Gwen Sebastian, ‘Once Upon a Time in the West, Act 1’

It takes one to know one, and Miranda Lambert knows ’em for sure, particularly in the case of Gwen Sebastian, a member of her current touring band, backing vocalist on Platinum and The Weight of These Wings, and occasional songwriting partner (the duo co-wrote three songs on TWOTW.). But Sebastian, who was once a contestant on The Voice, has a dynamic artistic perspective all her own, and Once Upon a Time in the West, Act 1 is an intimate and expertly sung exploration that starts in the saloon, walks through (and stomps over) the heart and ends at a solemn, dusty piano. With plenty of spitfire attitude (“Love Birds”), romantic laments (“Oh Cowboy,” featuring Lambert) and dangerous, barn-burning twangers (“Blue Flame”), it’s a fully realized snapshot of an artist who should no longer be in the background. M.M.


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