Lee Harvey Osmond (Tom Wilson) certainly gave a provocative handle to the musician/artist collective assembled by producer Michael Timmins to record a collection of Wilsons’ songs that would become A Quiet Evil.
This was the first of four albums featuring the performer. The Folk Sinner was next, followed by the breakthrough, 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.
It had been a bombshell.
In his 50s, Wilson learned that the parents who raised him were not his birth parents. It turned out he was adopted and his biological mother and father were Mohawk from the Kahnawake reserve, just outside of Montreal.
Grappling with this new vision 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.
“It is a story of finding your way home,” he says. “It’s a story of adoption, of growing up thinking you’re a big, sweaty, Irish guy, and finding out at the age of 53 that you’re a Mohawk.”
The discovery of his true heritage and the culture that it carries now informs all of his art.
On this fourth Lee Harvey Osmond album, Mohawk, Wilson continues down the path.
It’s been a “long way home,” Wilson says. “It is my way of showing honour and respect to a culture that I’m just shaking hands with. My truth was hidden from me — I was born a Mohawk baby, and finally I’m becoming a Mohawk man,” a line he sings on the LP’s first single, ‘Mohawk’.
Hear this powerful performer at the Cowichan Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 23 starting at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $48.50 each. Get them at https://ctcentre.bc.ca/TheatreManager/1/online?performance=2595 or call the Cowichan Ticket Centre at 250-748-7529.