THIS AIN'T NO REVIVAL.
THIS IS ELECTRIFIED HONKY TONK.
A native of Owensboro, Kentucky, with family roots in the same small town (Rosine) that produced "The Father of Bluegrass" Bill Monroe, Cliff Westfall was raised on the hardcore honky tonk and bluegrass traditions of the area. Like his fellow Kentucky natives Dwight Yoakam and Sturgill Simpson, Westfall writes country music from the inside out, with a sensibility that comes from growing up immersed in the music. And also like them, he manages to go in new directions while maintaining a recognizable core of authenticity.
This is no museum piece or reproduction -- it's vital and contemporary music that aims to keep the spirit of traditional country music alive by pushing it forward.
BABY YOU WIN
"I grew up on storytelling; listening to my granny and my folks tell stories about the crazy things they had done, or seen, or had done to them, was a huge part of my entertainment as a kid," says Westfall. "You know, some of it was hilarious, some of it was pretty dark -- but all of it was told and re-told until 'the memories were worn,' to quote John Prine. I didn't even know that wasn't the norm until I was an adult."
Westfall's new record, the soon-to-be-released Baby You Win, spreads that penchant for storytelling over thirteen tracks, from the Yoakam-like flash of leadoff track "It Hurt Her to Hurt Me," to the swampy, Bobbie-Gentry-on-a-bender vibe of the closer "The Odds Were Good," with stops in between on bluesy rockers ("Off the Wagon," "I'll Play the Fool"), the country-meets-surf of the title track "Baby You Win," 70s-era Jerry Lee Lewis on "Till the Right One Comes Along" (backed by a killer piano turn from Springsteen keyboardist Charlie Giordano). Plus stops in Laurel Canyon ("The Man I Used to Be"), Sun Records-era Memphis ("Now and Then"), and some seedy jazz dive of the mind ("Sweet Tooth for You"). All killer, no filler...
Backed by an ace crew of some of the best musicians in New York City, and recorded with renowned producer Bryce Goggin (The Ramones, Antony and the Johnsons, Pavement), Baby You Win is due out early in 2018.