Published Feb 11, 2013Lee Harvey Osmond is the brainchild of Tom Wilson (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and Junkhouse). A rare larger-than-life character in Canadian music, he effectively reins in his booming voice on this follow-up to 2009's A Quiet Evil. Don't term this a solo record though, for Wilson has corralled a talent-heavy posse of fellow sinners. The album is produced with clarity by Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) and the songs co-written with the likes of Josh Finalyson (Skydiggers), Paul Reddick and Colins James, Cripps and Linden. Musical accompanists include Ray Farrugia (Junkhouse), Brent Titcomb and Reddick. Horns, vibes and pedal steel add atmosphere, while Oh Susanna, Andy Maize, Margo Timmins and Hawksley Workman help mix things up vocally. Wilson terms the LHO sound "acid folk," and it makes for prime uneasy listening. (Latent, www.latentrecordings.com)
I gather you stress Lee Harvey Osmond are a band, not a Tom Wilson solo project?
Wilson: It is 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 is 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 you wouldn't see together — the better. Blackie and the Rodeo Kings are 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.
How would you define the LHO mandate?
It is about playing music without showing off. Nobody is trying to lead or push their way to the front of the pack when you are playing these songs. There are a lot of funkiness and groove in this, but it's not like we're trying to see who has the biggest dick. That is what it comes down to. To me, it's a new generation of folk music, 'cause we are really paying attention to groove, yet these are still songs you can sing around a kitchen table.