Elvie Shane’s Debut Album ‘Backslider’ Offers An Honest Look At His Personal & Musical Journey [Interview]
Rising country artist Elvie Shane took the country music industry by storm with his No. 1 hit “My Boy,” which tells the emotional story of Shane’s bond with his stepson. After the track went viral on social media in 2018, Shane caught the attention of many, earning him a publishing deal and eventually his record deal with BBR Music Group. He was also named as part of MusicRow‘s Next Big Thing Class of 2021.
Today (Oct. 29), Shane is releasing his debut album Backslider via BRR’s Wheelhouse Records.
The album features 15 songs, all of which were co-written by Shane, about his love for his family, friends and his journey thus far. The album is an authentic country record that isn’t scared to show off Shane’s other influences like southern rock, R&B and gospel.
“I started writing the record about five years ago with ‘My Boy,’ and then I signed my record deal thinking I had a whole record put together. They told me right after we signed that they only thought I had one song, and that was ‘My Boy,'” says Shane. “So every other song has been written after February of 2018. The last few years, we’ve just been digging in and trying to write some honest songs. We took a look at where I’ve been, where I come from, where I’m at now and tried to put it all in a story with some music behind it.”
Shane, a Kentucky native, enlisted songwriters Derrick Southerland, Russell Sutton, Lee Starr, Nick Columbia and many more for the project. The summer after signing his record deal, he was writing with many Nashville songwriters and was learning a lot about his craft.
“It was awesome. I went through a phase right after my deal where I just wrote with everyone in town. I was in a room with people that I shouldn’t have been in the room with, that were well above me as writers. But it was awesome to be able to be in there and learn from them about how to approach writing more efficiently.
“It was really cool to just go through the process and find the people who were really interested in what I was trying to say and help me say it in a way that was true to me. And I think we put a great team of writers together, for this project in particular. I’m excited to continue writing with those folks. But also watch that team grow throughout the years.”
The record has some familiar Shane originals like “County Roads” and “My Kinda Trouble.” But the opening track, “I Will Run,” is a fantastic showcase of Shane as a singer and gives insight on his journey. The song, written with Doug Johnson and Adam Wood, is about how Shane has always felt on the run and has never stopped moving. Now, as he gets older, he’s trying to run to the things and the people he loves. The song sets the stage for the rest of the record.
“I feel like I’m always on the go, I’m definitely born to run. There’s a lot of things in life that I have run from and now that life is better than it ever has been, there’s a lot of things I feel like I’m running to now.
“I was like, ‘Let’s start at the end. This is where we are now, but what got us here?'” Shane says of writing the song. “I went through the things that I’ve run from in my life, like the recklessness of youth, the love loss, the love found, the mistakes made, and how often we take it for granted.”
Along with writing for the album, Shane loved the creativity he and his studio band had when recording the album.
“I really enjoyed so many different aspects of [making the album]. I love going into my producer’s [Oscar Charles] studio, when it’s just me and him and we’re trying to figure out what we hear behind just me and a guitar. That’s always a lot of fun to create those parts together and go in and play it for the studio band,” says Shane. “I think the thing that I love most about all of it was just seeing these players have fun doing what they’re doing. They get to be that kid again that was 10 or 12 years old and decided they wanted to play an instrument. I’m super proud of the band.”
The one song that Shane is most proud of and is most excited for fans to hear is the last track on the record, “Miles (With Mama).” He originally wrote it as a tribute to his father who was a truck driver. He set out to be extremely honest when writing about his father, with his faults and all. During this process he reflected on himself and his struggle of being on the road constantly, which led to him discovering a new-found empathy for his father. What also makes the song special is he had the chance to sing it with his mother, who was the foundation for his love for music.
“For a lot of these songs, I tried to approach them with as much honesty as I possibly could. But that song in particular is 100%, from beginning to end, a very vulnerable and honest song,” says Shane. “I got to have my mother sing on that song with me, one of my very first inspirations as a singer. She sings harmonies with me. So that song is very close to my heart.”
Shane’s debut album, Backslider, is filled with honesty, great musicianship and tells his story the way he wanted to tell it.
“Throughout the record there’s an order of things that starts with my youth, my Sunday mornings, and my running around as a teenager. Then you get to ‘My Kinda Trouble,’ ‘Saturday Night Me’ and ‘My Boy.’ That’s what I like to call the Mandy years in the record, from when I met my wife and how she turned my life around. Then my Nashville years start after that, with not only stories about myself, but songs that we wrote as a tribute to country music and what I love about it,” Shane sums. “Everything [on the album] are things that I’ve ran from and ultimately led me to run right back into them, just from a different perspective.”
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