Chase Rice offers up the mellow ballad “Lonely If You Are” and Caroline Jones heads south in “Gulf Coast Girl,” plus new releases from Gwen Sebastian and Jedd Hughes in this week’s list of must-hear songs.
Gwen Sebastian, “Rock Stars”
For the past decade, Gwen Sebastian has juggled her solo career with a high-profile gig as a sidewoman for Miranda Lambert and other headliners. On “Rock Stars,” she fuels an anthemic, mid-tempo song with PG-13 come-ons and NSFW admissions, singing lines like “I confess I bought this dress just to let you tear it off” with a voice that’s often more powerful and potent than those of her employers.
There are a solid handful of songs on the radio empowering women and reminding them that they have choices and control over their lives and bodies. Some sound angry and defiant, others sound celebratory and triumphant, some are nostalgic and sweet, others are just downright fun. Now, Gwen Sebastian’s new single, “Rock Stars,” gives the choice and control a sultry spin.
While the groove is slow-rolling and the production in the intro hints at a dark seduction, the chorus opens up to cradle Gwen’s shimmering vocal, changing the tone ever-so-slightly from tantalizing to titillating while still maintaining the edgy groove established from the start.
“It’s about bringing passion back into a relationship from a female perspective that’s said in an untraditional way,” Gwen says of “Rock Stars.”
Lyrics like, “Been too long since I led you on and led you down the hall, and let you catch me, let you press me up against the wall. I confess I bought this dress just to let you tear it off,” leave little question as to what the singer’s motives are and who is in control of the forthcoming activities. The song also serves as a solid reminder that while women are letting their voices be heard loudly and clearly in the workplace, on social media, and in politics, they are also entitled to ask for exactly what they want in the bedroom.
Or in the back seat. Or on the kitchen table. You know, whatevs. And if they ask like Gwen, they’re very likely to get it. “Rock Stars” is the newest release from Gwen’s upcoming album, Once Upon a Time in the West: Act II and was co-written by Gwen, Blue Foley and Randall Clay.
Behind (or beside) every great artist, there’s often a backup singer. Those men and women add layers to a star’s live performance, yes, but they also have incredible voices themselves. After all, they’re making a living backing up superstars.
Some of the best backup singers in country and Americana have names you likely know (hi, Gwen Sebastian!). Some have fan followings all their own (just watch how the crowd reacts next time Chris Stapleton introduces his wife during a concert). All are 100-percent worthy of a spotlight all their own.
Gwen Sebastian, ‘Once Upon a Time in the West, Act 1’
There’ve been a million songs written about how hard it is for a person making their living on the road, but it’s rare you hear the perspective of the person who’s left behind at home. That’s what Gwen Sebastian’s new song, “I’m Not With the Band,” is all about. As a touring musician who is married to another musician, Gwen knows firsthand how hard it is to be away from your significant other when one of you is on the road and the other one is home alone.
Gwen tells Rare Country, “It’s difficult. We love what we do, and we’re so lucky to be able to do music for a living. So, I mean, it sounds like something that we shouldn’t be whining about, but you sacrifice a lot. Musicians sacrifice a lot. Husbands and wives that are at home sacrifice a lot as well. You have to find that balance of being happy on the road and coming home, too. You get used to being on the road. It’s so hard to come back and be involved in normal life again.”
These days, Gwen is busy on the road singing harmony with her pal, Miranda Lambert. Gwen and Miranda co-wrote “I’m With the Band” with along with their friend April Lewis and Miranda’s boyfriend, Anderson East. The ladies were on the West Coast on a girls’ trip to watch one of Anderson’s shows when they all got together at the hotel for a songwriting session. “I’m With the Band” is the product of that collaboration.
Country songstress Gwen Sebastian has released her new studio album, “Once Upon a Time in the West: Act I” via Flying Island Entertainment.
The album was produced by Louis Newman. It opens with the sultry title cut, “Once Upon a Time in the West,” which features her crisp and crystalline voice. It is followed by the sassy and mid-tempo “Blue Flame” and the bluesy ballad “Cadillac.”
“Wing and a Feather” features the gorgeous harmonies of country darling Ashley Monroe. “Love Birds” has a stirring melody to it, and it continues with the spitfire “Ain’t All That Bad.”
