How the Eli Young Band Stays Grounded As It Takes Off
The Eli Young Band is, by now, a household name, at least in households across North Texas, where three of its four members still reside, and in other households whose speakers blare with country. With each single released by the four-piece, formed in Denton in 2000 and led by lead singer Mike Eli and lead-guitarist James Young, the band's name becomes more commonplace on the nation's playlists. With the release of its latest effort, the slick, something-for-everyone 10,000 Towns, a more prominent spot on Country Music's A-List seems inevitable.
It's been a long march, starting in 2002, with their self-titled debut. By 2005's Level and Live at the Jolly Fox, the group had become popular enough in North texas to fill House of Blues in Dallas, among other rooms that dwarf most college-town dives that comprise the majority of the Texas Country touring circuit. With the release of their 2008 major label debut on Universal South, Jet Black and Jealous, Eli Young Band became the most commercially successful Tex-port into the mainstream in several years, dating back to when Jack Ingram and Pat Green popped up in the top 10 of the Billboard charts for a short time. With their single, "Always the Love Songs" hitting big on radio and on the various Country Music video channels, the table was set for a much bigger splash.
That came in 2011, with "Crazy Girl," the Liz Rose-penned single that hit number one on the Billboard chart and went on to become a double-platinum single in the States, winning the Academy of Country Music Award for "Song of the Year." The band was nominated for Top Vocal Group alongside Zac Brown Band, Rascall Flatts and other stadium-packing enterprises. The accolades, and the work, have kept flowing since. Last year, the group played on Kenney Chesney's stadium tour, and it's currently on the road with Darius Rucker, joining Rucker on stage each night for a song or two. And last year ended with a Ballpark-sized bang, when an estimated 18,000 fans showed up for the first concert-only event to be held on the grounds of the home of the Texas Rangers. It "was a glimpse into where we can take this," Eli says.
"Growing into a larger tour where we headline is certainly the goal," says Eli, a newish father. "We've played to big rooms before, because we'll book our own shows throughout the country when we have a break in whichever tour we're supporting. Hopefully in 2015, we can do a big tour of our own, but that will depend on the success of the new record. Thankfully, we've already had a couple of songs do well on radio [the new single, "Dust" is already primed to crack the top 40 only a couple of weeks after being released to DJs across the country], so this might be a chance for us to release several singles onto radio from the one record. It'll be interesting to see how this record changes our career."