Originally published in the Red Deer Advocate July 3 2009
Lee Harvey Osmond
A Quiet Evil
Turn Tom Wilson (Junkhouse, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings) loose, and odd things are bound to occur.
His latest collective, featuring Michael and Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies), Josh Finlayson and Andy Maize (The Skydiggers), and Brent Titcomb (Brent Titcomb), mines deep, virgin musical ground; livelier and less nuanced perhaps than Iron & Wine’s Around the Well, it is every bit as engaging as Sam Beam’s rarities smorg.
Wilson has deemed the music ‘acid-folk’, but outside that meaningless moniker, the music is fairly indefinable. It isn’t what I would immediately label as roots music, but is has all the elements- original music, ties to country, rock, and folk, and textured vocals that shy away from pop gloss. The album seems dark, yet is soothing and enlightening. A Quiet Evil is half a world away from Dog Years, Wilson’s previous project, but is a raucous neighbor to his project with Bob Lanois.
It is an outstanding collection of variant music, by which I mean there are all types of sounds within the ten tracks, but they tie together into a cohesive statement. The presence of Aaron Goldstein’s pedal steel brings in shades of country, but the overall sound has as much in common with X and Los Straitjackets as it does Fred Eaglesmith.
Wilson sings in his voice- the guy couldn’t do anything else- and the results are as satisfying as ever. This time out he adds a bit of Larry Jon Wilson-like, half-spoken singing in several places, and that breaks things up nicely.
Margo Timmins brings calm refinement to the proceedings, and her featured numbers, including (You Drove Me Crazy) Now I’m Going to Stay That Way, are among the album’s many highlights. Parkland, a stream of consciousness ramble that describes the actions of a kid, and may be tied to the Kennedys…heck, I’m not sure what he’s doing; still, it would do Tom Russell proud.
A glorious album, I’m sure Lee Harvey Osmond will draw well at the Calgary Folk Music Festival later this month.