Country Spotlight: Eli Young Band

August 16, 2011 at 9:21 am , by

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Cover photograph: Jeremy Cowart.

The Eli Young Band had been packing Texas venues for years before they burst onto the national scene with 2008′s well received Jet Black & Jealous (“When It Rains,” “Always the Love Songs“). With today’s release of their latest album, Life at Best, Mike Eli, James Young, Jon Jones and Chris Thompson will deservedly start building an even bigger base of country music fans that stretches from coast to coast.

Life at Best‘s debut single, “Crazy Girl,” debuted at #1 on the iTunes charts and quickly went gold. The song was cowritten by Lee Brice and Liz Rose (a frequent Taylor Swift collaborator) and is just one of the highlights off this solid 14-track effort. Be sure to give a listen to the 90s-tinged “How Quickly You Forget”; the buoyant “On My Way,” which will have you bobbing your head and singing along by the end of it; and “Every Other Memory,” which has a fun, 70s-ish vibe that will make you want to keep hitting your repeat button. Perhaps the CD’s most satisfying track, though, is the Mike Eli/Blu Sanders-penned “My Old Man’s Son,” a poignant take on the inevitable road we all travel down as we learn to accept everything our parents have passed down to us. It’s a straightforward song that hits all the right notes and packs the same nostalgic punch as Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” so there’s no reason it shouldn’t be embraced just as passionately by country fans. Here’s hoping it’s released as a single and that country radio agrees.

Listening to the new CD as a whole, though, it was evident to me that the guys in the band had some pretty special inspiration on a lot of the songs. I safely assumed that there might be a special lady (or five) that makes all of the hard work they’ve been putting in on the road pay off. I caught up with EYB to make sure they had the proper chance to pay tribute to the most important ladies in their lives via a national forum. (Here at LHJ, that’s kind of how we roll.) Check out their thoughtful responses, below and after the jump, as well as the portraits they had shot just for us.

Jon Jones: bass guitar / background vocals
The most important lady in his life: My wife, Sarah. Not to take anything away from how much my mother means to me.
What makes me so “Crazy” about her? Since our first few dates back in college, I have never really been able to picture myself with anyone else. She completes and compliments me in so many ways.

Chris Thompson: drums
Most important lady in my life:
I had to pick two – my mom Judy and my fiancé Candace. They are the two most important women in my life.
Song of yours that you always think of her when you play it (or hear it)? Anything that grooves or rocks because they both always encourage me to play honestly and passionately.


Mike Eli:  lead vocals / guitars
Most important lady in my life:
My wife, Kacey Diaz
Favorite memory of her that always makes me smile: The first night we met, she kicked my butt at pool. I’m just thankful she didn’t hustle me because I would have been putty in her hands. She can still kill me at pool today!


James Young: lead guitar / background vocals
Most important lady in my life: My mother, Katie Young
If I had to give her a superhero name, it would be … Well if “Supermom” isn’t taken, then she holds that title. My mom is and was like a superhero back growing up. She would bring me toys and trinkets from all over the world and the places she flew, and she had stories to go right along with them. She continues to guide and look out for me now; she doesn’t ask, she just does.

For the guys’ full Q&A about the special ladies in their lives, read on after the jump

Jon Jones: bass guitar / background vocals
Most important lady in my life: My wife, Sarah. Not to take anything away from how much my mother means to me.
What makes me so “Crazy” about her: Since our first few dates back in college, I’ve never really been able to picture myself with anyone else. She completes and compliments me in so many ways.
Favorite memory of her that always makes me smile: We split up for a brief period years ago. The day that we reconnected made me feel whole again. We have never looked back since.
Trait of hers I wish I had: I can be a total mess sometimes. I wish I could be as organized and put together as she is.
If I had to give her a superhero name, it would be: “Future Mom.” That really deserves an explanation. Right now, we are a two-dog family, which we love. Children will certainly be in our future when the time is right. Sarah is so great with kids and has great motherly instincts. Someday she will be “Supermom.”
Song of ours that always makes me think of her when we play it: “I Love You” is a song that Chris and I cowrote that always makes me think of Sarah. It’s about as straightforward and to the point as a love song can be. I think that when you are with the right person, loving them becomes part of who you are.
If I were going to write a song about her right now, the first line be … It would have to be something like “If I could be there now.” The band’s current schedule is keeping us on the road a vast majority of the time. It feels like a lot of the time at home is spent playing catch-up.

