Torch Tones

“Three Chords and the Truth” captures the essence of Torch Tones, Mark Nomad’s seventh CD in a decades-long career that began in 1973 with the regionally acclaimed rock band Little Village. Nomad, a singer/songwriter/guitarist, began playing guitar at 14 and spent his early years soaking up the sounds of guitar legends. He was 16 when he saw Jimi Hendrix in concert, and was blown away by Hendrix’s command of the guitar. His passion for slide guitar began in 1970 when he was mesmerized by the emotional and powerful sound of Duane Allman at an Allman Brothers Band concert. Lucky enough to see Duane live four more times, Nomad literally sat at his feet.Hooked by the personal and intense emotion of the blues, Nomad got a close up view of his influences when his band shared the stage with many of the blues masters, including Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Freddie King, Bo Diddley, Johnny Copeland, Gatemouth Brown, Son Seals, Koko Taylor, James Cotton, Luther Allison, Honeyboy Edwards, and Roy Buchanan. His passion for the blues filtered into his rock music; his band Little Village was named after a song by Sonny Boy Williamson II, who had a strong influence on Nomad’s vocals.

Four decades later, all those influences converge in Torch Tones, a collection of love songs depicting 30 years of living a passionate life filled with joy and heartbreak. You’ll find it in the rocking sounds of “Love U Truly,” the funky blues and screaming guitar of “Don’t Say It,” the laid-back blues shuffle of “Gemini Blues,” and the blistering, gritty sounds of Nomad’s slide in “Poetry in Motion.” Nomad bears his soul in “Took More Than You Gave” and “Cactus Flower” and creates a timeless ethereal mood in “The Waiting.”

Blues, unlike rock, is a genre where musicians tend to reach their stride and get better as they get older. Torch Tones reinforces that old adage with Nomad’s mastery of the slide and blues guitar coming through on every cut. His ear for subtle nuances allows him to capture the perfect sound to convey his emotions.

“After all the years of living, the resultant body of pain and joy and wisdom starts coming through,” says Nomad. “My previous record was a live show and we jammed a lot. I love to improvise and jam; but on this CD, the song is the thing. The songs on Torch Tones are all little movies, stories, and the music serves the song. Music is healing. That’s why the blues came about. It makes you feel better. I’m not trying to write a hit song. I’m just telling my story. Three chords and the truth.”

-Mary Lou Sullivan, author of Raisin’ Cain: The Wild and Raucus Story of Johnny Winter