Rolling Hills Episode #44

Tough Old Bird & Todd Burge
Tough Old Bird & Todd Burge

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Rolling Hills Radio

Looking back, the 2014-2015 season has been a remarkable journey for us. It was highlighted by two men who are among the most important and high-profile figures in Americana music today. John McEuen not only brought sounds of American music like the mandolin and banjo into mainstream consciousness, but he was instrumental in carrying roots music across a crucial threshold in the early 1970’s. And we were not the first to call Jim Lauderdale “The King of Americana.” While they certainly headlined the season, it was all the many hard-working musicians that generously shared their time and talent with us that really represented what we do.
There’s more to go this season, though. Our May 28 show is a fitting finale featuring West Virginia’s superb songwriter, Todd Burge with young up-and-comers, Tough Old Bird. Each of these acts is a unique example of why this genre is thriving today.
Also, a reminder that our host station, the inimitable WRFA, is having its annual Great American Picnic on Sunday, May 31. This has become the don’t-miss event of the late spring/early summer season. The theme this year is the music of the Motor City. We are talking about Motown, Bob Seegar, the Stooges, the MC5, and lots more. Appearing that day are some of the best bands in the area. Preach Freedom and Connect. Jeff Erickson, Gary Peters, and Jay Peterson. The Audience with Jonny Johnson.The Bogarts. Djava. The Distractions. Dirt Track Racing. Hosted by Dennis Drew and me. At the Southern Tier Brewery in Lakewood, NY. Admission is free and all proceeds go to WRFA, our community radio station. Rolling Hills Radio is fortunate to be associated with Dennis and this great station. We are only one of the many things they do for the area. WRFA deserves our support. And, they know how to throw a party!
An eleven time repeat guest on NPR’s “Mountain Stage,” Todd Burge has been called the “dean of WV songwriters, the best we have”, by its host, Larry Groce. Employing wry humor, dexterous guitar work and drawing on a rich variety of life experiences, Burge has emerged as one of West Virginia’s most prolific singer/songwriters. Burge, has played everything from alternative rock to contemporary folk, performing concerts at festivals and in venues as diverse as CBGB’s, the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Kennedy Center, and, of course, hundreds of clubs from the obscure to the world famous Caffe Lena, Club Passim, and Music City Roots. Todd Burge resides in Parkersburg WV with his wife Lisa and their children, Will and Sophia.
Formed in the small community of Fillmore, New York by songwriting brothers Matt and Nathan Corrigan, Tough Old Bird plays a potent blend of authentic folk and blues that reflects the rural landscape it comes from, a place where the last train just pulled out and the carnival is always on its way to the next town. From its formation in early 2013, Tough Old Bird rose quickly from open mic nights and campfire circles to opening and headlining gigs at bars, coffee shops and music clubs across the state. Tough Old Bird’s debut album, entitled Never to Return, was released on April 29th 2014, and there may be more than a touch of irony to the record’s title – Tough Old Bird is here to stay. The duo is currently booking shows and festivals for the summer of 2014 and beyond. The core of Tough Old Bird’s sound comes from Matt Corrigan’s intricate acoustic guitar work, and from the voice and nimble harmonica playing of Nathan Corrigan, who holds a degree in literature and brings a poetic sensibility to the duo’s lyrics. Accents of accordion and waves of electric guitar give Tough Old Bird a sound that is at once modern and ancient.