Gambling Days by Tough Old Bird

Tough Old Bird are back with their brand new album ‘Gambling Days’. As a big fan of their music I felt it was my duty to help spread the word of their latest offering. If you do not know much about this band then let me give you a quick introduction. Tough Old Bird is a collaboration of the brothers Matthew and Nathan Corrigan who want to share their authentic folk/blues sound with the world. Since 2013 they have been busy working on their music which resulted in the release of their album ‘Never to Return’ and a live EP ‘The Barn Sessions’ both which were released in 2014. If you want to find out more about these releases then head over to their Bandcamp page (click HERE) or alternatively check out my review ‘Introducing Tough Old Bird’.

Before I share my review with you all, I want to give you an insight into the new album as I got to chat to Nathan from the band. We talked about the album and a little more, this is what he had to say:

What were your goals when working on ‘Gambling Days’ album?

The only real goal was to make a good album. We’ve been writing songs ever since our first one came out two years ago, so by the time we came around to recording Gambling Days we really had a lot to choose from, and we tried to pick a bunch that were diverse but still felt like they fit together into a unified thing. This was the first time we’ve been able to work in a real studio and take our time, so we really wanted to make sure we got all these songs right.

During the process of putting this album together, what were the highs and lows?

I can’t honestly think of a low point. We had a great time recording and got to work with some great folks who are all good friends of ours. That’s not to say the whole thing was easy – there were definitely some songs that were harder to nail down and certain parts that we had to really labor over, but that’s the way it goes, you know? Nobody stormed out or threatened to leave the band or anything. It was a good time.

How did it feel when you heard the final version of the album?

Great. We were involved in the mixing, and there were little things in certain songs that we kept tweaking right up until the last minute. I remember getting to listen to each of the songs as they were finished, which was always really exciting, and then deciding on the sequence and listening to them all in order for the first time. Big moment.

What is your favourite song from this release and why?

“Firefly” is a personal favorite of mine. That was a song that started out as a really simple acoustic kind of thing, but we spent a lot of time on the arrangement. It has those intertwining slide guitar parts that took a long time to lock in, plus the bass, drums and accordion. I think in a way we had all our hopes for the whole album riding on that song, and when we knew we’d gotten it right, it was like, “alright, this whole thing is going to be OK.”

Now the album is released, what are your future goals for your music?

Get out and play these songs for as many people as we can. We’re going to be touring all over the eastern half of the U.S. this spring and summer, hopefully going back to some of our favorite places we played last year and adding lots of new ones. It’s ging to be a busy year.

The reason that I am such a huge fan of the music by Tough Old Bird is that they always stay true to their sound which is soaked in that traditional folk sound of the 60’s. This sound would have fitted in perfectly where the greats like Bob Dylan, Woody Gutherie and Dave Van Ronk used to perform around Greenwich Village in New York during this era. This was also a time when music was all about the lyrics, and for me, this is the element of their songwriting which I appreciate the most. Their lyrics are always great to hear as they have an impressive depth which provoke imagery that helps you to go on the journey that their music takes you on. These are delivered with vocals that have an irresistible charm that add something special to each song. A fantastic example of this is a personal highlight from the album called ‘Build it Again’. This showcases this lyrical talent which has a delicate tone thanks to the vocals and guitar style.

So you now know that this band have a talent with their way with words which are delivered by top vocals but what about the music? The way they use their six strings friends (electric, acoustic and resonator guitars) to share music that has soul never fails to impress me. This shows that you do not need fancy licks or tricks with your guitar skills to deliver something special. Sometimes it is about keeping it simple as it can add so much. Some of the finger picking techniques on the album distracts me from the lyrics as it is so mesmerising. Really wished I could play a guitar like this. I can’t talk about the music and not mention their use of the harmonica as I love this musical instrument. It is used to perfection to help add a blues feel to some of their songs. Another highlight of mine called ‘Buried in my Grave’ gives us that cool bluesy feel. The way that the harmonica and guitar intertwine together to give us this amazing sound is awesome! Love me some blues!

Overall, this album continues to confirm that Tough Old Bird are a duo with an impressive song writing talent that is wrapped in an authentic and captivating sound. If I had to recommend one to to confirm this then I would choose ‘Firefly’. As soon as this song began I knew I was listening to something special and my instinct was right. This has everything that makes this band stand out for me. Lyrics and music which have so much soul that is mirrored by an impressive vocal talent. It doesn’t get much better than this for me. My advice is that you head over to their Bandcamp page (click HERE) to listen to the album in full too understand why I rate Tough Old Bird so highly. Their previous album was a highlight for 2015 and I expect ‘Gambling Days’ to be a highlight for this year.

It’s great to see that the guys from Tough Old Bird will be sharing their music with their upcoming tour. If you are lucky enough to see them live then let me know how good they sounded. If you want to find out about their tour dates or want to learn more about the band then head over to their website at You can also follow them on their social media sites at Facebook and Twitter.

As a huge fan of the music that Tough Old Bird creates I will be doing what I can to help spread the word. For independent/unsigned music this is important as it helps the music grow. If there is music that is important to you then you should help tell the world all about it. Hopefully this will now include the music by Tough Old Bird.