Ely Young Band playing Friday night

| July 1, 2018 | Reply

Story by Mary Jane Farmer, Courtesy photos. Originally appeared in the Friday, June 28, issue of Paris News. Photos from the concert will be posted later.

The Eli Young Band is unique in today’s country music. The band of brothers play their own instruments, write many of their own songs, share in harmonies, and so far, no matter how far they have gone, they haven’t forgotten where they came from — blue collar country Texans without the cowboy hats. The band formed as a duo, then the 4-piece it is today while all were in college in Denton. That was about 18 years ago.

The Eli Young Band will be at the Choctaw Event Center in Grant, Okla., this coming Friday, July 6, with the concert starting at 8 p.m. There are still seats available, and tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.

Mike Eli, lead singer, said, “The whole atmosphere of the casino and resort feels like you’re on vacation. It’s such a treat to play shows at Choctaw.  The rooms are nice and the pools are awesome. The fans are also rowdy and they have a ton of energy, which makes the whole show a ton of fun. Plus, we get to play some of the old songs like ‘Oklahoma Girl.’”

The Eli Young Band is made up of lead singer Mike Eli, guitarist James Young, bassist Jon Jones, and drummer Chris Thompson. Unlike many bands, actually unlike most bands, this foursome has been together since they first became a foursome. Over the years, they have released six albums, the first one in 2002, Eli Young Band, and the most recent, Fingerprints, last year. The group released “Saltwater Gospel” off the Fingerprints CD to radio in 2016, almost a year before they issued the CD. One can only wonder if that is the same game plan the group is using now that they have released “Love Ain’t,” including a passionate and aching video on YouTube. Hopefully, it will be included in a future CD.

The song, written by Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley, and Shane McAnally, is a love song. However, not at all typical, as this song never defines ‘love,’ instead it makes it perfectly clear what ‘love ain’t.’ The video centers around the remarkable recovery of a quadruple amputee, Taylor Morris, who was involved in an explosion while serving in Afghanistan. The forwarding narration to the video explains that Taylor’s girlfriend, Danielle, dropped everything to go to and stay by his side. Photos and videos tell the struggles the brave and tenacious Taylor went through after surgeries, as he was fitted with prostheses and learned to use them, and it continues into his and Danielle’s future. A stunning video in its stark simplicity, shedding light and inspiration on the sacrifices partners make for one another, and that our military makes for us. The Eli Young Band is a strong supporter for the Wooded Warriors Project.

Many of the Eli Young Band’s songs have hit the state and national charts, and have become standard play on radio stations. “Drunk Last Night,” “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” “Crazy Girl,” “Guinevere” — songs with driving rhythms and tight harmonies.

Their start was timely, as it came about the same time that Red Dirt music was moving from Oklahoma into Texas, and this band was one of those that embraced the newer sounds, while keeping their own soulful essence intact. No compromises, just growth. And they have kept growing musically since. They know when to put on ‘intense project recording’ personas, and then when to switch over to live-show mentality, with their guitars and drums leaving no holes in the sound and their distinctive and harmonious voices — and smiles. All the while these four are on stage, it’s apparent they are there for the music, the integrity of feeling, and potency of the lyrics. It’s contagious.

Sometime when one listens to Eli Young Band songs, one can hear the pop influence, another time brings out the two-step or waltz in all of us, and then there could be a touch of Tejano thrown in… it’s all a part of their growth as a band, their plan to keep dialing it up a notch.

And it’s why they keep getting nominated and winning awards. Those began in 2009, with an Academy of Country Music nomination for Top New Vocal. Two years later, they took the ACM award for Song of the Year for “Crazy Girl” and were chosen by Music Row as the Breakthrough Artist. The nominations keep sweeping in through the years.

Through this time, though, the band has remained No. 1 to innumerable fans and created a bevy of new ones across this country. They’re undeniable.

This current song, “Love Ain’t,” was only released on June 25, and the charts for the week haven’t been posted yet. The video on YouTube, however, has already had more than 240,000 views.

This summer, the road will take them from California to Maine. This stop in Grant is just one on that tour. More about the tour are on their Website, www.EliYoungBand.com

 

 

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