Country Jukebox Jury EP: Elvie Shane – County Roads

Over six tracks, Kentucky-raised Elvie Shane announces himself as a cross between Kip Moore and Eric Church, with even bigger drums. My Boy has become a little engine that could, a song about stepfatherhood that has a gentle groove and a strong message: Elvie’s life in a song. After six months on radio it is now in the Top 30, with an audience of over 3.6m listeners and over 1600 weekly plays on big stations, alongside songs by Brantley Gilbert, Jason Aldean and Dylan Scott. He’s better than all three of them, I think.

There’s plenty of Broadway-style rockin’ out to the title track, with some na-na-nas adding a singalongability. The song is a statement of intent, something to drink to thanks to the ‘here’s to’ lyric. Sundress, however, is a ballad in the Kip or Aldean vein about a girl and a car and sneaking off for some fun, while My Mississippi opens with a quick blast of organ before Elvie sings the praises of the eponymous river: ‘I know a girl a lot like you’ switches the narrative to love being like a river. It’s a smart song set to three familiar chords.

Keep On Strummin’ has him ‘running down a dream’ and will ‘hit the ground runnin’ while he plays his guitar. There’s a nice nod to Sixteenth Avenue, both the street and the song which details songwriters coming to town with a guitar and a dream. We get loads of references to famous country songs – Where I Come From, Fortunate Son, Born To Run – and Elvie is working in the tradition of Tom Petty, Alan Jackson, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Bruce Springsteen. I gotta have more cowbell! Kip Moore fans will find much to enjoy and if I heard this in a Broadway bar, I would pop a five-dollar bill in the jar.

Sundays In The South majors on twang before listing Southern images: NASCAR, potholes, church bells and spiritual songs like I’ll Fly Away and Amazing Grace. The Cadillac Three do this sort of thing and it’s credit to Elvie that this can stand alongside it.

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