Out of the Garage and Into the Studio: Aubrie Sellers Dishes About Her Unique Sound, Influences and Major-Label Debut Album, “New City Blues”

Despite having one of the best country music pedigrees in the biz, Aubrie Sellers blazed her own trail in the industry earlier this year with the release of her debut indie album, New City Blues. After recently signing with major label Atlantic/Warner Music Nashville, the self-proclaimed “garage country” artist will re-release New City Blues on Sept. 30. The new deluxe version will feature the album’s original 14 songs as well as two covers: The Zombies’ “The Way I Feel Inside” and The Beach Boys’ “In My Room.”

Aubrie stepped out of the garage and into the Nash Country Daily studio to talk about her unique sound, influences, new album and more.

NCD: You describe your sound as “garage country.” What does that mean to you?

Aubrie: When people ask you what your music sounds like, you can say “country,” or there’s all these other genres like Americana, alt-country and all this, but I didn’t feel like anything really gave it a true description of what the sound is. The sound is very different from everything else. Garage country to me is just raw. I’ve been influenced by a lot of different kinds of music, from rock to old blues to bluegrass to traditional country. I think I have a very country voice and very country songs presented in an electric, high-energy, rock sort of way.

Your mom is Lee Ann Womack. Your dad is singer/songwriter Jason Sellers. Your step-father is Frank Liddell, who produced your new record. I imagine you were exposed to some really great music growing up. Who are some of your favorites?

George Jones, Steve Earle and Dwight Yoakam are some of my favorite country singers. Emmylou Harris. Loretta Lynn. I love the record [Van Lear Rose] that Jack White produced on Loretta Lynn, which I think was one of my records that I listened to where I was like, “Wow, this is two worlds colliding.” I listened to Led Zeppelin and CCR and a bunch of those artist on the rock side. Bluesy rock, I really like. Then, bluegrass singer Ralph Stanley is my favorite singer of all time. Buddy and Julie Miller, too. And it’s all over the place. I think all of that came together and created a new thing. [Dwight’s] career and Steve Earle’s too, they always walked in their own lane. They didn’t sound like anything else, but they were big artists, and they connected with a lot of people. If you can have a career like that, then you’ve pretty much won, I think.

Before Ralph Stanley passed away in June, you got to record a song, “White Dove,” with your mom and Ralph on his final album, Ralph Stanley & Friends: Man of Constant Sorrow. Career highlight?

Yeah. He’s my favorite singer of all time. I would do anything they asked me to do for him. Buddy Miller was producing the record, who’s another one of my heroes, with Jim Lauderdale, who is also awesome. They called me in to do that, and I said, “Of course.” There was no doubt. I had just gotten to see Ralph for the first time in concert a couple months before that. I think it’s kind of a miracle that I got to do that. It’s definitely a shining moment that happened to me very early on.

You’ve got a new single, “Sit Here and Cry.” To me, it’s kind of a sarcastic, tongue-and-cheek, bluesy rocker. It’s got the screeching electric guitar and the bluesy harmonica. How would you describe it?

Yeah. I think that it’s like a lot of my songs—the energy of the song sounds kind of opposite of what the title is, which is very sarcastic. I think I have a very straightforward, simple songwriting style, but high energy and emotional. I don’t really tend to write when I’m happy, I tend to write when I’m feeling something and I want to express it. It’s definitely—somebody called it a “barn-burner”—it’s a high-energy kind of a song, and it definitely has that sarcastic tone that’s present in a lot of my songs.

For someone that hasn’t listened to New City Blues yet, why should they?

New City Blues has a little bit for everybody, whether you’re a country traditionalist or if you like it a little bit on the bluesier side. I think a lot of people in my generation were exposed to so many different kinds of music on the internet or however. You could listen to so many different things that weren’t so narrowed any more. I think a lot of people are like me and listen to a lot of different kinds of things. There is something for everybody on New City Blues, and it goes from “Losing Ground,” which is a more traditional leaning song, all the way to “Paper Doll,” which is on the far end of the rock spectrum, and everywhere in between. I think that there is something for everybody on there, and there’s 14 songs on the original album, and I wrote them all, so if you like honesty, there you go.

as_newcitybluescoverNew City Blues Track Listing

  1. Light of Day”
  2. “Sit Here and Cry”
  3. “Liar Liar”
  4. “Paper Doll”
  5. “Losing Ground”
  6. “Magazines”
  7. “Dreaming in the Day”
  8. “Humming Song”
  9. “Just to Be With You”
  10. “People Talking”
  11. “Something Special”
  12. “Loveless Rolling Stone”
  13. “Like the Rain”
  14. “Living Is Killing Me”
  15. “In My Room” (Live Studio Version – Bonus Track)
  16. “The Way I Feel Inside” (Live Studio Version – Bonus Track)

Listen to Aubrie Sellers’ album New City Blues:

photo by Jason Simanek