WHO IS HE? The longtime Foo Fighters guitar slinger, former member of punk rock upstarts No Use For a Name and Me First and The Gimme Gimmes, and sometime solo singer-songwriter.
WHAT IS THIS? His umpteenth Foo-free full-length and second solo album of roots-rock, alt-country and honky-tonk.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Not bad — but ultimately, not much better (or even much different) than countless other guys doing the exact same thing. Though few of them can match Shiflett’s distinctive, dynamite fretwork.
WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? Foo For the Country.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? While constantly resisting the understandable urge to compare it to his day job.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Rootsy, twangy, congenial, rousing, melodic, conventional, tasteful, professional, predictable, safe.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? The Hardest Lessons and I Thought You’d Never Leave pack some country-rock firepower; Weak Heart delivers crunch and punch; The One You Go Home To flies the honky-tonk flag. For the most part, however, these songs are too generic and play it too safe to be truly memorable.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘There is such a thing as being too good for your own good.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? As many times as you listen to Taylor Hawkins’ solo albums.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A VEHICLE, WHAT KIND OF VEHICLE WOULD IT BE? A fully loaded pickup truck that never goes off-road or outside the city limits.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL? You can learn everything from Shiflett’s Lessons with a stream.