Elvie Shane Details His Deeply Personal New Song, ‘Pill’ And The Eric Church Song That Saved Him
Shane opens up about his battle with addiction thorough harrowing lyrics.
Elvie Shane; Photo by David McClister
Released today (Sept. 29), the touching tune was produced by Oscar Charles and written by Shane with Lee Starr and Nick Columbia in the form of a letter to himself from his younger brother.
Throughout the delivery, the Wheelhouse Records singer/songwriter puts his gritty vocals on display as he unleashes the incredibly raw narrative filled with personal experiences of his past and the lessons he’s taken away from being in those situations. Listeners also hear an apologetic tone that comes from Shane lending his sorrow to his loved ones who were just as affected by his addictions, his attempts to get sober, and his slip-ups that caused them to be riddled with the constant worry of what the next day might or might not bring.
“Obviously, we as artists and singers, songwriters, we want millions of people to listen to our songs and play them over and over and over again. But I think my main goal with this song is just that hopefully, even just one person hears it on a playlist or somebody sends it to them and they’re listening, it moves them in a way that when they hear ‘the porch lights on, the doors are unlocked, you go on home before it gets too dark,’ they’ll actually make that move,” Shane told Country Now and other outlets.
The line he’s referring to appears in the chorus where he welcomes the steps to recovery as he sings, “The porch lights on, the door’s unlocked / You can go on home before it gets too dark / Momma’s been worrying plum sick about you / Daddy don’t know how to live without you / How long you gonna go on this way / Losing you the more you take / Today they didn’t get you / But they might tomorrow / Don’t leave us all here with that pill to swallow.”
Going on to explain the depth behind these words that his mom always used, Shane said, “Basically, I was saying before you die, before you take the wrong pill, before you take too much of this or that…and obviously the song is called ‘Pill,’ but I’m trying to touch on so many things and different forms of illicit drugs and hard drugs that people use.”
Luckily, Shane has fought to overcome this battle and now his hope is that “Pill” will serve as a reminder to others that it’s never too late to come back home and encourage them to take the steps to find their own way out. For Shane, the song to pull him out of a dark time was Eric Church’s “Homeboy.”
“My dad sent me ‘Homeboy’ when it first came out and I was living on the wrong side of the tracks in college town. I was doing all this stuff and when I heard that song, I went home that weekend to visit just for a day and took my girlfriend,” he shared. “When we were about to leave, she was walking toward the car and I was just like, ‘I’m going to stay here.’ And my rehab, at the time, was climbing into a grain bin in the middle of July and shoveling beans at the local mill. So I’m thankful for it.”
The Kentucky native explained that having his own song that will hopefully have the same touching reaction from listeners is what making music is all about for him.
“I think that the only way to really reach people like under the skin with music is to just let the music be what it is and do what it does…I feel like when I hear something that I would call ‘real music,’ it’s that it doesn’t sound like there was any parameters put around it or any fences or anything. It was just able to be what it wanted to be.”
The new release was paired with an equally touching video that finds him pacing the streets of New York City on the phone, watching the world go by as he attempts to save his family members from their addictions. Unfortunately, the end of the clip shows Shane dressed in all black as he makes his way into a funeral home, leading viewers to believe his efforts to try and saved his loved ones did not get through in time. Once the screen goes black, a message appears to read “More than 600,000 people worldwide die from drug use every year.”
“Pill” follows a string of new releases from Elvie Shane, including “Jonesin’,” “Baptized” and “Forgotten Man,” and also serves as a further glimpse into his forthcoming, yet-to-be-announced next project.
The “My Boy” singer revealed that his next album will be named partly after a type of steel called Damascus, which involves a mix of various steel heated up and joined together to make a blade.
“It’s got a bunch of lines in it and stuff, and it’s from all those different elements being pressed together,” he explained before adding, “That also gave me freedom to just do whatever I wanted to. I want to have a narrative behind anything that I’m doing, but it gave me the freedom to really reach out and kind of throw spaghetti at the wall. Just like, let the music be what it is.”
The title also refers to the biblical story of the Apostle Paul and the road to Damascus, which remains alive in the present day, as Shane has experienced firsthand.
“It’s pretty popular story from the Bible, but it’s also just used as a figure of speech these days to say that someone’s on a road to enlightenment. I definitely felt like I was on a road and I wanted to be enlightened. I just didn’t know where I was going, I just knew if I kept going, I’m going to find something, and I literally didn’t find it until I wrote this song myself a few weeks ago called ‘Does Heaven Have a Creek’ and it ends up being the last song on the record.”
He continued, “I already had the idea to pull from so many different influences and it almost felt like just a gift from God that idea because not only was I on this road to trying to figure things out and this road to Damascus, but then the thought came to me of the steel one day and I was like, well, that’s literally what I’m trying to do in my head with this music.”
He even teased that several of the tracks will be written from the perspective of someone else he’s crossed paths with in life at some point or another. In order to accurately paint the picture of their personal struggles, Shane attempts to step into their shoes and bring light to the various social issues.
“My goal is for people to be able to listen and maybe close your eyes for three minutes and like, ‘oh, this must be what it feels like’ because I think it’s so easy to write people off like addicts or convicts or people that just live ways that we disagree with or nothing. I just didn’t want anything to be off the table for this. I wanted to explore things that even I disagree with, but sing about them from a place of understanding and empathy so that maybe I could know what it feels like to talk that way instead of the way my knee-jerk reaction to respond to things, social, political, whatever it is.”
Sonically, this next collection will vary greatly from his previous projects as it features tunes inspired by Springsteen, Mac Miller, Foo Fighters as well as a bit of punk rock that was drawn from his younger years.
“It’s a concept record. I don’t know exactly how I’m going to line it up, but I know how it starts and how it finishes. And people are going to be like, what the hell has gotten into this dude? But I think in the best way possible.”
Along with working hard on this deep collection of songs, Elvie Shane is also preparing to join Kameron Marlowe for eight dates of his I Can Lie Tour this fall, beginning in Los Angeles, CA on Oct. 26.
Elvie Shane is next set to perform in Lexington, KY tonight and Mount Airy, NC on Saturday, Sept. 30, followed by a slot at Riverfront Revival next weekend in North Charleston, NC on Oct. 7.
Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.