As the voice of White Lion, Mike Tramp appeared on some of the biggest hit rock songs of the 1980s. In more recent years, Tramp has pursued a solo career, exploring wildly different musical avenues. Even to this day, three decades after White Lion released their first album, Tramp is putting out his share of solo material, showing the legions of fans out there that he is far from finished musically.
It has been a long time since the glory days of White Lion ended, with the other band members going their separate ways. Nomad is actually Tramp’s NINTH solo album, meaning he now has more albums as a solo artist than he ever put out with White Lion! Following up Cobblestone Street and Museum, Tramp has once again returned with a new release, this one being the last in a “trilogy” of sorts. Already, the former white Lion frontman is touring Europe, promoting his new release.
Of course, many fans were not even previously aware of Tramp’s solo career, knowing him only for his White Lion material. Over the years he has released some surprisingly diverse records, branching out from his past, exploring radically different musical territory than one would likely expect! Nine solo albums later, he is back again (I think we can rule out the possibility of a classic White Lion lineup reunion). How does the Nomad album fare, and is it worth adding to your collection?
Let me start by saying if you want a new White Lion album, Nomad is NOT for you; this is completely on the other end of the musical spectrum. This fan would liken Tramp's new release more to folk/country rock-style artists; what you will hear on this album has more in common with artists like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen than it does with vintage White Lion material; Tramp has been embracing this sound for quite some time now and recording in this style for years. What is truly remarkable about this release is the fact that Tramp, throughout the release, actually manages to sound better than the American artists that he is recording in this style of; it is more adult contemporary than the music he was known for making in his heyday, but a more mature album is not necessarily a bad thing!
Tramp performs with a band that include Soren Andersen on guitar and piano, Morten Hellborn on drums, Morten Buchholz on keyboards, and Jesper Hauggard on bass. Tramp’s assortment of players here certainly gets the job done and then some. And while Tramp is about as far removed from the White Lion days of old as humanly possible, he has proven to be surprisingly adept that this musical style.
Throughout the album, as was previously mentioned, Tramp spends the whole album following an American-style folk/country/pop rock style, yet each track manages to be surprisingly diverse and interesting despite the radical change in sound from the old White Lion days. A few of the tracks do come dangerously close to “Top 40” territory, but the good definitely outweighs anything else present here. People looking for a hard rock/hair metal album are going to be severely disappointed with what they hear here, but those who are open minded will likely find something to enjoy about the release.
Mike Tramp seems content to create adult contemporary albums like this, and while I would like to see him return to the rock and roll sounds of his glory days, one cannot deny that he has become quite skilled at creating music of this style. Nomad is not going to be an album for everyone, but those open minded fans of Tramp are bound to enjoy the album. The release is worth a listen, as long as you are not expecting it to be the new White Lion.