Tristan Omand's hard-learned brand of folk songwriting is brimming with stories of offbeat characters, road-worn personal experience, and a healthy dose of subtle humor to even things out. His acoustic guitar style sets a sparse backdrop to distinctly American songs and stories, and his approach to lyricism owes as much to John Steinbeck as to John Prine.

For nearly ten years Tristan has been performing throughout the east coast as a solo act blending old country, blues, and folk while developing a picking style and lyrical delivery all his own. He has released four solo albums, two of which are available on vinyl, with a live record on the way in 2017. With close to a dozen solo tours under his belt, Tristan has performed throughout 23 US states and has had the honor of opening for artists such as John Fullbright, Livingston Taylor, Audra Mae, Dan Blakeslee, The Figgs, Barrence Whitfield & The Savages, Heather Maloney, Tim Barry, Tan Vampires, Larry & His Flask, Brownbird Rudy Relic, Carrie Nation & The Speakeasy, and many more. Just barely 30 years old, Tristan has been a devoted guitar player and music fan since age 9 and currently resides in Manchester, New Hampshire. 
 

Omand blends blues, Americana, folk, and country. His music recalls the intimate, working-class aesthetic of the folk artists of the ’50s and ’60s. His intricate, finger-picked melodies and chord progressions echo the emotional folk and outlaw country of idols Hank Williams Sr. and Johnny Cash.
— Austin Sorette, The Sound 4.13.16
Like his heroes Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Omand writes storytelling songs that explore difficult lives and hard-won experience.
— Michael Witthaus, Seacoast Scene, July 2016
A singer-songwriter from Manchester, New Hampshire who will invade your soul with an infectious croon, Tristan Omand is one of the best solo artists in New England. It shows with his brand new album The Lesser-Known Tristan Omand, a continuation of material that examines darkness, humor, wisdom, wit and tales of offbeat characters.
— Rob Duguay, Motif Magazine, April 2016

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.
— Rob Azevedo, Concord Monitor, April 2016
Listening to the soulful guitar and vocal styling of Tristan Omand, you can see why he lists Bob Dylan and Hank Williams among his influences. Pay attention to the stories of his lyrics, though, and two of his more unexpected influences come to the fore: Jack Kerouac and John Steinbeck.
— New Hampshire Magazine, July 2016
From behind the wheel of a Ford Ranger, equipped with his beat up Yamaha six string and a copy of Travels With Charley, Omand has wandered all over the country. He’s played art galleries, dives, and just about any joint where there’s a stage for a lone-wolf balladeer.
— Victoria Wasylak, Howl Magazine, 2015
Omand’s hardscrabble landscape is filled with damaged souls, broken down vans with rusted bumpers and hitchhikers catching rides in stolen cars, hopping trains and sleeping under stars.
— Michael Witthaus, Hippo Press 2014
Omand has seemingly found the sound he’s been seeking. Confident and poignant, his songwriting has greatly benefited from years practice, perseverance, and, perhaps, a little breathing room.
— Chris Hislop, Spotlight Magazine review of "Wandering Time" 2013
Opening up the evening was the endlessly talented, Tristan Omand, whose subdued one man folk performance calmly brought fans into the Mid East from the blistering cold. Omand’s ability to simply play a guitar and tell truly fascinating tales of love and hardship is a wonderful reminder of how powerful music can be.
— Indie Bikes & Beer, Show Review - Tan Vampires w/Tristan opening, 2013

Photo by: Shivohn Kacy Flemming

Photo by: Shivohn Kacy Flemming


Liner notes excerpt from 2014's "Eleven Dark Horses"

There are dark horses in everyone’s life. But existence isn’t steeped solely in the shadows. There is light around every corner. Whether or not one decides to walk toward that light is entirely up to the individual.

Finding light in today’s music scene is hard. A lot of the tunes released are watered down. They’re contrived. They’re soulless. There’s no appreciation for “what came before.”  Self-entitlement looms large, which is not a positive thing. This sentiment is the dark horse of our society.

Tristan Omand is the opposite of this. His progression as a songwriter gets better each time he puts pen to paper, and voice to tape. His latest record, “Eleven Dark Horses,” is his most impressive effort to date. This is a man that appreciates music history. This is a man that knows the roots. This is a man that studies the past, learns from it, and betters his own being by channeling the lessons he’s acquired. Through this education he is becoming one of the absolute best voices on the roots/folk circuit. And when I say absolute, I mean absolute. He’s worked hard to get where he his.

Omand’s voice is timeless. His guitar picking – grin worthy. His lyrical dialogue – humbly (and sharply) intuitive. He’s pulling experiences from a contemporary world, and framing them in a soundtrack suffused brilliantly in the days of yore.

“Eleven Dark Horses” is an introspective collection of tales. Though murky at their core, Omand spins the stories in a way that offers hope. He’s in search of greater meaning. He’s on a quest to make his voice heard. The path he’s taking is long, windy, and often cold. It’s hard to be a musician in the 21st century. He sings of longing to be home, but has the full realization and appreciation that comfort doesn’t necessarily mean condemning oneself to the couch. Comfort comes in the realization that you’re striving for greatness. Greatness comes from spending countless hours, traveling limitless miles, and collecting immeasurable life experiences away from your comfort zone.

Greatness is found on this record. It’s a shimmering effort that is another firmly planted pillar in the construction of Omand’s legacy. Legacies aren’t built at home. They’re built when you’re out in the world experiencing life and documenting the ride – be it by horse or that Buick parked sideways on the lawn.

Christopher Hislop - Music Journalist / Author

 


© 2017 Tristan Omand