Lee Harvey Osmond, comprised of members Tom Wilson (Junkhouse, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings), Michael Timmins (The Cowboy Junkies), and Josh Finlayson (Skydiggers) have come together to create a sound like no other. They will be playing the Sportsmen’s Tavern (326 Amherst Street), on Thursday, February 11th, at 8 PM.
Wilson, who grew up about 45 minutes away in Hamilton, Ontario, says he fondly remembers previously coming to play in Buffalo venues, such as the Continental, with his other bands. As one of the widely known musicians in the Canadian rock music scene, he also claims that growing up in Canada deeply affected the way he’s made music.
“There’s something about the challenge of the land that’s inspiring. Those land challenges are something we’re really aware of because we’re a giant mass with nobody living here,” says Wilson. “The need to communicate, and also the way that nature affects our writing, has trickled down into generations with that inspiration and torch continuing to be carried by a lot of Canadian songwriters even to this day.”
Wilson says as an artist he’s like a sponge, always trying to absorb as much music as possible. However a few musicians who have significantly impacted his perspective on music are some of the greats like Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, and Joe Strummer from the Clash.
With the making of Lee Harvey Osmond’s debut album “A Quiet Evil,” Wilson has decided to delve into the authentic genre of acid folk. This type of sound is a mixture of folk and rock, which was developed in an old garage on Clifton Avenue in Toronto, although inspiration for the sounds on the record stems from several genres.
“Acid folk allows the sensibility and the traditions of folk music to be used with more space, groove, and more bottom end,” says Wilson. “I think there’s something that America brings to the world that it’s not aware of. Everything from the tuba in New Orleans jazz bands, to bass-playing Motown Records, to the sounds in hip hop where the bottom end kind of rules the airwaves. It’s something I’ve incorporated with Lee Harvey Osmond on this record.”
When the artists in LHO first started collaborating with each other, it was more of an artist collective rather than a band. There were terms Wilson kept throwing around in the studio to help the group hone in on specifics in order to keep their focus, such as “official music”. Wilson was aiming to reach a new level of something beyond the generic tones and typical sound of music today.
“Official music is something that was very important to me,” says Wilson. “It’s music that isn’t trying to be something else. It’s not trying to be John Hiatt, Lucinda Williams, Johnny Cash, or Cypress Hill. Official music is music that hopefully stands alone and defines itself.”
Within the album “A Quiet Evil,” the band’s idea to musically capture the assassination of JFK paves the way for songs containing a heavy and broody feel to them, encompassing unforgettably dark, yet astonishing melodies. Although they are tackling such a tragic and dissonant event from history, it’s a compelling and smart choice for this band that is capable of rising to the challenge.
“I think it’s important to pay attention to landmarks in our culture and in our lifetimes that start to disappear,” Wilson explains. “I’m old enough to remember the day JFK was killed, and I think that it’s important to have an artist’s perspective on cultural and historical events because we get bombarded by the CNN and Fox News versions every day. You got to remember that the first man on the moon did not come from NASA; he was an artist. A lot of firsts were created by the creativity and imagination of artists.”
Be prepared to witness some of LHO and Wilson’s music sensibilities at Sportsmen’s on the 11th. Call 716.874.7734 for details on purchasing tickets for $10 (they boast “No Ticketbastard Here”). See their website for more information, including music videos and tour dates.