Over the course of discovering my true identity, the intention of my writing, my music and my art is to reduce the gap between my indigenous culture and colonialists to make a more patient, loving community.” – Tom Wilson aka Lee Harvey Osmond
When Tom Wilson created the moniker Lee Harvey Osmond he wasn’t entirely certain if this was a new stage name or merely a provocative handle for the musician/artist collective assembled by producer Michael Timmins to record a collection of Tom Wilson songs that would become “A Quiet Evil”. This was the first of four albums bearing the featured artist Lee Harvey Osmond. “The Folk Sinner” was next, followed by the break through “Beautiful Scars”. It was during this time between releasing “Beautiful Scars” and recording “Kings and Kings” with Blackie and The Rodeo Kings that Wilson went public with his recent discovery. He was not exactly the person he thought he was.
In mid-life, in his 50s, Wilson learned that the parents who raised him were not his birth parents; that, in fact, he was adopted and that his biological mother and father were Mohawk from the Kahnawake reserve, just outside of Montreal. Grappling with this newfound sense of himself plunged Wilson into a quest for his heritage and his truth, and led to the writing of his bestselling autobiography, Beautiful Scars (Doubleday Canada). The book is a colourful and truthful tale of this quest, and his life’s tribulations and successes along the path. He is still driven to ask questions, to seek meaning from the elusive mysteries hidden beneath the surface of everyday existence, to come to terms with his history, his identity; to aspire to higher truths and to understand his place in the world.
“If I have 20 more years on this planet, I hope to keep becoming a Mohawk, because I can’t become a Mohawk the way my brothers and sisters and ancestors did.”
On this fourth Lee Harvey Osmond album, “Mohawk”, under the steady hand of Producer Michael Timmins, the musician collective revives the origins of Acid Folk with appearances from old friends Ray Farrugia (percussion), Aaron Goldstein (steel guitar), Jesse Obrien (keyboards) and introduces Anna Reddick (bass). The expanded use of Darcy Hepner’s brass and baritone sax and brilliant harmonica flashes from blues veteran Paul Reddick and Wilson’s son Thompson sound as guideposts behind the moody grooves of Wilson’s literary recital. Suzanna Ungerleider (Oh Suzanna) provides the perfect backing vocal ingredient for Wilson’s baritone.