Tough Old Bird’s description on Facebook reads, “good folk for good folks.” It is a simple yet effective statement. Their music has a relatable weight to it that reflects back the small town heart of their native Fillmore, NY. Their latest release, Where the Great Beasts Are Buried, is an EP containing 6 tracks recorded at their home throughout late 2016.
The duo of Matthew and Nathan Corrigan draw influences from traditional folk music that maps out dusty and sepia-tinted landscapes with its songwriting, as well as the modern context of rust belt melancholia. They achieve a full and rich sound despite this being a home recording, while still maintaining a stripped-down and raw nature at the core of their songs. Matthew’s instrumental work is delicate yet commanding, while Nathan’s vocals have a road-weary heft to them, especially when paired with the rustic poeticism of his lyrics
Americana, blues, indie and roots all blend together, adding up to a sparse and almost haunting quality. They posses the inherent sadness of Iron & Wine’s songwriting, the intricate guitar licks of Milk Carton Kids, and the persistent dancing banjo of the Avett Brothers.
Opening track “No One Knows Your Mind” is minor-key alt. country reminiscent of The Handsome Family. “River Iron Ohio” has a timeless feel to it, like a traditional railroad-folk lament. “That Welcome Day” is a quick stomp-clap blues noir tune that provides a change of pace placed between the other tuneful ballads. Some of the prettiest moments occur on the penultimate track “Where I’ll Be Found,” an idyllic rambler complete with light percussion, complimentary harmonica flourishes, and brief but integral vocal harmonies.
The homespun folk of Tough Old Bird has a dark quality to it, while ultimately serving as a testament to the Corrigan brothers’ synthesis of their surroundings. With these songs, they’ve captured the essence of familiar backroads meandering. Where the Great Beasts Are Buried is available now via bandcamp.