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Leaving Their Fingerprints on the World: Eli Young Band Celebrates Newest Album

Aug 31, 2017 04:00PM ● Published by Nicole Gould

Photo by Joseph Llanes

Growing up with their passion for music, Mike Eli, James Young, Jon Jones, and Chris Thompson couldn’t resist jamming together during their college days, ultimately resulting in a decade-plus career as the Eli Young Band.

With their Texas roots, this talented foursome has consistently won over the hearts of fans with their three No. 1 singles, “Crazy Girl,” “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” and “Drunk Last Night.”

The Eli Young Band’s hit singles have been awarded Billboards No. 1 Country Song of the Year and ACM Song of the Year, in addition to numerous accolades from Grammy, CMA, CMT, ACA, and Teen Choice Awards.

Their last album, 10,000 Towns ranked No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, landed a No. 5 spot on Billboard 200, and claimed the top spot on the iTunes Country Albums chart, confirming their loyal fanbase.

Following the success from their chart-topping album in 2014, the Eli Young Band was feeling more inspired than ever and dug deep into their personal lives to create their sixth studio album, FINGERPRINTS. Throughout the 11-song tracklist, it’s evident they’ve made the right choice with their debut single “Saltwater Gospel” and their latest offering, “Skin & Bones,” both of which have made an impressive number of plays per week on SiruisXM’s The Highway.

“This record for us deals a lot more like what we were doing back then in college. After so many years you start over thinking in the studio and thinking about what you should be making. This record was more about getting down to the basics, doing the things that always worked well, writing songs we were passionate about, and not worrying about if there’s a hit single in there or what the radio might be looking for. It was more about what our fans expect from us and what we like to do.”Jon Jones

Don’t miss this band of brothers on Monday, September 4th, 4–7 p.m. at the Chesapeake Beach Resort & Spa. Tickets range from $29–50.

See what bassist Jon Jones had to say about their newest album and the evolution of the Eli Young Band.

Photo by Joseph Llanes

 

How did you personally get started with music and what pulled you toward playing the bass? Being college buddies, when did the four of you decide it was time to put a band together?

I started when I was a little less than three. My parents started me on the Zucchi Violin. Both my grandma and mom taught music, so it was in my blood. I didn’t have a choice in the beginning. In junior high they needed someone for the jazz band and my sister was in the marching band, so she recommended me to the director. I auditioned and that’s how I started.

It was really pretty organic. Mike came to school after the three of us. Before he came, the three of us played in bands throughout high school, and that’s what felt comfortable to us. We got together in a friend’s basement and played all the songs we knew together, without a singer. We were desperately missing one. Mike and James were roommates and he was playing acoustic shows. