STORY WRITTEN BY ROB NAGY
For Digital First Media
The Texas based multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated country rockers of “Eli Young Band” are no strangers to success. Featuring Mike Eli (vocals, guitar), James Young (guitar), Jon Jones (Bass) and Chris Thompson (drums), the foursome has taken painstaking efforts, since releasing their 2002 self-titled debut album, to solidify their musical presence.
“It was ten years before we had any really big success,” recalls bassist Jon Jones from his home in Texas. “We’re one of the stories that you don’t hear very much anymore – the band taking the long way to get there.”
“In the time of “American Idol” and “The Voice” and those avenues to get in front of people, we took the road less travelled. If we would have been propelled into the light, I don’t think this really would have worked. This was our path and the only way it was going to work for us. I think in some ways this separates us from other acts. It was a concerted effort.”
Charting eight times on the Billboard country charts, the band has had three Number One singles – “Crazy Girl” (the top country song of 2011), “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” (2012) and “Drunk Last Night”(2013).
“Things have really gone our way,” says Jones. “There’s always a couple of valleys in there. I am impressed with our fans that come out and continue to identify with our music. It’s great. Our fans inspire us. They give us the opportunity to follow our dreams. I think it’s invaluable to remember that.”
On the heels of the critically acclaimed and commercially successful album “10,000 Towns” (2014), the band signed with a new record label, Valore. Currently, the group is strategically releasing a batch of new songs as they continue to work on their next studio album.
“Valore has a bit more of an independent spirit,” says bassist Jones. “They’ve been a really good fit for us. We’re now working the first single with them – a duet with Andy Grammer, “Honey, I’m Good,” which is a really big song in the pop world.”
“We released a four song EP called “Turn it On” earlier this year, which will be a pre-cursor to the next record,” adds Jones. “We had taken the mentality that we should never stop writing. You never know if a label is going to come calling for the next record so you want to be prepared. With that in mind, late last year we did a batch of songs that were new and fun and felt very in the moment. So we went right into the studio to make really good demos of the songs because we wanted to capture the feeling we had when we were writing these before we lost the vibe. The label heard the songs and loved the direction. I hope these songs continue to have a chance to be heard by people.”
“On this next album, we want to get back to the roots of where we started, which at the time was a bit more on the rock edge of where country was,” says Jones. “I think we’re finding ourselves in the atmosphere right now of where we fit in comfortably and where we can take pride in being part of country music today.”
After spending the summer touring the U.S. with Toby Keith, the band is looking forward to kicking off their twenty-city headlining tour in Philadelphia.
“By the time we get to Philly, we will have been in the studio recording some new songs,” says Jones. “Hopefully we will be playing a few of them. We try to plan our set list so everybody leaves feeling like they were catered to a little bit – all the hits, some of the misses and some of the old stuff. We love when people Tweet us requests. We love playing music in front of people and for ourselves. We try to bring that energy every night.”
“I think what makes country music so special is that everybody wants to have music they can relate to,” adds Jones. “Whether it’s a break up song or a drinking song. It’s really rooted in a story and the lyrics, and the music around it has always been more simplistic in order to let the story stand out. There’s a country culture that works really well that people can identify with both in the big city and in the small towns. There’s something for everybody.”
Eli Young Band will play the Fillmore at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 11. The Fillmore is at 1000 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia. For further information or tickets visit www.livenation.com.
To stay up to date with Eli Young Band visit www.eliyoungband.com.