EPs and covers have turned out to be a fantastic way for artists to stay viable during the open dumpster fire that is 2020. Aubrie Sellers, who just released a full-length album, Far from Home, in February (six months ago on the calendar, six years ago in our hearts), has brought her distinct brand of garage country to a new EP of covers, World on Fire.
Sellers may already have the best cover of the year (“My Love Will Not Change,” featuring Steve Earle, is a grungy-fun listen), but she bumps up against that with her take on “Wicked Game,” the Chris Isaak classic. While the original is sad and mysterious, Sellers’ take is more ominous, due mainly to an onrush of guitar from her collaborator/boyfriend Ethan Ballinger. The emotional heft, though, relies on Sellers’ dream-like vocals.
The deepest cut on the EP is “Somebody Was Watching,” written by Brenda Burns and famously covered by Pops Staples, gospel-blues guitarist and the late head of the Staples singers. In Sellers’ hands, the song retains its message of salvation – “Each day my only plan/Have a bottle in my hand” becomes “Now my bad time is better than my good time used to be” – but the tone is a little more rebellious. Garage gospel, perhaps?
The short EP wraps with “A Thousand Miles from Nowhere,” Dwight Yoakam’s timeless take on loneliness, packed with gems like “I’ve got bruises on my memory.” Sellers’ melancholy reading reflects the drift that we’re all feeling right now. “I’m a thousand miles from nowhere/And there’s no place I’d rather be,” she sings. Even though there are places we’d wish to be, we know we can’t get there right now.
World on Fire can be streamed here: https://ffm.to/aswof.ofp
Go here to purchase World on Fire t-shirts and copies of Far from Home: https://stores.portmerch.com/aubriesellers/
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