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Fred Gillen Jr | What She Said

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Pete Seeger Steve Earle Woody Guthrie

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Folk: Political Folk Rock: Album Rock Moods: Type: Political
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What She Said

by Fred Gillen Jr

Blurring the perceived lines between political and personal
Genre: Folk: Political Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Prayer for America
3:12 $0.99
2. Return of the Buffalo
3:35 $0.99
3. Future Americans
3:57 $0.99
4. Some Call It Karma, Some Call It Grace
3:12 $0.99
5. She Loved
3:44 $0.99
6. Price of Progress
3:48 $0.99
7. Julia
4:30 $0.99
8. Divided We Die
4:07 $0.99
9. Baltimore Burns
4:06 $0.99
10. Alive
3:55 $0.99
11. Fine Line Between Greatness and Desperation
3:19 $0.99
12. Where Are You Tonight Fallen Angel?
3:19 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Fred Gillen Jr is a singer/ songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist from New York's artistically rich Hudson Valley. In his songwriting and in performance he has never been afraid to take on controversial or politically-charged topics, and he seamlessly incorporates folk, punk, rock, spoken word, country, and Americana styles into his music. 2017 brings the release of his 10th full-length, independent album, "What She Said." It comes out on a milestone date, the 20th anniversary of his 1997 debut "Intentions As Big As the Sky." The twelve songs on the album poetically express his views about the world, while also showcasing his unique acoustic and electric guitar style and heart-felt singing.

What She Said was chosen by John Platt, WFUV 90.7 FM NYC top ten songs for 2017
What She Said Album #183 for 2017 Folk DJ Chart

I’ve oft contended that punk is folk music, played acoustically. They’re both protest-focused, lo-fi and stripped down. Look how many punk musicians have released singer-songwriter collections as they aged. Gillen falls into this category, as well. Playing in the homeland of punk during the 1980s, at the likes of CBGB and Irving Plaza in bands like Rain Deputies, he too has come around to the acoustic, though he has lost none of his punch in this, his 10th album (though the first I’ve heard). This release is strongly pro-American, but it’s amazing how strongly opposite in attitude of, say, the hard rock-based group Kinlin. Rather than fight for your your America to keep it strong, it’s more thoughtful, opening with the powerful “Prayer for America” (“I may not believe in God / But I say a little prayer for America”). Gillen doesn’t look at refugees as a danger, rather he takes their side to show how important they are for the continuation of the country (“Future American”). He also looks at people who are persecuted with the likes of “Julia” and in “Baltimore Burns,” he presents a list of evils in modern culture, such as the death of Trevor Martin, yet points a finger at both sides of governmental Aisle. The latter is a powerful piece. There is a mix of positiveness and negativity throughout, but in both cases there is a measure of hope. Gillen’s voice is well-suited for this style, and it’s worth a listen if you want music with a conscious.
—Robert Barry Francos, Ffanzeen, January 2018

Singer/songwriter Fred Gillen Jr. rates highly as one of those musicians you can always depend on to produce music that's intelligent and provocative in equal measure in its admirably candid and direct addressing of the many different facets of the human condition and the key troubling issues of contemporary American existence. Whether he's confronting the harsh reality of Donald Trump's anti-immigrant stance in the touching "Prayer for America," or the sad uncertainties for a better tomorrow in "Future Americans," Gillen Jr. displays an honesty and basic fundemental human decency that's both affecting and inspiring. The gently folksy melodies and delicately harmonic arrangements along with the raspy easiness of Gillen Jr.'s voice add additional feeling of comforting warmth and compassion. A lovely album.
—Joe Wawrzyniak, Jersey Beat, July 2017

Then there’s Fred Gillen, Jr., singer/songwriter/producer/multi- instrumentalist New Yorker from the Hudson Valley who is positively fearless on his self-released What She Said. Not above stirring the pot with incendiary lyrics that might get some folks angry, this is an artist who wears his heart on his sleeve, as they say. Ten CDs in 20 years, he refuses to budge. A friend and neighbor of the late Pete Seeger, he’s just as politically charged. Recommended with reservation.
—Mike Greenblatt, Rant 'N Roll, Aquarian Magazine July 2017

