If there really is no rest for the weary, then count Elvie Shane among the weariest of all. The 35-year-old singer-songwriter, who first rose to fame on American Idol in 2016, has released six EPs in 2023 alone, and he has no intention of slowing down now.
Shane is touring across the United States with fellow country music star Kameron Marlowe, who also got his start in a singing competition, The Voice. Shane has brought his raspy voice and guitar twang to countless venues, the latest of which was Nov. 10 at Vivid Music Hall in the heart of downtown Gainesville.
Shane played a selection from his discography, including his newest release, “Pill.” He opened his performance with "Country Roads," a rock anthem that thumped through the dark wooden floors at Vivid.
Shane’s first strums on his glossy black electric guitar seemed to awaken the crowd. Audience members turned to their friends excitedly, grabbing each other and jumping to the beat.
One of the concertgoers singing along to "Country Roads" was Amaya Miller, an 18-year-old Gainesville resident and the city’s self-proclaimed country queen.
“I love country music so much, it’s one of the most important things in my life,” Miller said. “Not only that, but I’m a huge Elvie Shane fan.”
Miller has been following Shane since his appearance on American Idol and bought tickets for the Nov. 10 show 10 minutes after they went on sale.
“When his audition video was first posted on YouTube, I swear, I probably watched it 10 times a day,” Miller said. “I saw that he was going to be opening for Kameron Marlowe here at Vivid and I knew I had to be here no matter the price.”
As Miller danced on the floor in front of the stage, Shane switched gears and launched into his newest song, a moody ballad called “Pill.” Released in September, “Pill” tells a tale of the opioid crisis in the rural U.S.
Shane’s hometown, Grayson County, was ranked in the top 5% of U.S. counties at risk of opioid abuse and outbreaks of HIV and Hepatitis C. The song’s premiere in September was different from the rest of Shane’s songs. The high-production music video was posted to YouTube along with a minute-long acoustic version overlaid with statistics about the opioid epidemic.
Shane channeled the latter video on stage at Vivid, sending his band off the stage and pulling a three-legged wooden stool up to his microphone. Swapping his electric guitar out for a light brown Yamaha wallpapered in stickers, Shane sang as the audience raised phone flashlights one by one and swayed in unison.
Faith Barber, a Vivid Music Hall employee, felt goosebumps as the crowd sang along.
“I’ve never seen Vivid so focused on a single person like that before,” Barber said after the concert. “Hundreds of artists have played this stage, but that may have been the most powerful show yet.”
Shane has crisscrossed the U.S. touring his songs since the beginning of this year, including a tribute to his country roots at the Mid-American Trucking Show in March. One of his favorite shows to date, the show gave him the opportunity to proudly claim his roots.
“My dad’s been a truck driver all my life,” Shane said. “Truck drivers and the truck driving industry have a special place in my heart.”
Shane’s music is mostly country, with tinges of rock and soul mixed in, but the one feature common to every song is heart. Whether he’s rocking a venue of ten people or 10,000, Shane injects every word he sings with a passion that can win over even the most staunch country music hater.
Contact Bea Lunardini at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @bealunardini