When it comes to country music, there’s certain expectations a male artist must adhere to. They need to look country, they have to sing songs about their wives leaving them, and by all means, they have must have at least a half album’s worth of honkey-tonk music. With so much emphasis on a stereotypical style it doesn’t leave much in the way of authenticity, something that’s the most important aspect of the genre. With that said, just like any other genre, if you want honest to goodness authenticity, you have to turn your radio off and dig a little deeper within the world of artists independent from the confines of trend pushing major labels.
A friend of mine introduced me to the music of Tristan Omand by the way of his latest self-released album The Lesser-Known Tristan Omand. The first thing that drew me in was the honesty in Omand’s voice. Being a New Hampshire native, there’s no faux-southern draw manipulating a neon sign saying “Hey I’m a country singer” like most artists of the genre, instead it’s a frail yet confident stroyteller’s voice that takes the listener on a journey through a folk song story book with songs of making it on your own against all odds and the desire to gain success on your own terms.
One of the most striking things about the album is the instrumentation. I was about four songs in before I realized there was no drums, piano or over-driven guitar backing Omand. Instead there’s light hints of pedal steel, bass and harmonica sprinkled throughout, showcasing his beautiful guitar work. Omand’s acoustic style is the perfect vessel for each story told throughout the album. In many ways it doesn’t really feel like an album in a traditional sense, but rather an intimate live setting with a singer songwriter going through some of his favorite songs he has written while out on the road.
Speaking of being on the road, Omand is usually on tour throughout the east coast. I’ve never had the opportunity to catch him live being that I live in Chicago, but just by listening to these eight simple songs, I know as sure as I’m sitting here his live show is something truly remarkable.
The Lesser-Known Tristan Omand is available in the usual digital formats as well as being on the streaming services, but I feel the best way to listen to something this intimate and emotional is on vinyl. The album is available on Omand’s bandcamp page in very limited quantities (which includes shipping in the United States! ) If you are looking for a country folk artist who isn’t a second rate Blake Shelton, clamoring for mainstream success, Tristan Omand is the artist you’ve been looking for. Do yourself a favor and at least give The Lesser-Known Tristan Omand album a listen. You will not be disappointed.
For more information on Omand, including bio, merch and tour, visit his Official Website
To listen and purchase The Lesser-Known Tristan Omand album on various formats, visit his Bandcamp page.