Zero Mile Presents
Elizabeth Cook, Chris Shiflett & Kendell Marvel
Tue · February 26, 2019
Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm
$15.00 - $17.00
This event is 18 and overhttp://www.georgiatheatre.com/event/1791532/
In the words of the Drivin’ and Cryin’s legendary Kevn Kinney, “Elizabeth is so far ahead and under the radar you better have a supercharger for that fastback if you’re going to catch up! Enjoy the ride…”
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."
Truck driver or not, Shiflett has spent the past two decades crisscrossing the globe, playing thousands of shows along the way. In 2016, those travels took him to Nashville, where he interviewed Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb as part of his weekly podcast, Walking the Floor with Chris Shiflett. The meeting took place at RCA Studio A, shortly after Cobb moved his recording operations into the historic room. There, surrounded by vintage gear and the ghosts of country music's greatest singers, Cobb and Shiflett formed a genuine friendship. "When I left the studio," Shiflett remembers, "I thought, 'I have to make a record with that dude.' I was already a big fan of the records Cobb produces, and his setup was just so amazing."
Later that summer, Shiflett came back to Nashville, this time with a catalog of new songs in tow. West Coast Town, his first solo album since 2013's collection of honky-tonk covers, All Hat and No Cattle, was recorded at RCA Studio A over a three-week period, with help from Grammy-winning engineer/mixer Matt Ross-Spang. Cobb doubled as the album's producer and acoustic guitar player, with a group of A-list studio musicians — pedal steel guitarist Robby Turner (Waylon Jennings, Chris Stapleton), drummer Chris Powell (Brent Cobb, Jamey Johnson), bassist Adam Gardner (Southern Family), and keyboardist Michael Webb (Southern Family) — adding their own contributions. On an album filled with all-star names, though, Shiflett plays the biggest role, singing and picking his way through 10 original songs that mix together the bounce of Bakersfield country, the anthemic punch of blue-collar roots-rock, the rule-breaking rebelliousness of SoCal punk, and plenty of guitar heroics.
With every song captured in two or three takes, West Coast Town often sounds more like the work of a live band than a studio creation. That approach suits the songs well. After all, this is an album about growing up — about making peace with your roots — and growing up is always a bit messy. Asked about his influences, Shiflett rattles off names like the Stray Cats, Social Distortion, Dwight Yoakam, and Uncle Tupelo, all of whom challenged the rules of the genres they occupied. West Coast Town follows a similar path. Although set in coastal California, it's an album that creates its own geography — a place where dark lyrics rub shoulders with bright bursts of melody; where country music doesn't just belong to American South, where the soft swoon of pedal steel makes way for sharply-worded lyrics; and where one of modern music's biggest multi-taskers can combine his songwriting, singing and guitar-playing talents into one track list.
Having written 9 out of 10 tracks on the album, Marvel flexes his writing chops and invites listeners on the familiar journey of heartbreak, vices and all points in between. “Gypsy Woman” paints the picture of a love that’s not chasing back while on the title track "Lowdown & Lonesome” Marvel sings about hitting rock bottom and drinking about it. Lowdown & Lonesome is reminiscent of classical country greats Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr. combined with the southern rock edge of the Allman Brothers and ZZ Top. “I wrote the song “Lowdown & Lonesome” with Keith Gattis and Randy Houser a few years back and we based the whole album around that track. The songs are real, they’re gritty- a combination of hurt-like-hell heartache and rowdy rebellion.”
Born and raised in Southern Illinois, Marvel began playing his first gigs at 10 years old. "My dad would take me out to bars, and I'd play old country covers," he remembers. "Dad would get free beer, and I'd get free pickled eggs or beef jerky. I was hooked."
The gigs continued as Marvel grew older. In 1998, he left his home in Illinois, moved to Nashville and began writing songs. During his first day in Music City, Marvel penned Gary Allan's first Top 5 hit, "Right Where I Need To Be.” Other hits followed, but Marvel never lost sight of the solo career he'd kicked off back in the Midwest. As his reputation as a songwriter grew, he continued hitting the highway on a yearly basis, crisscrossing the country —Alaska to Florida to the Virgin Islands — on his own solo tours.
Produced by Keith Gattis, Lowdown & Lonesome finds Marvel heading up an all-star band of sidemen and session players, including guitarist Audley Freed, drummer Fred Eltringham and harmonica icon Mickey Raphael. While the album is filled with musical heavyweights, the true stars are the songs themselves. "I'm done chasing down what everybody else is doing," he says. "I did that for years, and this, this is something different.”
215 N. Lumpkin St
Athens, GA, 30601