Chris Thompson: drums
Most important lady in my life:
I had to pick two – my mom Judy and my fiancé Candace. They are the two most important women in my life.
What makes me so “Crazy” about her: My mom has always taught me that it is okay to follow your emotions and be crazy from time to time, which is why it was so easy for me to be crazy about Candace from the first day we met.
Favorite memory of her that always makes me smile: Christmas last year. My mom was the only person from my family, besides myself, celebrating with Candace’s entire family. Candace made my mom feel at home with her family. It was very special for me to see that happen.
Trait of hers I wish I had: Both of them are able to take on so much without letting it slow them down.
If I had to give her a superhero name, it would be: The Magnificent Multi-Tasker (for both).
Song of ours that always makes me think of her when we play it: Anything that grooves or rocks because they both always encourage me to play honestly and passionately.
If I were going to write a song about her right now, the first line be … “I can’t wait to see you at home again soon.”

Mike Eli: lead vocals / guitars
Most important lady in my life: My wife, Kacey Diaz
What makes me so “Crazy” about her: While I know all there is to know about her, she still keeps me guessing every day. She’s the smartest, most devoted and honest person I’ve ever met. And every morning I get to say, “I woke up next to a beautiful woman again today!”
Favorite memory of her that always makes me smile:
The first night we met, she kicked my butt at pool. I’m just thankful she didn’t hustle me because I would have been putty in her hands. She can still kill me at pool today!
Trait of hers I wish I had: I wish I had her spontaneity. I tend to think things over way too much so she tells me to just get it done. She kind of equals me out when it comes to overanalyzing. I love that.
If I had to give her a superhero name, it would be: Wonder Woman. When I was a kid I had a huge crush on Wonder Woman. Plus, didn’t Wonder Woman have magic bracelets? Kacey loves jewelry.
Song of ours that always makes me think of her when we play it: These days every time we play “Say Goodnight,” I think of Kacey. She loved this song from the first moment I played it for her. And as we’ve made our transition into married life vs. dating life, it seems like this song is just perfect for where we are in our life right now.
If I were going to write a song about her right now, the first line be … “I’m a lucky man to have someone like you!”

James Young: lead guitar / background vocals
Most important lady in my life: My mother, Katie Young
What makes me so “Crazy” about her: Well, she did give me life and try to raise me right. I’m sure I made her crazy many a time growing up but she has always been there for me and provided for me. She worked very hard as a flight attendant for 30+ years and was still always there to take me to school, little league and whenever I needed her.
Favorite memory of her that always makes me smile: On the weekends we would always go to the local record store and buy old LPs and 45s, then go home and play them all throughout the house. She really turned me on to music and supported my decision to do it for a living.
Trait of hers I wish I had: My mom can speak her mind to anyone and isn’t afraid to stand up for herself. Not to say that I don’t, but I can be a little more easygoing and reserved. She is not timid or shy.
If I had to give her a superhero name, it would be …
Well if “Supermom” isn’t taken, then she holds that title. My mom is and was like a superhero back growing up. She would bring me toys and trinkets from all over the world and the places she flew, and she had stories to go right along with them. She continues to guide and look out for me now; she doesn’t ask, she just does.
Song of ours that always makes me think of her when we play it: My mom will always call when our song is on the radio nowadays, but we have a song called “Guardian Angel,” which was one of the first songs I ever wrote. She would always tell me we all have guardian angels in our lives and I still believe it to this day.
If I were going to write a song about her right now, the first line be … “Thanks for 31 years of loving me, you are the best mom anyone could be!”

One Response to “Country Spotlight: Eli Young Band”

  1. Getting ready for my Jersey holiday weekend.





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