I guess he'll be known as the dude from the Foo Fighters, but Shiflett has served a blue collar rock and roll record, the like of which we've been waiting for since Ryan Adam's Heartbreaker. Here, with Dave Cobb on the controls he's produced the next classic, seminal American guitar record.
Uncomplicated, unfussy, it takes all the things that Americana is, that makes the genre so loved, that make the fans adore this brand of country. An antidote to the sickly bro' country fodder foisted on us by music row. Twangy, pedal steel, tales of a crappy life lived - even endured, a life spent looking for an escape from the drudgery of getting by.
It's all the bits of Earle, Adams, Springsteen, Mellencamp and all the AOR FM rock we all know, smashed head long into Allmans, Skynyrd and alike - when the rumbling guitar of 'Goodnight Little Rock' you know you are in a good place, and the deal sealer "another shitty PA, another night" line.
A good time record, fun to play live, jammed out by a first class band, full of hooks, butch and muscular. It feels like Schiflett and his buddies broke the top of a few, and spent the afternoon hanging in his yard in a hammock listening to Jones before heading to the studio. What makes this a superior record is the willingness to embrace pop sensibilities in songwriting, to be catchy and up beat without being moronic and still serve up some wonderful musical flourishes.
Rag time piano, great pedal steel, and on 'The Girl's Already Gone', some much missed and underused 60's beat group drumming - all ride cymbal and over phasered guitar. Its 10 small town gems, which would be gracing FM radio across all of the states if it was a little less liberal with the Anglo Saxon language.
If this was country music, rather than Luke Byran or Sam Hunt, we'd be in a much better world, more Schifflet, Sarah Shook and Sturgil Simpson to make everyday better that's what I'm advocating.
|Henry Spencer: The Reasons Don't Change (+ Live Review)||Chloe Chadwick: Dustbowl Jukebox|
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