Sonic Warrior sounds like the name of a thrash metal band. At the very least it sounds like the name of a band, right? Wrong on both counts. Sonic Warrior is one Brad Nelson, founder of the now deceased Nada Brahma. He is now a one-man groove machine playing world music on some otherworldly instruments.
Besides playing the electric guitar, Sonic Warrior's fingers dance across the strings of an electric oud and a sitar. If you've never heard of an oud, you probably aren't alone. It's a pear-shaped instrument with five to eight pairs of strings. While similar in design to a lute, it is a predecessor of both the lute and the traditional guitar and is believed to have been invented in around 1600 B.C. Its design, though odd, allows for a sound not found on other instruments that Warrior plays. The sounds he produces are exotic and complex and bring to mind John, Paul, George and Ringo wearing Nehru jackets, pulling on a hookah pipe, sitting on giant pillows watching belly-dancers gyrate. That's because Sonic Warrior does a Beatles cover. Any guess which one? If you guessed "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" you win the prize.
While covering that song with this kind of an instrument might be cliche, the version sounds good with riffs from "Norwegian Wood" thrown in for good measure. Sonic Warrior's new CD Trifecta is now available, and whether or not that song is on it remains to be heard. Sonic Warrior doesn't mention that song in particular, but in his newsletter, he states the project "features a mix of original and interesting covers performed on Indian sitar, electric oud and electric guitar using Finger Fangs, a new double sided plectrum of my own design. The selections on the album were performed in one take, with no edits or overdubs of any kind. At this time, the album is available exclusively from me. So, come to a performance and you can pick one up."
You heard the man. Go listen to him play and see if there's anything else in his music you recognize. Or just go to see him play the electric oud. That in itself is worth the trip.
You have several chances to see Sonic Warrior: July 24 and July 31, 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Smoky Mountain Pizza at Edwards Cinema and July 30, 4-6 p.m. at The Taste of the Treasure Valley wine-tasting event at the Canyon County Fair in Caldwell.