Alt-country songwriter. Rock & roll guitarist. Pop-punk pioneer. Chris Shiflett has played multiple roles during his 20+ year career, fronting his own band one minute and serving as the Foo Fighters' longtime guitarist the next. He turns a new corner with West Coast Town, an autobiographical solo album that finds Shiflett pulling triple-duty as singer, songwriter and bandleader.
Heavily inspired by both the unique twang of California's country tradition — particularly Bakersfield icons like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard — and the rootsy stomp of the Rolling Stones, West Coast Town is an extension of the acclaimed alt-country career Shiflett kickstarted back in 2010. It's a bright, bold album, with Shiflett revising the supposed "rules" of country music to suit his own background. There are no songs about Georgia back roads here. No southern belles in denim cut-offs. Instead, Shiflett — a California native who grew up in Santa Barbara — writes about an adolescence spent onstage, on the beach, and on the prowl. During the nostalgic title track, "West Coast Town," a teenage Shiflett chases girls along the Pacific Ocean shoreline, returning home at night to his childhood home on Salinas Street. Later, he drinks away an ex's memory in "Room 102," battles hangovers and heartbreak in "I'm Still Drunk," and triumphantly wraps up a rock & roll show with "Goodnight Little Rock."
"'Goodnight Little Rock' is a truck driving country song," he says of the rowdy, guitar-driven track, "but written from the viewpoint of a van tour. That's as close as I've come to ever being a truck driver."