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Tough Old Bird’s Moving New Album ‘Garden Dream’ Contemplates Love, Loss and Rebirth

(EDITOR’S NOTES — Formed and led by songwriting brothers Matthew and Nathan Corrigan, Tough Old Bird today released its new album ‘Garden Dream,’ an emotive and lyrical 10-track tapestry of vivid and contemplative songs about growing up, and love and lost, told against a gorgeous backdrop of modern melodic folk music. The band will be playing an album-release show at 8 p.m. tonight at Asbury Hall at Babeville in Buffalo, with Bryan Dubay opening. Buy Tickets HERE. Matthew (vocals, guitars, banjo) and Nathan (vocals, guitar, harmonica) were kind enough recently to speak with 1120 Press about the new album. We’re going to get out of their way and let them take over from here. — Photo of Tough Old Bird by Sarah Bruno/1120 Press)

 MATTHEW CORRIGAN: We aimed to make a cohesive record, sonically and thematically. When you go into the studio, it’s very easy to be overwhelmed with options and throw everything at every song until they’re all chock-full. We made a conscious choice to really be particular with what we did. We would ask ourselves “does this make the song better?” and if the part didn’t then there was no home for it. I’ve been inspired by records where it seems like everything serves its perfect purpose. 


NATHAN CORRIGAN: And I think we also tried to avoid pushing this album in any particular direction. We had a group of songs that felt like they really belonged together, and we just wanted them to come across as direct and straightforward as possible. There was a real effort to avoid doing anything that would get in the way of the songs.


MC: “Garden Dream” itself refers to a loss of innocence or purity for me. It’s rooted in the archetypical garden, the biblical garden. I think there are parallels between the loss of love and the loss of childhood. There are references throughout the album to our childhood home, which was a very remote and idealistic place. Adult heartbreak is another, similar kind of loss of idealism. We tried to frame all this with hope for a return to those things. The garden is ultimately a place of birth, outward and inward.“…see the garden’s within you 

it’s not a savior you run to and hide, my love 

and carry it bleeding 

and carry it beating”

-My Love (Garden Dream)


NC: Quite a few of the lyrics on this album have something to do with growth, or

regrowth. Growing up, growing past a certain event or experience. The word “dream” can mean a couple of different things. It can refer to the past, which might be a hazy memory that’s part real and part self-mythology, or it can refer to a future that you want to bring into reality. These songs feel like they’re coming from a place where we’re reaching back for one and forward for the other at the same time, and at times maybe being a little lost between the two.


MC: We were really honored to have a ton of talented folks contribute. It was produced by Chris Ploss at Sunwood Studios in Trumansburg, NY. Chris played all over the record and elevated every track by miles. Philippe Bronchtein played amazing pedal steel on three tracks. Ricky Bechard played drums, and Joe Myers played bass on a few songs. 


NC: Of all the music we’ve made, I think the songs on Garden Dream are the closest we’ve come to sounding completely like ourselves. The musicians we played with did an amazing job and I’m really, really proud of this record and excited to put it out and let people hear it.



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