CMT Next Women of Country Tour Hits New York City

Tanya Tucker CMT Next Women

There are tons of venues in New York City, but Town Hall is one that seems a bit grander than all the others and an appropriate place for the legend herself, Tanya Tucker on the CMT Next Women of Country Tour. Aubrie Sellers opened, on the day of her new record release, Far From Home, gracing the stage wearing a fabulous red blazer and sparkly eyeshadow. She opened with “Light of Day” from her first record, New City Blues. The crowd, slightly mesmerized by the ease she presented, might not have known her before but found a liking for her sound. “Far From Home” was next, and was even more soothing than the first. You could hear a pin drop, everyone in the crowd was so engaged.

Aubrie Sellers CMT Next Women

Sellers calls her music “garage country” because she likes guitars, evidenced by her guitar player who really used all tones of the instrument and her comment that there are four guitar players on her new record. She played “Just to Be With You”, and “Worried Mind”, about her anxiety throughout her life. “Haven’t Even Kissed Me Yet” offers a raw depiction of the story that’s happening inside one’s head as they’re not sure about the future of a specific relationship. She shares a vulnerable sight into all of the emotions that come with that.

Brandy Clark CMT Next Women

Brandy Clark followed Sellers, with her comedic and catchy “Get High”, about a girl she went to high school with. Her new album Your Life is a Record comes out March 6th, and it is sure to be a hit. “Hold My Hand” was incredibly moving, and the harmonies by guitarist Jeff Malinowski (who she met on Tuesday) were the perfect combination. Cellist Kaitlyn Raitz was also a perfect addition, giving the smooth sound that only strings can. “Daughter” and “Love Can Go To Hell” were other favorites of the night.

CMT Next Women

Tanya Tucker, a recent GRAMMY winner, has an iconic voice that is easily recognizable. “Bring My Flowers Now” was a soothing tune of the night, while “Ridin’ Out The Heartache” brought the fire and a few dance moves from Tucker. “Blood Red and Going Down” was another hit, with the beautiful back-up vocals and the entire band engaged. What an iconic night in country music, celebrating the amazing women of country.



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NYCS Swag Spotlight Featuring Renee Blair

Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, Renee Blair wasn’t always a country fan, she tells New York Country Swag in our most recent interview. Yes, the Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, and Tanya Tucker, of course, played a big part in her childhood, but ultimately The Spice Girls and even the rise of Nelly really cultivated her love for performing.  After taking voice lessons and dance classes her entire childhood, Blair knew that there was no plan B for her career, she was going to be an artist. “I had to be perfecting my voice and my performance and I was really addicted to music. I’ve never even thought about the fact that my life was meant to do something else. As much as I loved the popstars and that music, I definitely think I picked the right genre, the way that country music tells stories, I think I finally have a story to tell,” she explains.

Her story includes moving to Nashville when she was right out of high school, two tragic accidents within the same year, and a regrowth period that now involves mega producer and songwriter Shane McAnally.  After moving to town, she, like so many people, thought that with her abilities, she would have an overnight success story, but looking back now realizes that her trials and tribulations with life and pursuing the career doesn’t always go as planned.  A car accident and then a boating accident which left her arm paralyzed for 6 months, changed her perspective and left her wondering where her place was in the music industry. “I kind of went through a few years of questioning life and myself and my purpose, moving to Nashville for this dream and now I was just known as the accident girl and music was what really kept me going and as corny as it sounds, it made me want to wake up in the morning and try to get better,” she tells us.

The little girl from St. Louis who rocked a piece of tape on her cheek in homage to Nelly while in Catholic school laughs as she explains how Nelly’s rise to stardom influences her music today. “I think it is a huge testament to where music is right now, it’s becoming very cross-genre. I think it’s awesome,” she says of his recent collaboration with Florida Georgia Line.  “The fans are the best judgment, they just like good music and they don’t care what you call it and I think it is a great way to just bring everyone together.”

Her debut single, released earlier this year, “Gotta Quit Drinkin'”  is as real life as it gets and definitely has that R&B vibe while telling a story.  Blair explains that mistakes she has made over the past couple of years with ex-boyfriends only happen after she’s had that second or third drink. “All day long I never text this dude, but as soon as I have my second drink my thumbs go wild and I’m all ‘Where are you’ and ‘I miss you’,” she laughs. After it became a running joke with her friends, she took the experience that is completely relatable into the writing room one day and “Gotta Quit Drinkin” was written.  “We definitely told the truth and in songwriting it is all you can ask for, every word of that I did and I lived it, there are other songs that I’ve written that might have better radio success but this is a great representation of where I’ve been at, its authentic to my story,” Blair says.

Blair is working on her debut EP which is being produced by Shane McAnally and released by SMACK Songs. McAnally who has worked closely with country megastars such as Sam Hunt, Old Dominion, Kacey Musgraves and has written hits for tons of other artists is helping to shape the music Blair is releasing. One interesting anecdote that she explains is how he caters his talents to each artist individually, helping to keep each sound unique.  “He helps to bring a light to the artist and pull out the best parts of them, he has really helped me tap into myself and asked me questions that I haven’t even thought about,” she says of her working relationship with the producer.  “He is a great person, with all of the success that someone has had, he is still kind to people and works really hard, he is so kind and I think the world of him.”

She already has an album’s worth of songs that she has written and is working to record new music and hopefully release a few tracks later this fall.  She is opening for Billy Currington in October on three of his Texas dates.  “I am so excited to do those dates, I’ve been in the writing mode for 2-3 years so I am so excited to get the music out to the fans and start playing it all,” Blair says of finally getting on the road.

Follow her journey on her social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.



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