Photos by Ebet Roberts
Tom Wilson and his son Thompson Wilson are touring in support of Wilson’s latest Lee Harvey Osmond release, Beautiful Scars. Although the song, “Beautiful Scars” isn’t actually on the album (you can hear it on YouTube), there’s a lot more wonderful material than the spare half hour the guys got at Rockwood, but at least New Yorkers got a taste, and from the crowd’s reaction, it tasted good.
The two big men have a presence and terrific songs, and they bring the yin and yang that complete a circle and keep it interesting at the same time. Thompson Wilson, half his father’s age, has the open, uncomplicated look that inspires instant trust, while ’most any man would greet the elder Tom at the door with, “What do you want?” and throw a protective glance toward his daughter. Tom Wilson looks, well, like a Lee Harvey Osmond. Vocally, the two occupy different ends of the scale: Thompson’s clear, liquid, pitch-perfect tenor perfectly balances Tom’s rich, gravelly baritone: the nightingale and the lion, each calling for a mate.
With Tom on guitar and Thompson providing percussion with a cylindrical hand shaker and a foot tambourine, the two men share one mic, often with their arms around each other’s’ shoulders, and communicate even more telepathically than most musicians. As Tom Wilson has said about working with his flesh and blood, “You have to make your own band.”
Unfortunately, we only got a half-dozen songs during their short set, but they included “Dreams Come and Go,” a lovely duet from Beautiful Scars and “When I leave This House,” a stoned honky-tonk tune co-written by Wilson and popularized by Billy Ray Cyrus and Adam Gregory. The two concluded with another Scars tune, “Oh the Gods,” which, like the set, ends without warning, leaving us wanting more.
Lee Harvey Osmond is on tour until the end of May, and you could get lucky: they might play a full set at a club near you.