Jr. | Match Against A New Moon

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Rock: Album Rock Rock: American Underground Moods: Type: Lyrical
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Match Against A New Moon

by Fred Gillen Jr.

Part folk singer, part indie rocker, and part poet, he writes and sings songs about the human experience, honestly and fearlessly addressing pain, injustice, and isolation in his work, but also acknowledging and celebrating the hope in everyday existence.
Genre: Rock: Album Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Come and See Me
Fred Gillen Jr
3:47 $0.99
2. Devil's Last Word
Fred Gillen Jr
4:02 $0.99
3. Don't GIve Up the Ghost
Fred Gillen Jr
2:55 $0.99
4. Cecelia
Fred Gillen Jr
3:22 $0.99
5. Flicker
Fred Gillen Jr
4:09 $0.99
6. Land of Hope
Fred Gillen Jr
3:24 $0.99
7. Lay Me Down
Fred Gillen Jr
1:54 $0.99
8. Hallelujah
Fred Gillen Jr
5:01 $0.99
9. Light of Nothing
Fred Gillen Jr
3:58 $0.99
10. Primitive Angels
Fred Gillen Jr
3:29 $0.99
11. You May Be Down
Fred Gillen Jr
3:20 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Fred Gillen, Jr. writes without fear of the realm where life's aches dwell. This latest collection, Match Against A New Moon flows like an insightful river around rocks of mystery. Fred's lyrics and music are an invitation of understanding, to the weary mind--from the first lines of Come And See Me and the acknowledgment of brushes with temptation in Devil's Last Word. We are seekers with him, in songs like Don't Give Up The Ghost and Flicker. Cecelia is a rhythmically delicious song of identifiable adoration where Fred's vocals shine. Land of Hope is well placed in the heart of this collection and feels definitive of Fred's identity as a songwriter. Lay Me Down is a silent plea we all issue for a place to rest in love. With equal measure, Fred tends to the seeds of his own songs as carefully as his new bloom of Leonard Cohen's rose, Hallelujah. A musical crest in the sound of Light of Nothing, echoing the versatility of the likes of U2. Primitive Angels is a heavenly example of Fred's poetic gift and a moment to laugh at ourselves. An embrace of understanding is felt in the last track, You May Be Down. Like the phase of the lunar orb it references, Match Against A New Moon assures us that the day side we see sans light is temporary in the ongoing transit of our lives. " -Catherine Michaels, WHUD 100.7FM, Hudson Valley, NY.

"Done with tremendously moving thoughtfulness and sensitivity, this warm and affecting album offers a surprising amount of hope amid the usual array of regret and despair. Fred Gillen Jr.’s calm, reassuring voice and smart, insightful songwriting make for a highly potent double whammy. Better yet, the melodies are gentle and soothing, with softly strummed guitars, subdued drums, and some tasty harmonica keeping things perfectly tuneful throughout. But what really gives this album an extra substantial lift is the fragile, yet durable humanity which shines through the whole thing like a ray of sunshine poking through the clouds on an otherwise gray and rainy day. A lovely and inspirational album."
—Joe Wawrzyniak,

"The new disc is a mix of Americana that exhibits his own touchstones, including the rawness of Woody Guthrie (his studio is fittingly called “Woody’s House”), the energy of Neil Young, the drama of Elliott Smith and the character development of Bruce Springsteen.
'Devil’s Last Word' has that loping, bass-heavy Neil Young 'Heart Of Gold' groove in a song about a guy who has a 'close-to-death-wish”' and is gonna stay on the train tracks (literally): 'I’m stayin’ on these tracks until I hear the devil’s last word.' The harmonica ride also has a Youngian feel as it loops around like a belt on a skinny fellow.
“Don’t Give Up The Ghost” has a relaxed alt-country feel that surrounds text of someone who wanders the streets and back alleys overcome by 'memories and questions.' There is a stop-time section where the narrator realizes that 'home is in my heart' and not any wood-framed building. There’s a sense here of melancholy without self-pity.
The title for Gillen’s disc comes from the tune 'Flicker.' It revolves around avuncular advice for a woman who has hit on hard times: 'you only get a moment, a flicker in the night, a match against a new moon, a flashlight at the sky.' A gritty Nels Cline-ish solo accents the encouragement to start a new life.
A cover of Leonard Cohen’s classic 'Hallelujah' doesn’t have the drama of Cohen’s basso-profundo delivery, but is still powerful here in a slightly more subdued fashion. " —John Ziegler, Duluth News Tribune, 12/9/10

"Arguably his best album. As the title suggests, this is something of a calm after the storm for Fred Gillen Jr. Most musicians waited out the Bush regime uneasily; many, like Gillen, railed against the occupation, notably on his landmark 2008 collaboration with Matt Turk, Backs Against the Wall. Battered but optimistic, Gillen’s latest, Match Against a New Moon is his most memorably tuneful album. Ironically, the spot-on social commentary he’s best known for (this is a guy who appropriated Woody Guthrie’s “This guitar kills fascists” for his own six-string) is largely absent here. This cd goes more for a universal, philosophical outlook. At this point in his career, the songwriter Gillen most closely resembles is the Wallflowers‘ Jakob Dylan: he’s got a laserlike feel for a catchy janglerock hook, a killer chorus, a striking image and a clever double entendre.
The expansive, smartly assembled janglerock anthem that opens the album, Come and See Me, wouldn’t be out of place in the Marty Willson-Piper catalog. It sets the tone for the rest of the cd:
When all your relations are in prison or the grave
And you can’t remember what they took, only what you gave
And you are grateful that they’re gone ’cause they can’t hurt you anymore
Come and see me
With its big, anthemic chorus, The Devil’s Last Word takes the point of view of a guy whose favorite hangout spot is the train tracks: he likes living on the edge. The catchiest track here, a monster hit in an alternate universe where commercial radio plays good songs, is the Wallflowers-ish Don’t Give up the Ghost. It ponders a way out of the shadows of a difficult past, a quest for “some kind of answers or at least some questions finally worth asking.” An image-drenched carpe diem anthem for a troubled girl, Flicker gently points a way out: 'We only get a moment to flicker in the night, a match against a new moon.'
The metaphorically-charged Americana rock shuffle Land of Hope could a Matt Keating song. Lay Me Down has the raw feel of a lo-fi acoustic demo that probably wasn’t meant to be on the album, but it made the cut because of the magic it captures, exhausted yet immutably optimistic. Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah has been done to death by scores of inferior singers, but Gillen’s strikingly understated, conversational version is nothing short of souful. He follows it with a couple of dark rock narratives: the crescendoing junkie anthem Light of Nothing, which sounds like a sober mid-70s Lou Reed – if that makes any sense – and the vivid slum narrative Primitive Angels, which could be vintage, i.e. Darkness on the Edge of Town-era Springsteen. The album closes on an upbeat note with the hopeful You May Be Down. Gillen, who plays most of the instruments here, doesn’t waste a note, whether on guitars, bass, harmonica or even drums; Paul Silverman’s organ and Eric Puente’s drums contribute with similar terseness and intelligence, along with vocals from Catherine Miles and Laurie MacAllister, and Abbie Gardner contributing lapsteel and harmonies on Hallelujah. Gillen still plays frequent NYC area shows; watch this space." —Lucid Culture, June 2010



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