Chris Shiflett & the Dead Peasants / Chris Shiflett

Chris Shiflett & the Dead Peasants

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Stepping outside of his main gig as lead guitarist of the Foo Fighters -- he, like Taylor Hawkins, had to find some way to pass the time while Dave Grohl busied himself with Them Crooked Vultures -- Chris Shiflett threw himself into Americana with his band the Dead Peasants. It’s a departure from his pre-Foo résumé, when he played in the punky Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, but it fits right alongside the relaxed Californian shimmer of Hawkins' work, albeit something of a distant cousin. Shiflett and the Dead Peasants work up a pleasing rustic groove throughout their eponymous 2010 debut, never pushing too hard but never succumbing to laziness. Unlike most alt-country singers, Shiflett favors the genre-bending Americana of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s to stark, stripped-down purity; it’s a mellow mood album, usually colored by steel guitars but sometimes getting its flair from a 12-string chime. Frankly, that contrast works in Shiflett’s favor: too many Americana bands are concerned about authenticity but the Dead Peasants are all about vibe, all about band interplay, so their album winds up as quite pleasing in a low-key way.

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