Austin Gold

Before Dark Clouds


This English ensemble comprises David James Smith on guitar and vocals, Jack Cable on guitars, Lee Churchill on bass, Russell Hill keys plus drummer Chris Ogden. They have taken the roadwork route, to hone their songs and grow an audience. The liner notes give mention of Vanquish guitars.

Brand New Low is a smoking start to the set, a hint of Storyville. Smith’s voice goes straight down to that popular rock-blues Transatlantic style, derived from Bad Company, Whitesnake et al. He stays sharp and melodic, as the guitars weave away, the bass pounds and the keys jump in and out of prominence. Ogden’s drumming has more than a touch of Kenney Jones, no bad thing. On to the heavy lope of Another Kinda Bad, vocal reverbed for impact. The axes burst into live and my that bass is busy!

Title cut Before Dark Clouds has subtle intro, settling into an almost James Gang groove with ringing chords and a well-handled vocal with memorable chorus. The song sounds as though it has been around for years. A quality tune, very well paced and arranged. Next up is Wishing Away and it’s a slow jam kind of ballad, reeking of Texas – the place – is its yearning and soulful touch. A really fine bit of singing, respected by the group as they create the backdrop. Even on this one, bass man Churchill plays three times the notes I would! He gets a cool tone, never too boomy and contributes much to the act’s ensemble sound. The Reason is all attack and springheeled riffing over ominous bass and Hammond chording.

Home Ain’t Home takes a solemn piano and guitar almost expect Joe Cocker to start singing! Smith sings this with a deft delivery, holding something back and enhancing the ache of the words. A lighter bridge sounds utterly beautiful and makes for an album highlight. I have played this cut a few times…

Roadside is a shadowy item to start with then bursts into a fuzzy rocker, with clipped chords. One of the catchiest numbers in the collection. All The Way Down is delicately handled and the sound fattens into a full arrangement, giving Smith a steady roll to enhance with a subtle vocal. Needs strings! See The Light wastes no time is whipping up a tuneful gallop, leaving room for tremelo-setting guitar chords and sounding here like a probable stage favourite. Matters conclude with Never Come Back which has a confident intro and some sweet reverbed guitar lines floating over the song.

Traditional rock-blues in style maybe, but this act has more impactful songs than many of their ilk and always sound like a proper group, not hired hands. I’m impressed.

Pete Sargeant



(Many thanks to Sue at Frontier)

Austin Gold's debut album 'Before Dark Clouds' is out now on Jigsaw/Cadiz.

For tour dates and more information visit the band's official website here:

Austin Gold