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Fred Gillen Jr. and Matt Turk first began working together informally, having enjoyed each other's music at various events in the Hudson Valley. After some inspiring shows together they decided to team up as Gillen & Turk. Soon after that they received world-wide notice in an Associated Press article that featured the duo auditioning for the Metropolitan Transit Authority's Music Under New York in Manhattan. In May 2008 Gillen & Turk released their first duo CD Backs to the Wall and spent part of the year touring nationally, with the recording supporting the tour. The CD was well-received by critics and fans, and by early 2009 the first pressing was nearly sold out. The song "Fall Down" from the disc also appeared on CMJ's 10,000 copy 2008 Player Compilation CD. In the summer of 2008, Gillen & Turk were featured on the television show NYC Soundtracks, on the MSG network.