Fred Gillen Jr. opens his masterfully produced album, What She Said, with “Prayer for America” giving time and space to refugees, philosophy and the iconic Statue of Liberty only partially visible, as if sinking in the sand in Charlton Heston’s original Planet of the Apes. That philosophy, seeded throughout the variety of ideas, include possibly not believing in God but finding the need to pray. See how he brings Palestine to Baltimore on track nine, discussed a few lines down. Gillen’s grasp of a hook, eloquent essaying and his veteran vocals make for an all-around strong performance, hitting all cylinders. Remember Paul Kantner’s 1987 video and song for the KBC band, “America?” Thematically we are still in the same place, if not more critical with the plethora of skewed headlines, and like a good outing for Law and Order: SVU, the songwriter/singer pulls pertinent ones together for his musical OpEd. “Return of the Buffalo,” also coming in at three minutes plus, is a standout. Great song, great hook, and reminiscent of Elton John’s second American album, Tumbleweed Connection, where lyricist Bernie Taupin utilized Elton’s voice and music to record his purported interest in the wild old west while working on conquering America as Roxy Music tried with “Prairie Rose,” and David Bowie succeeded with when he danced with the “Young Americans.” Gillen’s voice gives this important melody what it deserves creating a moment that is both memorable and unique. This is an American singing about America, not a Brit experimenting with our country’s ideas (not that we mind that…it’s just that we’re the ones experiencing this world.) It glides in and out quickly like a pure pop song should, with staying power and also reminding those so inclined of the Star Trek episode, “The Man Trap,” the first episode to ever air.
Over the dozen tracks – which I’ve played in my car repeatedly – the vision is clear – a political statement on life in 2016/2017 with. My computer skipped up to “Baltimore Burns,” track 9, and it actually works quite well after “Return of the Buffalo” in retrospect. It is one of only three of the dozen compositions which are in the four-minute mark, the other nine three minutes plus, Gillen Jr. smartly giving his commentary within a pop structure that makes for a more dramatic impact. “She Loved” is folk/acoustic with country leanings, going back to where country radio was in the 1960s and 70s, including a line about her like for John Denver and Johnny Cash. “Julia,” co-written – as is track 3, “Future Americans,” with the equally talented Matt Turk (the pair also perform live as “Gillen and Turk,” ) is a change of pace, undercurrents of CSNY’s “Ohio” mixed with Robin Gibb’s popular classic solo outing, “Juliet.” Elegantly packaged in a six-panel cardboard, eco-friendly case, Gillen has taken a turn here from previous recordings to read – almost like spoken word over smartly crafted instrumentation. That’s expressed carefully in “Some Call it Karma, Some Call it Grace,” always with a chorus to underline the thoughts being expressed. “Where Are You Tonight Fallen Angel” concludes this next chapter in Fred Gillen Jr’s impressive journey calling out for a damaged someone, remembering the better aspect of a special friend who’s lost their way. A great conclusion to a thought-provoking disc that is worth your time exploring more than a few spins.
Worth noting from the P.R.: What She Said (2017) Full-length, solo, studio album #10, released on the 20th anniversary of album #1. 8 new Fred Gillen Jr original songs, and 4 co-writes with Abbie Gardner, Steve Kirkman, and Matt Turk.
—Joe Viglione, http://www.tmrzoo.com April 2017

Prayer For America/ Where Are You Tonight? (single)
Prayer For America”, has such powerful lyrics about our ancestors who came to America and made it what it is today, with a hint of George Harrison “My Sweet Lord”, sprinkled ever so lightly throughout the song. In this highly charged political climate, this should be our new National Anthem with the way our world is today. Mark Schultz of Mark Skin Radio noting the political bent on his 6-7-2017 program when he played Gillen Jr.’s track.
“Where are You Tonight Fallen Angel” , has a short but sweet story about looking for that special someone in every place you possibly can. This composition also has a few different musical elements that I hear of other legendary artists like Neil Young writing style and Jacob Dylan’s Wallflowers musical flavorings in the mix. I think Fred Gillen Jr.’s vocals are superb – simply outstandingly – different from anyone’s vocals in today’s music, and both of these tracks should be in rotation on all sorts of radio stations.
—Ed Wrobleski, Radio Free Boston, June 2017



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