Tristan Omand- review

Tristan Omand is a singer songwriter from Manchester New Hampshire. You can catch him around New England and all over the country playing live shows. I was lucky enough to catch Omand at True Brew Barista in Concord, NH a few months ago. True Brew is on its way to becoming one of the best venues to see live music. I showed up for the performance on a whim, never having heard of Omand previously. At this show, I picked up a copy of Omand’s new CD ‘Tolled Stories.’ This CD was written, recorded and produced by Tristan Omand in his home studio using a Tascam 246 cassette recorder, a couple of Shure mics, and a couple Audio Technica mics. I am always a little skeptical about how good a CD will be when it is all done by one person. However, this album is a mastery of singing, playing, recording, production and writing.

The majority of this album is Tristan singing while playing a lone guitar. This base sound is supplemented by electric guitar solos, harmonica and various additional sounds. There are two things that jump right out from the start of the album; First, Tristan has a great voice.. 2nd, he sure can play that F***ing guitar. The guitar playing is a mix of flat pick and fast attack strummed guitar chords. His playing style is a cross between Bob Dylan and Hamell On Trial. His vocals have a strong mid range with a slight southern drawl. His passion, sorrow and realism come out his mouth and through the speakers and hit you square in the face. The lyrics are a focal point for a lot of songs. Masterly crafted lines that are sometimes deep and introspective, yet, other times they are serious with a tongue firmly pressed in cheek.

“And I am alone, lone, lone but I ain’t lonesome… And I’m broke, broke, broke, but I ain’t broken” – Tristan Omand

Let’s talk a bit about the recording process here. The clarity and presence of the sound is stellar and shows the work of a much more talented engineer then just that of a home hobbyist recoding his buddy’s band. It is obvious that Omand takes recording seriously and did not only toss an SM57 in front of a crappy amp and hope for the best. The only slightly jarring aspect of the technical portion of the recording is the panning. At some points, the panning of some instruments is a little strange and almost puts them outside the song. (Think of those early Beatles albums that were remixed for stereo as an afterthought to the mono versions of the records.) This issue is easily fixed… crank up the CD really loud on your stereo. The songs are so good; you’ll want to blast them anyway.

Like a close friend singing just for you, Tristan Omand makes a connection to the listener right from the moment the first track starts. Expect to listen close to catch all the subtle nuances of what is presented. I strongly suggest you go see Omand live and then pick up one of his CDs. The combination of expertly executed live performances and perfectly presented recordings, convince me that we will be hearing about this young artist for many years.

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