Elvie Shane Leans into Love on New LP, ‘Backslider”; Shares Exclusive Video for “Love, Cold Beer, Cheap Smoke”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Like many, Caneyville, Kentucky-born Elvie Shane grew up singing in church. But now, unlike many, Shane is singing around the world in front of thousands. The way Shane tells the story is that he was born on a Sunday and by the following week, his mother had him wrapped in a hymnal in a tiny church in his small hometown. But even before then, Shane was likely first introduced to music from the ‘90s country radio station in the car ride home from the hospital after he’d first arrived on earth.

Ever since, Shane has been singing hymns with his mother and listening to country music on the radio, especially on those occasions he’d join his dad, a professional mechanic, on jobs around the state. He remembers Steve Earle, Otis Redding, Dwight Yoakam. And it’s all this and more that binds the stories and songs on Shane’s newest LP, Backslider, which is out today (October 29).

“I like to say that I had a good balance of rock and roll and Jesus growing up,” Shane says. “And country music has been the great mediator in between them.”

While the album is comprised of autobiographical stories and elements taken directly and intimately from Shane’s life, a through-line on the LP is the concept of love, whether that’s for his family, his music, his faith or with having a good time and, as Shane says, getting into a little bit of trouble. But none of these aspects of Shane’s life would impact his art in the way they do if it wasn’t for his sense of honesty and personal integrity.

And this is the stuff that comprises his newest music video for the single “Love, Cold Beer, Cheap Smoke,” premiering on American Songwriter below.

“Man,” he says, “I think honesty and vulnerability is the main glue for this entire record. Within this record, you’re just going to hear a slew of human experiences. These stories are true to me.”

Yet, despite these songs reading so biographically, Shane acknowledges a sense of universality to the music, too. He says there are lots of folks just like him, people who’ve grown up in small towns, people raised in church with their families, that will resonate with what he’s put to melody.

“There’s a strong faith foundation established from a young age in most families in the southeastern United States,” Shane says. “There’s a pride for being blue-collar and a hard worker and doing the jobs that no one else wants to do or people don’t aspire to do but that you know got to get done and that put food on our tables. The flip side of that is that you work so hard, man, you got to have a little bit of fun!”

Sometimes the only fun that can be found, Shane offers, comes with a little bit of trouble. But no good story is without a little bit of drama. And art often imitates life.

“You not only learn about love,” Shane says, “but you learn about cold beer and cheap smoke, too!”

For Shane, music has been the one constant throughout his entire life. In this way, he says it’s always invested in him, so he knew he had to invest in it. He remembers trying to sing like John Fogerty, he liked the tenor range. Up high is where the money is, Shane says. But the artist learned one of his greatest lessons during a brief stint with American Idol in 2016. Wrapped up in the whirlwind that is the show, Shane learned some important humility. Growing up in Kentucky, he would generally receive positive feedback for singing, but when he performed for the likes of Keith Urban, he learned he needed to do more.

“He looked at me, like, ‘Alright, that was really cool and you might be able to play a show on Friday night and the following Friday, the people who saw you might bring three of their friends to see you, but can you do what it takes [beyond that]?’”

Urban asked Shane if he could perform at night, wake up for a radio interview in the morning, get back out on the road and do it all again. Essentially, what Urban told Shane was there is much more to this job than just singing well. But Shane met the challenge and generated a newfound work ethic. All thanks to an off-air comment from Urban.

“I sent him a real long letter right before I put out [my single], ‘My Boy,’” Shane says. “I wanted to let him know how much I appreciated what he’d said.”

Looking to the future, Shane says he can’t wait to get out on the road again in 2021. Connecting with fans is how he will look to build now—one person at a time, one fist bump at a time from the stage. But part of that is the support Shane and other up-and-comers like him receive from the well-established. Country music is good about recognizing the next generation, and Shane says he’s grateful for the help he receives from artists like Miranda Lambert, Travis Tritt, and a number of others.

“I sat with Jason Aldean for four hours, just me and him,” Shane says, “after our first show together, talking about where we come from. We’re very similar people.” Shane adds, “Music should do three things: heal you, hurt you or make you want to cut loose. I’m always there for any three of those, you just got to find the right song.”

BACKSLIDER – Official Track Listing:
 
1. I Will Run
(Elvie Shane, Doug Johnson, Adam Wood)
 
2. Love, Cold Beer, Cheap Smoke
(Elvie Shane, Russell Sutton, Drew Green)
 
3. Sundays In The South
(Elvie Shane, Derrick Southerland, Albert E. Brumley)
 
4. Sundress
(Elvie Shane, Doug Johnson, Adam Wood)
 
5. County Roads
(Elvie Shane, Dan Couch, Oscar Charles)
 
6. Rocket Science
(Elvie Shane, Joybeth Taylor, Jakob Miller, Oscar Charles)
 
7. My Kinda Trouble
(Elvie Shane, Erik Dylan, Ray Fulcher)
 
8. Kickin’ Stones (with The Fletch)
(Fred Eltringham, Steve Mackey, Rob McNelley, Tom Bukovac, Kris Donegan, Matt Nolen)
 
9. Saturday Night Me
(Elvie Shane, Doug Johnson, Adam Wood)
 
10. My Boy
(Elvie Shane, Russell Sutton, Nick Columbia, Lee Starr)
 
11. Heartbreaks & Headaches
(Elvie Shane, Dakota Payton)
 
12. Nothin’ Lasts Forever (with Tenille Townes)
(Elvie Shane, Luke Preston, Oscar Charles, Matt Willis)
 
13. Keep On Strummin’
(Elvie Shane, Dan Couch, Oscar Charles, Clinton Payton)
 
14. My Mississippi
(Elvie Shane, Jakob Miller)
 
15. Miles (with My Mama)
(Elvie Shane, Jonathan Sherwood, Luke Preston)

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