One Track Mind: California Breed, “Sweet Tea” from California Breed (2014)

“Sweet Tea,” the just-released lead track from Glenn Hughes and Jason Bonham’s self-titled California Breed debut, makes clear that 23-year-old guitarist Andrew Watt is no Joe Bonamassa. There’s not a whiff of the blues-rock underpinnings from their time with Black Country Communion. No, this is balls-out rawk.

For Hughes and Bonham, it’s a chance to reemerse themselves in a sound that’s embedded in their very DNA as former collaborators with the likes of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. More particularly, they get to walk confidently — hell, as “Sweet Tea” unleashes a nervy mix of lip-smacking sexuality and bloody-knuckled aggression, it sounds like they’re absolutely running — away from the bad mojo surrounding Black Country Communion’s sudden end.

This, of course, is to take nothing away from BCC, a group that — along with Derek Sherinian — brilliantly reanimated the 1970s-era of blues-fueled arena-filling rock. But there’s something distilled about “Sweet Tea,” something leaner, more direct and ultimately primordial that wasn’t there before.

California Breed, due May 20, 2014 from Frontiers/Universal, was produced by Dave Cobb (Rival Sons, Shooter Jennings) and features 12 new band-written tracks — along with a bonus song (“Solo”) and videos for “Sweet Tea” and “The Way” on a special CD/DVD deluxe edition.

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Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.