Aubrie Sellers debuts gritty, raw garage country sound
NASHVILLE: Aubrie Sellers' debut album, "New City Blues," introduces her as a musician that seamlessly links the indie rock enclave of East Nashville to her country roots in Texas.
It's a sound she's branded "garage country," a blend of fuzzed-out electric guitars, high-energy rock 'n' roll and Sellers' country vocals and songwriting.
"I was born in Nashville, but my whole family is from East Texas, so I consider myself a dual citizen," said the 24-year-old Sellers, who will be playing South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, on March 18.
It took years for Sellers, a third-generation musician whose grandparents were gospel singers, to find her place between her musical heritage and her own tastes, which range from bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley to Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant.
The album title, a line from her song "People Talking," is about finding her place among those varying influences.
"It sort of embodied the feeling of never quite fitting in, or never knowing exactly where to belong or where to place myself," she said.
Onstage, her strong and steady voice, with just the slightest twang, goes toe-to-toe with layers of reverb and thumping drums. But offstage, Sellers says she was shy and didn't start singing in front of others until she was well into her teens.
"There's a lot to live up to when three of your parents are successful in the music business," she said.
Her mother is Grammy-winning country singer-songwriter Lee Ann Womack. Her father, Jason Sellers, is a country songwriter who has co-written singles for Jason Aldean, Reba McEntire, Rascal Flatts and Thompson Square. Her stepfather, Frank Liddell, is an award-winning producer who helped Miranda Lambert become a star.
Womack said her daughter learned to sing from jam sessions at home and watching her parents in the recording studio.
"Unlike me, who had to get in the business as an adult, Aubrie was born into it," said Womack. "So she knows exactly what she's doing and why she's doing it. There's no explaining to her like you have to do with a lot of new artists."
Sellers wrote "Like the Rain" with her dad, and both he and Womack sing it with their daughter on the record. And she decided that she wanted Liddell to produce the album, which was released in January on Carnival Records via Thirty Tigers.
"I've always loved what Frank does," Sellers said, "because he lets the artists be themselves."
She wrote or co-wrote all 14 songs on the album, which range from the headbanger "Paper Doll" to the dark and moody "Liar Liar," which she wrote with singer-songwriter Brandy Clark.
"A lot of the songs are very rock-oriented," Sellers said. "My voice makes them country and a lot of people think that is a strange combination. ... I think it creates something different and unique."