The Resurrection of Elvie Shane Plays Out on New Album, ‘Backslider’
Elvie Shane was born on a Sunday. And for a good portion of his life, on that designated holy day, the Kentucky native could be found at church, singing hymns, reciting prayers and preaching sermons -- until he found himself questioning the faith on which he'd been raised.
“I was struggling with what I believed and what I didn't,” the “My Boy” singer admitted from the back of his brand-new tour bus, just a few hours before he headed onstage to open for Brooks & Dunn at a stop on their 2021 Reboot Tour. “I went through a period where I didn't know if I believed in anything, you know? And then as I went down that path, that kind of took me down a darker road.”
It's that darker road that listeners will hear bits and pieces of on Shane’s debut album, Backslider. The record arrived on Friday (Oct. 29).
“Maybe being a backslider is not necessarily a bad thing to be,” notes Shane, who was raised mostly on the music of Steve Earle and Dwight Yoakam, which blared through his speakers while he "drank beer and worked on cars."
“It's just human. I feel like, as human beings, we wake up and have the best of intentions for ourselves and the people around us, but then, you falter throughout the day," he continues. "But the thing about being a backslider is, you understand that as a human, you're going to do that and you're going to make mistakes. But can you wake up tomorrow and try to do better than you did?”
Shane had that epiphany in his mid-20s. That seemingly endless dark road led him to a light and, in turn, to a resurrection of sorts.
“The road has always been such a dear friend and mortal enemy in my life,” Shane explains. “This album hits on all the things that I once was running from -- but it also hits on the fact that I am now running to so many things that are so much better for me, such as my music and my family.”
In order to fully know Shane, fans should listen to Backslider in its entirety. “Each song is a portion of my life,” he says. “It might take some time to consume it, but I want people to hear from beginning to end.”
Shane's family -- starting with his wife, Mandi -- have served as the backbone of the music that's put him on the map. “My wife is such a pure person,” he explains with a smile. “I'm a little more neon. She's a little more stained glass.
"The night I met her, I quit everything that I was doing," Shane adds after a pause. "And then, the next day, I went back to the bar because I want to see her again. And she told me she had a 5-year-old little boy. And I was like, 'Well, there's two big reasons to make some changes,' you know? ... It might sound cliche, but we wouldn't be sitting here right now if it wasn’t for him."
That 5-year-old inspired Shane's debut single, the No. 1 hit "My Boy," which he wrote alongside Russell Sutton, Nick Columbia and Lee Starr. But the story Shane is now writing is becoming even greater by the minute, as he and Mandi recently welcomed a baby girl, Zaelyn, to their family.
“She will only know this version of me,” Shane says quietly. “And this version of me that you see right now is probably my better version.
"There are still others," he adds, "but, yeah, this is better.”