New York-based country songwriter ClifF Westfall writes songs about heartache, loss, addiction… you know, funny songs. Or he can turn on a dime and dive headlong into a sentimental weeper. The Kentucky native delivers with a mixture of wit and bravado that, for Westfall, is central to what country music is all about. On his new album, Baby You Win, to be released July 13th, he’s assembled a crew of some of New York’s best musicians to explore a new idea of Americana, drawing inspiration from sources often forgotten by the current country scene.
The songs on Baby You Win are bitingly acerbic, dependent on the twisty puns, bittersweet humor, and turns of phrase that used to define country music. Westfall’s a true son of Kentucky and an honest student of the genre but refuses to be constrained by its definitions. He cites Chuck Berry as his favorite lyricist, arguing that some of Berry’s songs were much closer to their country cousins than lines of race and genre might have suggested. This is Americana outside the box, made by an artist gleefully rifling through the dusty record bins of American roots music and converting them into something new.
To record Baby You Win, Cliff Westfall enlisted producer Bryce Goggin (Pavement, the Ramones, Antony and the Johnsons, Evan Dando, Phish, Akron Family) and renowned New York guitarist Graham Norwood. The three drew from their extensive connections to assemble a band with a massive list of credits on the scene, like electric guitarist Scott Metzger (Shooter Jennings, Phil Lesh, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead), pedal steel player Dan Iead (Norah Jones, Valerie June), bassist Jeremy Chatzky (Ronnie Spector, Laura Cantrell), drummer David Christian (Danger Mouse, Mary Timony’s Helium), even the keyboardist from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band – Charlie Giordano. The album was cut and mixed over just nine days at Goggin’s studio.
Today, Ghettoblaster has the pleasure of premiering “Till The Right One Comes Along,” where his interest in Jerry Lee Lewis’ late 60s Mercury Sessions can be heard. This is what he had to say about it.
“I walked around the house for a couple of days singing the tagline, ‘Just let me love you until the right one comes along’ and trying to figure out which Jerry Lee Lewis album this had come from before I figured out that it didn’t exist yet. That was one of the happier surprises I’ve had as a songwriter.
“It’s not a very romantic song. In fact, it’s kind of the opposite – the character in the song – maybe that’s me, I’m not really sure – is basically arguing that romance is naïve, I think.”