Myron Elkins at The Intersection in Grand Rapids, MI

Myron Elkins @ Intersection, Grand Rapids | photo by Jena

Myron Elkins brought his vintage-inspired brand of soulful working-class rock and roll to a receptive and eager crowd in Grand Rapids. 

It’s amazing to think that 22-year-old Myron Elkins was working as a welder just a couple of years ago, but it helps explain why he was unfazed by the 90-degree heat and near-100 percent humidity of the evening. His young age and baby-faced appearance undoubtedly made at least a few people in the crowd underestimate what they were about to hear. 

When Elkins and his band stepped onto the stage, it was like being transported back in time. The vintage sound combined with their long, shoulder-length hair and retro-styled garb would have put them right at home in a show lineup that included Creedence Clearwater Revival or Waylon Jennings. They immediately went right into the title track and current top performing song from Elkins’ debut album, Factory, Farms & Amphetamines, and you could almost feel the double-takes from the unsuspecting concert goes. 

The catchy country-rock jam spoke to the bleakness of small-town life and, despite his youthfulness, Elkins sang with a passion that clearly comes from generations of lived experience growing up in the small rust belt town of Otsego, Michigan. The rich, whiskey-soaked tone of his voice added wisdom and depth to the song that is well beyond his years. 

Factory, Farms & Amphetamines was produced in Nashville under the guidance of renowned Grammy-winner Dave Cobb. While those Nashville/country influences are clear throughout, Elkins’ music has a Midwest, blue-collar vibe that stands on its own by mixing in blues, R&B, soul, and classic southern rock. Two songs from the album were recently used on the hit series Yellowstone which has helped boost his up-and-comer status even further. 

Oftentimes when new artists are touring in support of their debut album, those songs are all you get, but Elkins already had unreleased material to try out for the almost hometown crowd. “The Judge” and “Customer” were the second and third songs of the night, both of which were decidedly more bluesy rock and roll and a little less country. Two more unreleased songs came next. “Hope Dealer” had a more soulful vibe while “Muddy River” went back to the bluesy rock sound from before. 

The rest of the evening was all songs from the album. “Hands to Myself” was a soulful, blues-rock jam that you couldn’t help but sway to. Then it was back to the country influences with the song “Nashville Money,” which focuses on Elkins’ experience signing his first record contract and moving to the country rock capital to make it in the industry. 

While Elkins’ rich voice and heartfelt, working-class lyrics took center stage, the rest of the band were excellent too. Tight guitar licks, slappy baselines, and precise drumming combined perfectly and together sounded as good as, if not better, than the studio album. 

Elkins is touring extensively throughout the Midwest and South this summer, and it’s a rare chance to see a highly rated up-and-comer before they blow up. Catch him while you can. 

MYRON ELKINS
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About Jena McShane 25 Articles
Jena McShane is a Lansing, MI based photographer specializing in candid portraiture, live music, and stormy landscapes.