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Aubrie Sellers

New City Blues – 2016 (Carnival/Thirty Tigers)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Aubrie Sellers

Aubrie Sellers may have the musical genes, but that will go only so far because she has carved her own path on her debut. Just how one would categorize Sellers musically may not be as easy. Oh, she's definitely got a country sound going - "Losing Ground," "Something Special" and the tick tock drums of the slower "Humming Song" - are proof of that. But then there's the garagey, rockabilly, swampy sounds as well (the charging leadoff "Light of Day," "Just to Be With You" and "Loveless Rolling Stone") with ample pedal steel and banjo often incorporated. Garage country as a moniker? Could be, but leave the labels behind because the songs and vocals make this an excellent, engaging debut.

If you closed your eyes and simply listened, one would think that Lee Ann Womack has a new album out. And that wouldn't be too far off the mark. Sellers is, in fact, the daughter of Womack (her father is former recording artist and songwriter Jason Sellers). That's pretty darn good pedigree. But if anyone had any doubts about Sellers doing a vanity project, forget about it.

Sellers punctuates the 14 songs with vocal prowess, showing much maturity and confidence. With Kacey Musgraves also a reference point, Sellers can hold back, let it out with her lovely voice, which isn't so soft and pretty as to be a mismatch for the denser sounds.

Sellers takes a swampy bite and swipe at escapism via magazines in "Magazines." Forget everything you know/you don't need a mind of your own," Sellers slyly sings on the fuzzy guitar-centered song. In song after song, Sellers underscores the point of doing it her own way and finding her identity ("People Talking").

Producer Frank Liddell (Womack's husband, by the way, who also produced Miranda Lambert) deserves a lot of credit for crafting a disc befitting the singer.

Don't get hung up on codifying Sellers because she doesn't neatly fit into a genre box. It's country. It's rock. Yes, maybe even garage country. Labels be damned, especially when the performance and songs are this mesmerizing.