“Sure gets dark before the light of day,” sings Aubrie Sellers in her new song “Light of Day,” which slinks in like a cowgirl who’s traded her boots and denim for leather and lace but explodes into fuzzed-out, twangy bliss. With country roots (and country genes — she’s the daughter of Lee Ann Womack) but a gritty soul, Sellers writes music that gets its southern kicks from her pristine quiver while favoring restless electric guitar over sleepy acoustics. It’s all on full display in the performance video for “Light of Day,” premiering exclusively above, that both begins and fades into darkness with a shimmer of reverb.
“The song developed from a very simple, familiar place of being stuck in a rut, and not seeing a way out,” Sellers tells Rolling Stone Country about the track, written with Adam Wright, from her upcoming debut LP, New City Blues. “But we brought elements of bluegrass, country, blues and rock together in one song, and it was the beginning of a particular sound and attitude that the rest of the record expands upon.”
For the video, Sellers — one of Rolling Stone Country‘s Artists You Need to Know — brought her band to American Legion Post 82 in East Nashville and laid down a performance of the song that could have put the “country” and “blues” back in CBGB. With her mischievous glare and occasional warp-focus moment, it rings more like a live clip from YouTube than a manufactured concoction. Which, Sellers explains, was fully intentional.
“I love narrative videos,” she says, “but sometimes I think they can limit a listener’s experience of a song. It’s very important to me that every person takes away their own meaning from a song, and it’s why I don’t always love spelling out what a song is about for somebody. So at this very early stage in my career, I want people to experience the music first, and let it drive their imagination and their experiences.”
Produced by Frank Liddell, New City Blues is 14 tracks (written or co-written by Sellers) that blend a classic country vocal with Led Zeppelin licks or use pedal steel for a Laurel Canyon sheen instead of the predictability of a honky-tonk pluck. It’s a unique point of view that’s still fully immersed in the genre, something that makes her a natural opening act for Chris Stapleton — someone who also seamlessly blends the past with the present. Sellers, who has previously toured with Hayes Carll, will play a series of dates with the CMA Album of the Year winner in 2016.
“I’ve known Chris and Morgane [Stapleton] for a long time,” Sellers says, “and I used to go to all the SteelDrivers shows with them almost 10 years ago when Chris was still in the band and watch him blow smaller rooms away every night. To watch all the recognition and growth happening for him right now is incredible, and being able to play shows with them during this era of his career feels like being a very tiny part of history being made.”
She’ll put the wheels in motion towards her own legacy when New City Blues is released on January 29th on Carnival Records via Thirty Tigers. It’s available for preorder starting today.