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 13, 2018, 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.
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, Bruce Springsteen, Laura Cantrell), drummer David Christian (Danger Mouse, Mary Timony’s Helium), even the keyboardist from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band - Charlie Giordano.
Westfall was born and raised in Owensboro, not far from tiny Rosine, Kentucky where Bill Monroe invented bluegrass music, and he grew up listening endlessly to Kentuckians like The Everly Brothers who changed the path of popular music. Though he got his start playing cowpunk music in Kentucky, he soon left his home state behind for the bright lights of New York City. “The term ‘country music’ is almost a misnomer anyway,” argues Westfall. “A big part of the original audience was people a generation or two removed from the farm who had migrated to the city. People more familiar with factory work and honky tonks than with the back end of a mule, you know? The music they wanted to hear was as much about cutting loose, dancing and having a good time as it was about sadness and hardship. That was kind of the story of my family. Or maybe I’m just attracted to neon lights, I don’t know.”