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.
Sebastian first became connected with Miranda Lambert when Lambert’s now-ex-husband, Blake Shelton, chose Sebastian for his team on the second season of The Voice. Sebastian worked with Lambert during that season’s Battle Rounds, beginning a lasting bond. These days, Sebastian tours with Lambert; not only does she provide backup vocals, but she also co-wrote three songs on Lambert’s 2016 album The Weight of These Wings.
Former “The Voice” contestant Gwen Sebastian tells Rare Country about writing a heartbreak song with pals Miranda Lambert and Anderson East.
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.
Overall, Gwen Sebastian has released a superb studio effort with Once Upon a Time in the West: Act I, which has a wide variety of songs. It is worth more than just a passing glance, and it is recommended for all fans of country music. Sebastian never disappoints. This CD garners an A rating.
Her new album Once Upon a Time in the West: Act I is available on Amazon.
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!