One Track Mind: Something Unto Nothing, “Nomad” (2012)

I’ve often lamented the fact that good, old-fashioned straight hard rock seems to be mostly a lost art form these days.

There are a lot of bands out there that have the potential to do it well, but often they’re either trying to find a sound to get radio airplay or caught up with being original. Originality is great, but sometimes all you need is a good groove, plenty of attitude, and a willingness to just crank up the amps and cut loose. That’s what S.U.N. (Something Unto Nothing), the new project of Canadian singer Sass Jordan and Brian Tichy, does on the debut single “Nomad.”

Lots of people will be familiar with Tichy. The current Whitesnake drummer has provided the beats for some of the biggest names in hard rock — Foreigner, Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, Slash and Zakk Wylde’s Pride and Glory, to name a few. You might not have heard him like this, though. On “Nomad,” he sets his sticks aside, picks up a Gibson SG and a slide and goes to work. It’s not a completely new thing for Tichy, who sang and played guitar in his ill-fated project Ball in the late 1990s, but the forthcoming album from S.U.N. might be the first time a larger audience gets to experience it. He holds his own with an earthy feel and some great grooves — maybe a talent brought over from his drum skills.

It’s not the first meeting between Tichy and Jordan, either. He played drums on her 1994 album Rats. Whether from familiarity or not, Tichy’s guitar work and Jordan’s vocals play well off each other. The husky, smoky tones of her voice complement the blues-rock feel of Tichy’s playing beautifully. Jordan is a throwback to the 1970s, and that’s just what this outfit needs. She doesn’t try to sing pretty, but she belts out the lyrics with tons of attitude, feeling and soul, and it’s an amazing performance.

Tommy Stewart, a veteran drummer of hard rockers Godsmack and Lillian Axe, certainly has to feel a little pressure under the watchful eye of Tichy, but handles his duties well. Bassist Marty O’Brien (We are the Fallen, Tommy Lee, Disturbed) also gets his chance to shine on a break late in the song where the tempo picks up. It’s not really a solo, but he does get the spotlight.

“Nomad” has an addictive groove and doesn’t try to pretend to be anything it’s not. Have you heard songs in this style before? Sure, plenty of times. But that doesn’t change the fact that a great song, delivered with the passion and power that S.U.N. put into it, is always worth hearing. The fact this song could have been recorded 30 years ago is irrelevant. It’s good. Sometimes that’s a fact that gets lost in translation in a band’s quest for originality.

After getting the link to this song in an e-mail, I must have listened to it a dozen times straight. The band is currently putting the finishing touches on its self-titled debut, and the release date and method of release have yet to be decided. I can’t wait to hear what the rest of the album sounds like.

In the meantime, though, you can get a free download of “Nomad” at the band’s website: http://www.somethinguntonothing.com/.

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Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips is a veteran entertainment writer with a love of hard rock and heavy metal. He has written music reviews, columns and feature stories for several newspapers, Web sites and a national wire service, while running a stand-alone site called Hall of the Mountain King in various places and incarnations since 1997. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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