Aubrie Sellers is dark and stormy, rocks a mean smoky eye and would’ve blown your older brother’s rock band out of the water. She’s only 24 – a newcomer by any standard – but her sound and songwriting suggest she’s been around the block at least a few times. She’s Kelly Clarkson-approved and her debut album (described as “gritty and glorious” by Rolling Stone) demands attention. A moody, resonating electric guitar introduces New City Blues, before don’t-mess-with-me drums kick in on the stellar opening track, “Light of Day.” She doesn’t seem the type to use labels, but she has accurately dubbed her sound “garage country,” referencing the omnipresent electric guitar and unrefined aesthetic of her monster 14-track project.
Sellers bravely tackles difficult subjects, from social issues (“Magazine” and “People Talking” challenge society’s standards), to gender stereotypes (“Sit Here and Cry” is a breakup anthem dripping in sarcasm), and heartbreak (“Loveless Rolling Stone” chronicles a post-breakup struggle to find solid ground). She somehow owns her youth but sounds wise beyond her years, and the record is cohesive yet each track presents something lyrically or sonically unexpected. Her punchy lyrics and hard-hitting, impeccable vocals are dotted with moments of vulnerability, like the sweet “Dreaming in the Day,” about heart-fluttering new romance, or “Losing Ground,” a self-aware boost of reassurance for days when doubt takes over.
Channeling Brandy Clark on “Liar Liar,” Sellers proudly shows her lack of tolerance for bullsh*t, but the accusatory lyrics are sandwiched between “Dreaming” and the gentle “Humming Song,” demonstrating her versatility and multifaceted personality as an artist. She’s undeniably tough but rarely abrasive, and her softer side doesn’t show even the slightest trace of bubblegum pink. She successfully escapes the “angsty” label often associated with rocker-chic female artists, and the garage vibes are always artful – never sloppy.
The album is tinged with influences from her Nashville peers (think: Miranda, Kacey, Ashley Monroe), but she’s truly unlike anyone out there. She’s unapologetically herself and therefore might not be your cup of tea, but isn’t that reason enough to give her a shot? Plus, she seems like she would tell you straight-up if your outfit was ugly, and we all could use more of those friends.
P.S. – Her parents are Grammy-winning country star Lee Ann Womack and songwriter Jason Sellers, and New City Blues was produced by her stepfather and long-time Miranda Lambert producer Frank Liddell. So yes, she knows her stuff.
New City Blues in a nutshell – five must-listens to add to your list:
- “Light of Day”
- “Sit Here and Cry”
- “Dreaming in the Day”
- “People Talking”
- “Like the Rain”
Grab the album on iTunes or stream below: