The Gospel Truth
Golden Robot Records
While best known as the rhythm guitarist for Guns N’ Roses on the Use Your Illusion tour, Gilby Clarke has enjoyed a small solo career through the ‘90s into the early 2000s. The guitarist has returned, however, with his first album since 2002’s Swag, with his newly released The Gospel Truth. The album follows a handful of singles that have been released since early 2020 and features drummers Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction, Porno For Pyros), Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp), and legendary Mötley Crüe bassist, Nikki Sixx over the course of 10 rocking tracks.
The Gospel Truth opens with a standard hard rocker of a title song. What makes the bass and drums driven-verse standout is the occasional accent from a horn section and female backing vocals. While sparse, they add a dynamic element to the track that is firmly rooted down in Clarke’s ‘80s guitar riffs and licks. The use of additional instruments is furthered on the following track, “Wayfarer” which sees the warm tone of an organ take the lead while Clarke’s gruff vocals and crunching guitar give the song a strong classic rock vibe.
Clarke doesn’t aim to fix what isn’t broke and, as a result, The Gospel Truth refuses to stray from the middle of the road. Songs like “Wise Old Timer”, “Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)”, and “Rock N Roll Is Getting Louder”, for better or worse, feel quite standard. When he does let loose, even in the slightest, however, The Gospel Truth truly shines to the level one would expect from a former member of Gun N’ Roses. “Tightwad”, featuring Sixx, is perhaps the best example of this as the track bridges a sense of melodicism with a level of grit that elevates the song above the rest. Similarly, the explosive closer, “She Won’t Fight Fair”, the slow-burning “Dangerous Sin”, and the up-tempo blues rocker “Violation” are additional highlights.
For his first solo outing in almost two decades, Clarke does not return with quite the bang he had hoped. While The Gospel Truth is not a bad album at all – the songs are well-written and Clarke and the band perform as a tight unit – it feels like it suffers from a lack of the high-octane rock one would expect from Clarke. Despite this, The Gospel Truth is an enjoyable classic rock record nostalgic for the late ‘70s and delivers a fitting vibe.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: GILBY CLARKE – THE GOSPEL TRUTH