By Ken Clarke
LeE HARVeY OsMOND isn’t a Donny and Marie brother gone bad, but rather a musical collective headed by guitarist and vocalist Tom Wilson. The group contains members of such Canadian bands as Junkhouse, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, Skydiggers, Cowboy Junkies and a variety of guest musicians.
Dubbing their music “acid folk,” debut release A Quiet Evil is a 10-song set of laid back roots grooves driven by plenty of gently chugging percussion. The arrangements leave ample room for guitar and pedal steel improvisation, along with a variety of background effects. Wilson’s mellow vocals handily blend into the mix, at times as quiet as a whisper or performed in spoken word. Album opener, “The Love Of One,” sets the tranquil pace for what’s to come, followed by “Cuckoo’s Nest,” with its mild congas and jazzy horns.
The album’s centrepiece, “I’m Going To Stay That Way,” features Wilson in a duet with Margo Timmins of The Cowboy Junkies. As smoothly melodic as Timmins voice is, the track seems oddly out of sync with the rest of the disc. With the pedal steel’s and Hammond organ’s countrified weeping, this number should have been saved for a different project. Closing the album is a spirited cover of the Velvet Underground’s “I Can’t Stand It,” which serves as a wake up call to anyone who may have fallen into a trance by this point.
A Quiet Evil may not be mind-expanding, but it just might be what the doctor ordered for a rainy day.