Gregg Rolie begins with a simmering piano signature, then slowly settles into a greasy groove — setting the stage for some of his first new music since a 2011 solo EP. Before that, Rolie last issued a full-band studio effort in 2001, with Roots.
“Struck By Lightning,” however, doesn’t mimic his earlier successes with Journey and Santana, so much as draw a straight line back to the fundamental soul and early-rock influences of his youth. Performing on KUT Radio in Austin, Rolie and Co. offer a slinky opening stanza, powered along by Ron Wikso and Sticky Lopez, before Rolie digs into a deeper, more sensual vibe — sounding as randy as Jerry Lee Lewis but far more confidential, more considered.
Skip forward to the 19 minute mark on the attached video performance to hear this new track.
Alan Haynes offers a scorching guitar solo, then Rolie — a member of Santana for four long-players from 1969-72, and then eight Journey efforts through Captured in 1981 — returns to a final reading of the lyric, this time with a newfound urgency, before closing things out with a stuttering sense of drama.
Rolie has been at work on a new solo album since returning from a second round of shows with Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band. Austin-based Frenchie Smith (Toadies, Meat Puppets, And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead) is producing, while Rolie’s song Sean — who helmed 2011′s Five Days EP — served as engineer.
Also featured on the new effort are Steve Lukather, who toured with Rolie in the All-Starr Band, as well as Alphonso Johnson, a fellow Santana band alum.
Want more? The Gregg Rolie Band has a stand-alone Web site with additional music and other cool merchandise.