Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lee Harvey Osmond (Festival Review)

I have been listening to Lee Harvey Osmond for the past few weeks leading up to their appearances at the Calgary Folk Music Festival this weekend. I was impressed by a few songs on their debut album A Quiet Evil, but their live show made me a fan.

Lee Harvey Osmond is the name of the band, fronted by Tom Wilson, a dynamic musician and songwriter of folk, rock and roots music, who has played for several bands including Blackie & the Rodeo Kings and Junkhouse. The rest of the band includes 60s folk musician Brent Titcomb, members of Cowboy Junkies and more members of Wilson's other bands.

On Friday night, Lee Harvey Osmond made their weekend debut on the mainstage, opening the evening. The mainstage opener has the difficult job of drawing everyone back to their lawnchairs, and getting them to pay attention or dance, even, is frustrating. Tom Wilson took the stage with his band and began with the addictive beat of “The Love of One”. His rough baritone voice and the relaxed yet heavy roots beat mesmerized the crowd, turning all heads toward the stage. The crowd seemed shocked and amazed that the first band of the night could be that good.

Needless to say, Stage 6 was packed Saturday morning when Lee Harvey Osmond shared the stage with a few even lesser-known artists. By now, they were already a festival favourite, taking the biggest portion of the cheering crowd.

Carmen Townsend of Tom Fun Orchestra told us how excited she was to share the stage with Tom Wilson, as her first concert experience was sneaking into a Junkhouse concert in the Maritimes with a fake ID. She was delighted when later, Tom invited her up to sing with him when the band covered Lou Reed's “I Can't Stand It”, and her cheeks were as rosy as her hair by the end of the song.

It was then that I figured out that Tom Wilson was also the singer from Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, of whom I had heard one fantastic song, “Stoned”, on a movie soundtrack. I had a brief chat with Tom after the session to confirm that fact and he promised to play it tomorrow (Sunday) morning!

Six stages run simultaneously all morning and afternoon, dividing 60+ artists into group sessions and individual concerts, so it's tough to see all the artists you want to see, but I will undoubtedly be seeing Lee Harvey Osmond perform Sunday for the third and fourth time!

Lee Harvey Osmond - The Love of One
Download MP3 (zshare) (YSI) or Listen on MySpace

CD: Maple Music | Amazon
Digital: eMusic | iTunes

After the Calgary Folk Fest, Lee Harvey Osmond heads to BC and Ontario, including an appearance at Toronto's Festival of Beer.


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