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Chris Shiflett

West Coast Town – 2017 (SideOne Dummy)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Chris Shiflett

Chris Shiflett is best known as a guitarist in Foo Fighters, but he's also has some authentic traditional country in his bones. Inspired, in part, by much of the fine vintage country music created in California, "West Coast Town" lets Shiflett show off his country music skills. Dave Cobb, who has notably produced Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson, helps Shiflett achieve a musical portrait all his own. In fact, the title cut recalls Shiflett's formative years in Santa Barbara. However, his memories of the region may differ greatly from most typical tourist's perspectives. "I grew up in a west coast town, back before they chased the working class out."

Shiflett cranks it up with an honest-to-goodness regretful drinking song, "I'm Still Drunk," which rollicks to a punky, surf-y electric guitar rumbling undertow. Like the best drinking songs, though, these words are not merely about drinking alone. Instead, it's about attempting to drink off a hurtful break up, and with limited success.

If you're worried Shiflett might want to overly show off his guitar skills with this solo effort, you're worrying is in vain. Instead, his playing consistently serves the songs well. He's not any sort of golden voice either, but his singing is both accurate and sincere. His punk rock roots show through at times with a few well-placed F bombs. Warning: this ain't kid friendly or mainstream country ready music. It is, however, honest, realistic and emotionally moving. It is, in a phrase, the real thing. And from a most unlikely source.