It’s the finger roll that Tristan Omand does on his guitar that gets me every time. Mellowing, atmospheric, a familiar progression laced in a lullaby that keeps his characters always running from something. Usually loneliness.
And it’s that loneliness that captivates Omand throughout his recently released new CD, “The Lesser Known Tristan Omand.”
“Don’t fool yourself with what you don’t believe,” Omand, a Manchester resident, sings on the opening track, “Welcome to Lonely Lanes,” a tale set inside a desolate bowling alley where more beer is being spilt then pins being dropped.
Sad for sure, a “lonely life is just burning, burning.” But the two friends in the song, both mashed up on cheap beer, know that this moment is the best it’s ever going to get for them. So why fight it? Why try fooling anyone?
Omand lets it burn into a toothy snarl, that’s what the songwriter does next on “Devil Don’t Want Me Blues.” Tempting Satan with a stolen blues riff and a head full of smoke, the bluesman almost begs to be caught and tortured for his greedy ways.
Searching like Walker Percy, the man is rejected by old hot mouth himself, considered baggage, too broken to torture, too pathetic to punish.
After all, it’s not Satanism, sings Omand. It’s “the plagiarism blues.”
Next up, “Next Time, East Side.” Busted, bored, love sick living on the East Side of Manchester, the man can’t get out of his own way, can’t even enjoy watching the bats fly in his backyard, a fire burn in the pit, the familiar walk to the corner store.
Nothing, just a shell a man “staring into darkened woods,” wishing that the deer were running tonight.
Darkness prevails on “Thirty Days of Darkness” where a deserted man sits around watching his dog swat flies, letting him sniff the bloody bandages on his feet. The wife is gone and the kids are hungry and he’s praying to God but nothing happens. So he prays again. And again. Until finally he just says to the Lord, either help me out or get out of my way.
“Old Straight Six” brings things up in a cool, shaggy way. The character is just fine being down to his last five bucks and a pocket watch. Those things come and go, like bread and wine. But what stays forever is his “old straight six, it’s three on the tree. It’s worn and tired and strong like me.”
There’s no suffering in this song. Just a knowing of what really matters. All of it.
Eight songs in total, Omand is deliberate in this projects theme. Life is no party, and even when it hurts the most, it still can get worse. And it usually does. But don’t fight it, don’t be afraid, embrace those dark woods and always keep scratching, keep clawing for something, for anything.
Them deer will come running. They always do.