Beautiful Scars, the 2015 album from roots music maverick Lee Harvey Osmond, earned rave reviews and a 2016 Juno nomination. The Latent Recording release is now being given fresh life via a recent release in the US (Megaforce/RED, and LHO kicked off a month-long tour of the States in Ann Arbor last night.
As you likely know, Lee Harvey Osmond is the alter-ego of Tom Wilson, of Junkhouse and Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. When FYI caught up with him for an update last week, he was brimming with enthusiasm over earlier Stateside shows and the upcoming tour.
He is playing these gigs as a duo with his musically talented son Thompson Wilson (formerly of Hamilton roots-rockers Harlan Pepper). “We played some shows on the US East Coast last month,” Wilson/LHO reports. “We were out touring with Matt Andersen and I couldn’t afford a band.”
"Our first stop was the Music City Roots show in Nashville. Colin Linden [his BARK bandmate] and Wilco’s drummer joined Thompson and me. We performed five songs from the new album and it went over great. We then flew to Kansas City and the two of us went into a music store and I bought Thompson a shaker, a tambourine and a harmonica.”
“We play gathered around one microphone. There’s something about the blood on blood that translates into something otherworldly. Just think of The Everly Brothers and the Carter Family.”
He’s happy at the way the material from Beautiful Scars translates in this setting. “My manager flew up from Nashville to see the show in DC and he said ‘I didn’t know what to expect. You’re doing this lush record with just an acoustic guitar and a shaker, but I actually liked some of the duo versions even better!’”
The current tour takes in the midWest, Texas, New Mexico, and California, and includes an LA date at the famed Troubadour on May 17th.”They’re starting to talk about the record a bit in LA which is nice,” says Wilson. “I’ve spent time in LA but never played there.”
LHO heads north of the border for the Penticton BC Dream Music Festival (May 13-14), while other Canadian dates are set for the summer.
Wilson is effusive in his praise for tourmate Matt Andersen. “He may be the greatest person I’ve ever seen on the stage ever. Just a force of nature. The sweetest guy I’ve ever met too. Blackie had Matt join us on our Kings and Queens tour.”
We have good news to report for Blackie and the Rodeo Kings fans. Wilson reports that “we’re two thirds of the way through our next record, Kings and Kings. Guests on the record will include Vince Gill, Eric Church, Bruce Cockburn, Keb Mo, Buddy Miller, Jason Isbell, and Nick Lowe.”
The album is expected to be released prior to BARK playing the Shrewsbury Folk Festival in England in August. “Nick Lowe is playing that too, which is exciting,” says Wilson.
For a full Lee Harvey Osmond tour schedule, go to leeharveyosmond.com/tour/