SHORT BIO

“I feel like I’m film in a digital world,” says singer-songwriter Aubrie Sellers. “There are so many slick, clean-sounding records that are designed for quick consumption, but that’s not me. I make dirty, grungy-sounding records, and the emotions spill all over the place. They’re messy at times, but I find beauty in that.” 

For anybody who’s ever felt as if they didn’t quite fit in, Sellers’ masterful second album, Far From Home, the follow-up to her sensational debut, New City Blues, is essential listening. Sonically, it’s a sweeping, epic vision made manifest in crushing, amp-busting guitar rock – Sellers once dubbed this sound “garage country” – and delicate yet shattering widescreen ballads that form compelling frameworks for her angelic voice to take flight. One might assume that such fulsome musical expressions could only come from a grand extrovert, but Sellers reveals the deep-seated anxieties that lie beneath the surface – and how writing the album proved cathartic.

Making music came naturally to Sellers, who carries a first-class pedigree in that area. As the daughter of Grammy-winning singer Lee Ann Womack and songwriter-solo artist Jason Sellers, she remembers being surrounded by music. “It’s just what we did, so I didn’t even think about it,” she recalls. But the sounds that Sellers gravitated towards differed from her parents (“I was as much into Led Zeppelin, classic rock and punk as I was Patty Loveless and bluegrass”), and by the time she took up the guitar at age 13, she knew that she needed to explore her own path. “My voice isn’t dissimilar to my mother’s, so I think people expected me to follow in her footsteps. I think I surprised a lot of people when I didn’t.”

Reaching adulthood, Sellers was ready to try her hand at recording, and she found a nurturing partner in producer Frank Liddell – now her step-father – who has helmed records for Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram, Chris Knight, and Brandi Carlile, among others. For Sellers, the decision to work with Liddell on her first album was a no-brainer that had nothing to do with family ties and everything to do with creativity. “All I had to do was listen to the records that Frank produces,” she explains. “He doesn’t impose his own sound on an artist; he lets everybody sound like themselves. That was really important to me.”

FAR FROM HOME BIO

“I feel like I’m film in a digital world,” says singer-songwriter Aubrie Sellers. “There are so many slick, clean-sounding records that are designed for quick consumption, but that’s not me. I make dirty, grungy-sounding records, and the emotions spill all over the place. They’re messy at times, but I find beauty in that.”

Elaborating on her film versus digital comparison, Sellers recounts a recent viewing of 2001: A Space Odyssey: “I saw it the way you should, in a movie theater, and I just sat back and let the film have its way with me. That’s how I want people to experience my records. Listen to the whole thing, from beginning to end. It’s how I grew up listening to music, and I think it still matters.”

If such a stance makes her an outlier in today’s quick-take music world, Sellers is quite comfortable with that; in fact, she’s downright happy to apply such an attitude to her own personal and artistic mission statement. “Maybe I’m a little fringe or old school, but I can only be myself,” she says. “There’s a pay-off for that: If I can inspire other artists, particularly young girls, to follow their own paths, then I know I’m doing something meaningful. I can’t think of any better response to music than that.”

For anybody who’s ever felt as if they didn’t quite fit in, Sellers’ masterful second album, Far From Home, the follow-up to her sensational debut, New City Blues, is essential listening. Sonically, it’s a sweeping, epic vision made manifest in crushing, amp-busting guitar rock – Sellers once dubbed this sound “garage country” – and delicate yet shattering widescreen ballads that form compelling frameworks for her angelic voice to take flight. One might assume that such fulsome musical expressions could only come from a grand extrovert, but Sellers reveals the deep-seated anxieties that lie beneath the surface – and how writing the album proved cathartic.

“Anxiety can be very isolating. Unless you’ve really gone through it, it’s difficult to fully understand,” she explains. “I write about it as honestly as possible. Hopefully it draws you in and you find your own meaning in the songs. So much music is all surface and gloss – but I need to get to the root of a feeling, and that’s what makes the music feel genuine.”

Sellers walks the walk on “Drag You Down,” Far From Home’s first doozy of a single that marries ‘70s glam rock with everything that’s good about hook-filled garage country. Over wildcat guitars and a stomping rhythm that just won’t quit, she issues a stinging indictment (delivered with a coquettish grin) against those who are blind to emotional injustice. “Sometimes you have to put something right in people’s faces,” Sellers says. “‘If you’re not empathetic to where I’m at, I’m going to show you what it’s like. I’m going to drag you down so you can feel what I’m feeling.’”

She’s got the audacity of a young upstart, but thanks to two years of roadwork following the release of New City Blues, Sellers has also developed the maturity of a seasoned pro. “Touring really allowed me to find my voice,” she observes. “Even though I sometimes feel alone and vulnerable, when I get on stage I have to have an almost ‘fuck it’ attitude. I know I can’t please everybody, so I have to please myself.” She cites her boyfriend Ethan Ballinger, an ace guitar virtuoso who also plays in her band, as being a stabilizing force both musically and personally. “I feel less alone when I’m with him,” Sellers notes, “and with that comes confidence.”

There have been a few changes in Sellers’ world during the three years between New City Blues and Far From Home: She left the traditional major label system and signed with a fresh, fiercely independent label (Soundly Music). And a new switch in management has offered her the level of artistic control she needed to complement her passion and maverick vision. “It took me a while to sort out some business angles,” she says, “but now I feel as if I’m in a really good place to do what I want.”

