That is the day that the Eli Young Band releases their fourth studio album, titled Life At Best. The band participated in a day of media interviews designed to promote the album, and Roughstock was there to get the scoop!
As the ground continues to enjoy success, more people have become familiar with the energetic Texas band. Media days have changed, as well. Early on, says member John Jones, there was one question they got over and over; Who is Eli Young?
“No one has done it today, so far. The first couple of times we that we sat down to do interviews, I guess I would say 80% of people would ask back then, but it’s gotten a lot better! We’ve got some great fans!” he told Roughstock.
Of course, there actually is not an ElI Young. Well, he might exist in Melbourne, Arkansas, but he’s not a member of the band. Still, James Young says that “It never fails. Someone will come up and say ‘Hey, can you get Eli for me?’ or ‘When’s Eli coming in?’
The band’s name comes from combining the two of the members’ last names----Mike Eli and Young. Eli says that “When Chris (Thompson) and Jon (Jones) came to the band, that gave us a lot of names. We were trying to figure out a name. Maybe we got lazy, or maybe we were just drinking one of those nights, but couldn’t come up with anything substantial,” he says with a Texas-size sense of humor.
The band is pumped about the release of Life At Best. It’s their fourth overall album, and first for Republic Nashville. Eli says the band is very proud of their new recording affiliation. “When we made the transition from Universal South to Republic Nashville, a lot of the people here at Republic were big believers in us,” he said gratefully, while adding that “They’ve made us feel like we were welcome here. They believed in the kind of music that we wanted to make and we had been making,” Of course, it doesn’t hurt matters having Nashville power players Scott Borchetta and Jimmy Harnen on their side. “No, not at all, they’re a great team over here.”
Jones admits that the man behind the recent career success of Reba and Taylor has been the best thing for them. “I think it really is a scary prospect, as the music business is always changing. You get used to working with a team, and there were some great people that were working for us. But Republic is a great atmosphere. They really treat all of their artists with a lot of respect.”
The first single, “Crazy Girl,” has been performing well on the charts. Thompson says the guys can’t wait to get on the road to promote the new album.
“August 16 is a big day for us, but all that week, we’re going to be doing a string of pre-release shows down in Texas,” he says. “We’ve been working up some new songs over the past couple of days to do at those shows that we’ve never played before live. We’re very excited about everything that is going on.”
Eli said there were some difference how the new album was made, as opposed to Jet Black And Jealous, their most recent release for Universal South. “We recorded all in one chunk…..it was all in the same recording session, as to twe recorded over the course of a year. We did five songs, then three, then another three, all in different studios. While Jet Black was a cohesive record, this one was really strung together a little more tightly as far as sounds and production, and consistently has a lot of the same sounds, so some of the songs were written as far as six years ago, and on Jet Black, they were all the same time period,” he says of the big difference.
Jones admitted that the change in record companies had a lot to do with that. “We did have the luxury of time on this one. Part of that was because of switching labels. We had a lot of songs to pick from. We could whittle that down between what we wanted to record, and what we didn’t, and what we were the most passionate about. We feel like we made our best album to date, which with every album you should feel that way, but we did have the luxury of time on this one.”
Young says that with all the business changes the band has went through over the past year, that could be enough to enter into a band’s psyche. What kept the Eli Young Band sane through all of it? The reason they got into the business in the first place. You know, in the beginning, we went out and started making music. That’s always been our main focus. We’ve developed a great and loyal fan base, and now we get to do it on a broader scale. Playing live shows is our release. We make records, and we do that to be able to go out and play music in front of people. Getting off stage, and being able to do that ninety-minute set, that’s our release. It’s also the most fun we have on the road and in this business!”