Aubrie Sellers blasted onto the scene with her debut New City Blues a few years ago. Her new album Far From Home is again produced by Frank Liddell, showcasing her increasingly confident sound and songwriting style.
As much as I’d like to have written this review without even mentioning her family connection, I do have to admit that Aubrie sounds so much like her mother Lee Ann Womack that it can be quite distracting at first. Aubrie has a gift of a voice but it is an inherited one, and because of that you feel she has had to work harder to establish who she is as an artist. To step out of a shadow you have to find your own light.
Musically that means she’s taken her influences and natural twang to create what she calls ‘garage country’ – a somewhat polarising sound for some traditional genre fans. On the second track here we see how this style will play out across the album – it begins with a slow build up of scuzzy guitars heading towards a thumping blast of rock and roll. My Love Will Not Change, even has a guest spot from Steve Earle who beefs out the vocals and offers a ringing endorsement of her sound. Slam your drinks down on the counter, find your bar stool, forget about dumb ideas of genre and just enjoy letting loose with these two. There’s an outlaw spirit here, but thankfully she never goes for those overdone cliches.
A song that could sound twee or saccharine lyrically like Lucky Charm is thankfully transformed by this grittier style of music. Songs like Worried Mind and the title track are the heart of what Sellers offers as a singer and songwriter – she’s clear-eyed and yet not afraid to be vulnerable. Haven’t Even Kissed Me Yet is another example of this and probably the best song on here vocally and lyrically. I really love when the songs slow down, and she nicely avoids the temptation of going folksy by still keeping the ballads electric.
Still what makes this album so enjoyable is the freewheeling rock and roll spirit at its heart. On Drag You Down she sounds like she’s having the best night of her life, and she’s bringing us all along for the ride. Troublemaker has a similar bad girl vibe and sounds messy in the best kind of way. Going Places brings in more of the ‘country’ sounding guitars, taking the tempo down a little as though it’s the morning after the wild night before. Under the Sun shows that a love song doesn’t have to be sickly sweet to sound genuinely heartfelt.
The album finishes with One Town’s Trash, a nod to country music tropes and also her distinct differently style. It’s a reminder that everyone has their own path to walk – sometimes you just need to be confident enough to stray far from home to find it. By the end of the song’s gnarly rock out you feel refreshed, exhilarated and ready to hit ‘repeat’ on this fantastic album all over again.