By Kerry DooleEarlier this year, the loose collective of notable Canadian musicians known as Lee Harvey Osmond released their second album, The Folk Sinner, to wide acclaim, but LHO main man/focal point Tom Wilson is keen to spread the love around, asserting that it's the band collective that deserves the accolades, not just him.
In an Exclaim! interview, Wilson stresses that Lee Harvey Osmond has "a band identity. I'm just the delivery boy for the songs. I consider that I'm sitting on a huge cargo of greatness when I'm sitting in with that band. It's about putting together a room full of people that you completely trust and will follow into the firing line. The more we have a community like Lee Harvey Osmond, people that relate to each other that otherwise people wouldn't see together, the better.
"Blackie and the Rodeo Kings is another example. I'm lucky to be in two bands where you see them onstage and think 'what are these guys doing together?' It works because the focus is on being artists and not what the perception is."
Getting the full LHO gang into the studio is not an easy task, as Wilson explains. "We made this record over about 10 months. Making these records, it's not like a producer and the band. The producer [the Cowboy Junkies' Michael Timmins] is one of the guys in the band and he has another band. The bassist and cowriter [Josh Finlayson] has Skydiggers, so even the core of the band that sits in the garage on Clinton Street, we are all musically busy all the time. It is just about getting us in the same room together. I have to commend Michael Timmins for that. He's not just a great soundscape visionary, but is a guy who works really hard, in the same style I do."
Wilson also finds the group dynamic within Lee Harvey Osmond in the studio a stimulating one. "There is a whole understated element to making these songs work and in playing this music. I won't use the old Quincy Jones saying of leave your egos at the door, 'cause that would be wrong, but it is about playing music without showing off. So there is nobody trying to lead or push their way to the front of the pack when you're playing these songs. It is the groove that we follow."
The band will headline Toronto's Great Hall on March 22, and you can stream all of The Folk Sinner below. Check out Exclaim!'s entire Lee Harvey Osmond interview here.