On his infectious new solo song “West Coast Town,” Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett flawlessly blends blue-collar country punk with a catchy Bakersfield bounce. Borrowing the rowdy swagger of Prison Bound-era Social Distortion and the SoCal sheen of Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam, Shiflett crafts a sound that is both geographically grounded and wholly his own. “West Coast Town” is the lead single and title track from Shiflett’s forthcoming album, set for release on April 14th.
Shiflett recorded West Coast Town in Nashville’s legendary RCA Studio A last summer with Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson). The mixture of working in such a historic setting with one of the genre’s most forward-leaning producers clearly rubbed off on Shiflett, as “West Coast Town” authentically straddles the line between vintage country cool and the boundary-blurring spirit of modern Americana.
“I wrote ‘West Coast Town’ about growing up in Santa Barbara in the Seventies and Eighties and what that felt like to me,” Shiflett tells Rolling Stone Country. “The demo version had a completely different groove, but Cobb flipped it on its head and took it further out west, more Californian. I’m glad he did.”
Shiflett delivers the nostalgic narrative of “West Coast Town” with a gritty wistfulness, anchoring the song around a sing-along chorus that lands somewhere between fond recollection and fiery rant: “I grew up in a west coast town, back before they chased the working class out.” Shiflett brings the same workingman’s strut to his tastefully twangy electric guitar work, allowing Cobb to handle the lion’s share of the album’s acoustic six-string duties.
West Coast Town is Shiflett’s third solo album, after 2010’s Chris Shiflett & The Dead Peasants and 2013’s collection of honky-tonk covers All Hat and No Cattle. For his third time out, Shiflett continues to forge his own sonic signature by drawing from his diverse musical outlets – his main gig since 1999 has been playing lead guitar for Foo Fighters and he is also a member of punk rock cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.
Shiflett can also be heard on his Walking the Floor with Chris Shiflett podcast, where he’s interviewed artists from Merle Haggard and Dwight Yoakam to Mike Ness (Social Distortion) and Sturgill Simpson.
Leading up to the release of West Coast Town, Shiflett will be touring the west coast, with additional one-off shows in New York and Nashville. Brian Whelan opens all dates
March 21 – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Lounge
March 22 – Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern
March 24 – Spokane, WA @ The Big Dipper
March 26 – Missoula, MT @ Missoula Winery
March 27 – Bozeman, MT @ The Eagles Ballroom
March 28 – Ketchum, ID @ Whiskey Jacques
March 30 – Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace
March 31 – Flagstaff, AZ @ Museum Club
April 2 – Los Angeles, CA @ Resident
April 3 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
April 6 – New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2
April 9 – Nashville, TN @ The High Watt