Raised in Allegan County, the Americana/rock artist boasts a bright future, propelled by a new album on a Nashville record label. He’s the latest winner of Local Spins’ award. Story, Local Spins podcast, videos.
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Despite getting signed to a Nashville record label, landing Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb for his first bona fide studio album and touring the country to receptive audiences, Myron Elkins still feels a bit shy about his status as an up-and-coming Americana artist.
“I never feel like a real musician. I just don’t know how to play that character,” the 22-year-old singer and guitarist from Otsego insists.
But with 2023 release of that Cobb-produced album, “Factories, Farms & Amphetamines,” on Elektra Records’ Low Country Sound label, Elkins has taken another major step forward just three years or so after first making inroads with his country-hued songs and his band, The Dying Breed.
By virtue of his authentically forthright lyrics, head-turning voice and formidable up-side potential, Local Spins today names Elkins its 2023 Emerging Artist of the Year, an award presented to the singer-songwriter at this year’s WYCE Jammie Awards at The Intersection in Grand Rapids.
“When I heard I got Emerging Artist of the Year, my first thought was ‘Really? Oh yeah, I guess I am an artist,’” Elkins relates. “As dumb as that sounds, I have a hard time with feeling like a legitimate artist, but when this happened, it really beat down some of my redneck pride and opened my eyes to the reality that I am a writer and musician no matter how many times I use ‘ain’t’ in a song.
“This award doesn’t eliminate that unworthiness, but it does chip away at a long built-up mentality of being just a ‘people’ and for that, I thank local spins for the touch of courage and entitlement that’s hard to come by – especially for a Midwesterner’s heart.”
That heart has endeared itself to a legion of Michigan fans who’ve supported and celebrated Elkins and band’s rise in prominence.
During January’s album-release show at Elevation inside The Intersection, a wall-to-wall crowd of fans – many of them from Allegan County – toasted Elkins’ music, which flaunts rootsy rock muscle in a live setting.
SUPPORT BACK HOME, LOTS OF TOURING AHEAD
“It’s crazy that we can go anywhere and have people come out to see us. So it’s great we can come home and see we ain’t crazy: This thing has some sort of draw and maybe it can work,” said Elkins, whose band – guitarists Caleb Stampfler and Avery Whitaker, bassist Nathan Johnson and drummer Jake Bartlett – has joined Elkins in opening for big-name acts such as Lucero and KALEO.
“As for anywhere else, it feels like you’re screaming into a void. Without that support back home, we would be real down in the dumps.”
Elkins – who’s relocated to Nashville – will return to The Intersection to open for Charley Crockett on Friday night (June 30) as part of the venue’s summer “Rock the Lot” series. Get tickets here.
His song about domestic abuse, “Hands to Myself,” was nominated for song of the year at the Jammie Awards. Check out a video of his live performance of the song here.
VIDEO: Myron Elkins, “Hands to Myself” (Live)
Elkins follows celebrated Kalamazoo hip-hop cellist Jordan Hamilton in winning the emerging artist award, last presented by Local Spins in 2020 prior to the COVID pandemic.
For Elkins – a one-time welder inspired by everything from Creedence Clearwater Revival to Johnny Cash and Sturgill Simpson – the future holds a lot of touring and roll-up-your-sleeves work to promote his music, even after crisscrossing the country in 2022, traveling from Oregon to Maine “and everywhere between.”
“I envision a lot of roughing it,” he concedes. “We have a lot of ground to cover and without some sort of viral phenomenon, an act like this has to sacrifice just about everything in order to one day become comfortable.
“I’m excited and scared to death where me and my friends and family in the band will end up at the end of that. But obviously, the goal is to come out of it intact and successful, or in other words, ‘a headliner’.”
Cobb’s mentorship has provided the band with “all sorts of tips and tricks,” Elkins says, plus “a lot more understanding of the structure of a song” along with expanding the horizons of a musician’s role.
“I think we found out what we are and really, it turns out we are a traditional rock ’n’ roll band pulling from the blues and soul as much as country. Not intentionally, it just comes natural. And I think we have more than ever been able to accept that.”
Read more about Elkins here. And check out a recent Local Spins on WYCE radio show that featured new music by Tony Manfredonia and Folias Duo, along with a Jammies Award preview with tracks by Fake Baseball, Elijah Russ, Cole Hansen, Moss Manor, Sixman, Silent Spirit, Ficus and Nathan Walton & The Remedy.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (2/24/23)
VIDEO: Myron Elkins, “Nashville Money”
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