Country Spotlight: Eli Young Band

August 16, 2011 at 9:21 am , by


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

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