West Coast Town Chris Shiflett SideOneDummy Despite forging his sound in the San Francisco punk scene, Foo Fighters lead guitarist Chris Shiflett is an avid country-rock fan. His favoured guitar is a Telecaster; he’s often spotted wearing a Gram Parsons and the Fallen Angels T-shirt; and he even hosts a podcast called Walking the Floor, for which he has interviewed many of his country-rock heroes. For West Coast Town, his third solo album, he went down to Nashville and enlisted Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb and a crack team of country players, including pedal-steel ace Robby Turner. Across 10 tracks Shiflett traverses familiar themes: getting drunk and taking drugs, breaking up, the rigours of touring and middle age. The opening track, Sticks and Stones, runs on the kind of choppy riff that Dwight Yoakam uses so nicely on his 2015 album Second Hand Heart. Room 102 is a catchy lament in which we glimpse a solitary Shiflett drunk-texting like a “lovesick fool”, and Blow Out the Candles brings to mind the Fallen Angels’ rendition of We’ll Sweep Out the Ashes in the Morning. But for all its exuberance West Coast Town is a little too sugary to be classed as what Rolling Stone calls “country punk”: the opening bars of Girl’s Already Gone, for instance, sound perilously close to the soundtrack to Friends. Shiflett does a good line in rollicking country rock and saves some grittier bluesy soloing for the final cut, Still Better Days, but he’s having too much fun to convey the wit and emotional force of Parsons or Merle Haggard.