Sebastian’s vocals are poetic and heavenly on “Cry to Jackson,” where the listener can recall veteran country star Pam Tillis. Equally impressive is the acoustic ballad “Losers and Lashes,” which is pure country. Her single “Quicksand” is another gem, as Digital Journal reported.
Her duet “Oh Cowboy” with country queen Miranda Lambert is fantastic, and easily one of the top tracks on the album. After “I’m Not With the Band,” the album closes with the sassy “Drunk or Stoned” and the heart-wrenching ballad “Way to Go,” where she showcases tremendous control over her voice.
On Thursday, Nov. 16, I spent a little time on the telephone with Gwen Sebastian. It was short interview, but I got a lot of information that I will be sharing with you. I’m not going to post that interview with you today, however. Because telling you about her new album, “Once Upon A Time In The West:Act 1”, which is being released tomorrow (Nov. 17), really needs to be done first. Gwen did talk about the album in the interview, so you will get to read what she had to say about it later. But for now, I need to tell you about this great music.
I listened to the album today. And, I don’t mind telling you I listened a lot more than once. The album has 13 songs, and just about 13 completely different musical styles. If you like music that sounds like a well blended mix of country, soul, blues, contemporary country, and maybe even a tiny touch of jazz, this is your album.
I had heard the song “Cadillac” quite some time ago, and I just fell in love with it. I wasn’t the only one. It was written by Gwen Sebastian, April Lewis, Miranda Lambert, and debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes chart.
This is the kind of album I listen to, and immediately want to share it. I found myself wanting to call friends on the phone, and just tell them – I can’t wait for you to hear this new music from Gwen Sebastian!
“Wing and Feather”, which features Ashley Monroe, is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard in a long time. It is a slow song, with a soothing sound, and some of the best lyrics. ‘If a wing don’t need a feather, and a saddle don’t need leather; if a lining don’t need silver, a diamond don’t need glitter; if songs don’t need a title, needles don’t need vinyl, I don’t need you’. They are the kind of lyrics you remember.
In our interview today, we talked a little about the song “Oh, Cowboy”. Gwen said that was one of her favorite songs (that she wrote). I think it’s one of mine, too. We will get into the story behind that song when the interview is posted. This is a great song, with a great story, and one of the songs on the album that I think would work on the radio stations that claim they play ‘today’s country’.
Just a brief mention of “I’m Not With the Band” and “Losers and Lashes”. Two more of my favorites on this album – so I hope no one tells me I have to pick just one favorite. I couldn’t do it. And, when you all listen to this album, you aren’t going to be able to do it either.
“Love Birds” and “Ain’t All That Bad” are a somewhere between mid-tempo and up-tempo. But, we certainly aren’t talking ‘up’ as in really fast, rock music stuff. This is an example of what I meant when I mentioned different kinds of songs; different styles. These two are so different from “Cadillac” and “Cry to Jackson”.
There seem to be more slow to mid-tempo songs that the upbeat ones. But that’s okay. Every song showcases Gwen’s vocals., which are so perfect. I couldn’t listen to “Way to Go” and not smile, just listening to her voice.
The song “Drunk or Stoned” isn’t a song you might want to sing along to, but it is one you are going to pay attention to the lyrics. When she opened with “Way down in Southern Alabama, there’s five kids screamin’ for their mama…” I just wanted to know where she was going from there. I don’t always listen to an album with the though in my head that I really want to see this artist on stage. But, I thought that this time. I’ve seen Gwen on stage a long time ago. After hearing the music on this album, I want to see her again.
Here is your cover, and your track listing. Now all you have to do is pick one up, and enjoy!
Download “Quicksand” today at iTunes or your favorite online music store.
Friday, November 24, 2017
Bellemehus Auditorium | Bismarck, ND
Tickets available at the Bismarck Event Center Box Office.
Call 800-514-3849 | Or, go online to Etix.com
Cadillac is a very well crafted, mature, hauntingly beautiful and wonderfully chilling song that gives you goosebumps. The song holds such an honest country sound with gorgeous, emotive vocals and somewhat melancholic yet longing, hopeful lyrics that really grab you – leaving you feeling captivated.