“Fred Gillen Jr. Makes Yet Another Good Record! It’s hard to believe that Fred Gillen Jr. has been making albums for almost 20 years now. His latest, Silence of the Night is one of his best, and arguably his most tuneful, a mix of acerbically lyrical, Americana-flavored janglerock and grittier electric songs that stand up alongside Steve Earle’s louder stuff. In a style of music that’s all too often drenched in obviousness and cliche, Gillen doesn’t go there: he has a bloodhound’s nose for a catchy hook, he tells a good story and he’s never sung better than he does here. There isn’t a hint of fakeness, or affectation in his casual, intimate vocals, or for that matter in his songwriting either.”
"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."
"Like (Woody) Guthrie, Gillen has the uncanny ability to take you places, take you on a tour of a long-awaited escape, and all the bittersweetness that comes along with that weighted word called leaving. With his pensive guitar strumming and quietly powerful voice that envelops the listener from the very first line, it's easy to imagine Gillen's tunes playing on the soundtrack of the next Garden State-style filmic tale of a wandering soul taking a look back - and ahead." (2006 Indie-Music top 25 Editors' Pick)
"Gillen writes simple, poetic, evocative songs. Although the subject matter of his songs is emotionally intense, Gillen's music conveys a sense of hope, elation, and honesty. The lyrics range in subject matter from the human condition to social commentary, to love and heartbreak, to mortality, God, and Satan. Gillen's sense of ease and humor on stage creates the feeling of intimacy with his audiences, and his energy, soul, and spontaneity keep them riveted. Gillen connects with the audience, reaches into their hearts, and takes them on a provocative, emotional journey.
"unvarnished social commentary with folkified hoot-and-holler melodies"
“In his earliest days, Westchester County troubadour Fred Gillen Jr. was just one more singer-songwriter hawking his wares to anyone who might pause long enough to listen. But somewhere along the way he got politicized; he tamed the rock ’n’ roll wildness; and he became an old-school folksinger, bringing music to the people instead of hoping for the people to come to him. Live in the Heartland of America is exactly what its title says, a simple document, recorded—bravely—at a Muncie, Indiana, house concert. Gillen’s voice intertwines not only with Catherine Miles’s gorgeous natural instrument but also with the shared voices of the attendees, a couple dozen Hoosiers. The results are raw and ringing. ”
"Fred Gillen, Jr. writes without fear of the realm where life's aches dwell."
"From behind silver rectangular glasses and a scratchy old washboard Fred Gillen Jr. reminds us that music can be a direct and accessible experience."
"Honest and simple, Gillen's lyrics carry a much larger meaning and create a giant landscape for listeners' imaginations."
"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."