Making music came naturally to Sellers, who carries a first-class pedigree in that area. As the daughter of Grammy-winning singer Lee Ann Womack and songwriter-solo artist Jason Sellers, she remembers being surrounded by music. “It’s just what we did, so I didn’t even think about it,” she recalls. But the sounds that Sellers gravitated towards differed from her parents (“I was as much into Led Zeppelin, classic rock and punk as I was Patty Loveless and bluegrass”), and by the time she took up the guitar at age 13, she knew that she needed to explore her own path. “My voice isn’t dissimilar to my mother’s, so I think people expected me to follow in her footsteps. I think I surprised a lot of people when I didn’t.”

Reaching adulthood, Sellers was ready to try her hand at recording, and she found a nurturing partner in producer Frank Liddell – now her step-father – who has helmed records for Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram, Chris Knight, and Brandi Carlile, among others. For Sellers, the decision to work with Liddell on her first album was a no-brainer that had nothing to do with family ties and everything to do with creativity. “All I had to do was listen to the records that Frank produces,” she explains. “He doesn’t impose his own sound on an artist; he lets everybody sound like themselves. That was really important to me.”

New City Blues was a smashing debut. Listeners were wowed by gutsy tracks such as “Liar Liar” and “Light of Day,” and critics were similarly knocked out – Rolling Stone ranked the album No. 13 on their “Top Country Albums of 2016” list. Buoyed by the response, Sellers dug in deep, writing over 25 songs with collaborators such as Brendan Benson, Adam Wright, Park Chisolm, among others, before she and Liddell headed to Texas’ Sonic Ranch to begin recording Far From Home.

“The studio is just outside El Paso, and people say that the guy who owns the place is Bill from the Kill Bill movies,” says Sellers. “Quite coincidentally, I’d been listening to a lot of Quentin Tarantino soundtracks, so between that and being at the Sonic Ranch, everything kind of contributed to the cinematic vibe of the songs I’d written.”

Assuming the role of co-producer, Sellers focused on a dozen tracks that would tell her tale, and they form a compelling picture of an artist coming into her own. This is evident from the start with the album’s eerily beautiful gospel-tinged title track on which she explores loneliness and dislocation in a way that is oddly comforting. “That was always the intention,” she says. “It’s my way of saying, ‘You might feel alone, but you’re not alone – we all feel the same way at times.”

On the album’s sole cover, “My Love Will Not Change,” Sellers and guest star Steve Earle kick up the dust, dispensing with the bluegrass treatments the Shawn Camp/Billy Burnette composition has received and turning it into a feral slice of unhinged rock. With Sellers’ dulcet voice paired with Earle’s earthy tenor, the impact is profound – the ultimate mission statement of unbreakable commitment.

Musically, the mood shifts dramatically on the brash and sassy “Lucky Charm” – it’s as if country met up with post-punk England, with jangling, atmospheric guitars underpinning its prodigious hooks – but lyrically Sellers still has affairs of the heart in mind. “Even though I wrote the song with Adam Wright, I was really thinking about Ethan,” she reveals. “There’s no negativity at all in the song. When you’re in love, the hard stuff is easier to handle.”

But love can’t always solve all, as she details in the aptly titled “Worried Mind.” With her crystalline voice piercing a tangled web of dingy guitars, Sellers surges through Delta blues that casts a chilling, noir-like glow. “This song encapsulates what I go through as an introvert who becomes the extrovert on stage,” she says. “I’ve even Googled this and have read stories of other performers who go through the same thing.”

As the album unfolds, sparks of defiance, wanderlust and emotional resolve catch fire, through the seismic roar of “Drag You Down” to bleary and bluesy restlessness of “Going Places” to the grungy, country-rock of “Glad,” on which Ballinger pays homage to Link Wray, dispatching waves of reverb-drenched riffs. “’Glad’ is a hindsight song,” Sellers observes. “It’s me saying, ‘I’m so relieved that person isn’t in my life, and it’s better that things didn’t work out.”

“Haven’t Even Kissed Me Yet” is more gorgeous than any love song has a right to be, an “intimate, true story” that defies songwriting conventions and becomes an evocative soundscape gem. From its majestic ride-out we’re plunged into the Red Bull-fueled gonzo rock of “Trouble Maker,” on which Sellers come on like a true hellion. “I’m a big fan of Iain Archer’s records, so it was great to write with him,” she says. “The way we went at it so spontaneously sums of the spirit of the song – two people colliding but enjoying the friction.”

With “Run,” Sellers invites listeners to lie back, put on their headphones and “envision whatever they want. I wrote it as a cinematic piece.” And indeed, the song is a sustained pleasure, with Sellers’ arresting voice – almost in tone poem mode – rising majestically through an equally transfixing web of surging instrumentation.

The dreamy textures of lap steel inform “Under the Sun,” the most “country” structured song on Far From Home. Vocally, it’s a stand-out moment for Sellers, and if her luxurious voice conjures up breathtaking vistas, there’s good reason:  She wrote the track with Ballinger during a week-long camping trip in Texas. “You step outside the camper and just look up to the sky,” she says. “I was inspired by that setting, along with the wonderful feeling of togetherness we shared.”

By now, listeners have surmised that Sellers is allergic to typecasting, and on the album’s deliciously hooky closer, “One Town’s Trash,” the recent Nashville-to-L.A. transplant issues a declarative statement while basking in the sounds of ‘70s SoCal new wave.

“The song is as much about me as it is for anyone who’s ever felt unappreciated or like they were in the wrong place,” she explains. “If people don’t appreciate you for what you are, go somewhere else and find people who do. There’s no time to waste.”

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Responsible Agents Jonathan Levine
Keith Levy

Territories Worldwide except Europe

  Paul Buck

Territories Europe