If you’ve heard the name Gwen Sebastian tossed around a few times in the past several months, it’s not surprising. After the country artist was eliminated just before the live shows in The Voice Season 2, her mentor Blake Shelton apparently saw something more in her; Sebastian went on to be part of touring bands for both Shelton and wife Miranda Lambert, was a featured vocalist on the song “My Eyes” on Shelton’s latest record, and has even made subsequent appearances on The Voice as a backup vocalist for Shelton.
Now poised to establish her name and sound even further, this week Gwen Sebastian saw the release of her first national, self-titled debut album—and it’s apparent the support and continued mentoring of Shelton and Lambert (Shambert? Blaranda?) are paying off. Between dirty southern rock cuts like “I’m Not Who You Think I Am” and cool ballads like “Suitcase” and “When I’m Gone,” Sebastian proves herself equal parts sass and songstress, showing great range and attitude throughout. It’s apparent she’s taken a few cues from Miranda Lambert, as well; the song title “Annie’s New Gun” seems to be a blatant tip o’ the hat to Lambert’s girl posse Pistol Annies; the song itself feels packed with gunpowder, and it even appears again at the end as a bonus track featuring Lambert herself.
While The Voice itself has yet to produce any real star power of the caliber of Idol-winner Carrie Underwood (we’ll wait and see about current champ Danielle Bradbury, another Team Blake member), Gwen Sebastian makes it clear that there is plenty of talent to be found on the show, and that there is a future for artists who don’t win. Getting booted off The Voice may have been the best thing to happen to her career. Look to hear a lot more from this one in the days ahead.