Shelby Lee Lowe knows who he is as an artist and what he wants to sound like. He’s long professed his love of traditional country music, and over the course of the past four years, he’s worked to prove it, and in doing so, honing his craft and getting better along the way.
The latest result of that work from the Lewisburg, Tennessee native is the release of his new EP, Something in Me. Comprised of three songs that are nothing short of traditional country gold, Lowe is breathing a breathe of fresh, familiar air with songs of love and love lost dripping in steel guitar.
We caught up with Lowe about staying in touch with his traditional country influences, about each song on Something in Me and what he hopes listeners take away from the EP, his plans for new music and more!
Pro Country: You’ve had some of your greatest success to date in the past year; including a cover of “Don’t Speak” and your single “Pews and Poles.” What has it meant to you to consistently find and surpass your previous successes with your new releases?
Shelby Lee Lowe: I’m just really lucky to have a great team helping me out first and foremost. I also feel like I am making new fans every day and hopefully making better music every day, so I’m excited for the future.
PC: You’ve said in interviews ahead of the release of your new EP, Something in Me, that you and your producer, Andy Scott Wills, wanted to lean heavily on a traditional, honky tonk sound on the EP. Can you talk about making that decision and how important it is for you to stay heavily in touch with that influence?
SLL: I became a fan of country music, music of singers like Hank Sr., Merle, George Strait and Tracy Lawrence. The more pressure I felt to get away from that style of music, the less fun I had making it. Therefore, I decided to just try to make the best neo-traditional country music I could make and it’s been a great experience. My voice just wasn’t made to sing pop-country, and that’s okay.
PC: “Could’ve Fooled Me” opens Something in Me and discusses a relationship where one side isn’t as committed as the other. Can you talk about the inspiration behind the song? Is it a song you put a lot of yourself and personal experience in to, or a song where you drew inspiration as a witness?
SLL: “Could Have Fooled Me” was a title throw out by my producer, Andy Scott Wills in a co-write, and it felt like a relationship song to me. I’ve played in dance halls for years where people meet up and dance every weekend and I’ve known people that have played out this scenario before. I think a lot of people can relate to both sides of this song. Either you have had strong feelings for someone who wasn’t ready, or someone has had those feeling for you.
PC: “You’re Not Gone” is the middle song on the EP, and a song you cut from outside writers. What was it about the song that drew you to record it?
SLL: “You’re Not Gone” was written by Ed Williams, and the first time I heard it, I knew I needed to cut it. It has a distinct Bakersfield vibe that you don’t hear in songs very often anymore, and it was incredibly well-written. That song has everything I love about Bakersfield Honkytonk music, and I did my best to convey that on the recording.
PC: “Something in Me” is one of our favorite songs on its EP. Why did you decide to make it the title track of the EP?
SLL: “Something in Me” is a very special song to me. We wrote it over a Zoom call during quarantine, and it was one of the first successful Zoom writes of that period. The song is about getting more love than you deserve and having someone see something in you that you don’t. The song reminds me of a heartfelt Ronnie Milsap ballad from the 80’s. I’ve never recorded a song quite like “Something in Me.”
PC: What do you hope listeners take away from Something in Me after listening all the way through?
SLL: I want listeners to know that I love and appreciate traditional country music, and that I’m trying to move it forward in a way that doesn’t take it away from its roots. I hope listeners can see how much hard work and detail was put into everything from the lyrics and melody to the album artwork and production. I hope it makes them feel good.
PC: 2020 has altered most of the plans of artists. Of the things you can control, what are your plans for the rest of the year and going into 2021?
SLL: I’m finally playing some shows here and there, and I have already been in the studio working on some more new music.
PC: Is there anything you’d like to add?
SLL: I just want to thank Pro Country and the audience for continuing to support independent and traditional country artists like me. I think the future is bright for country music.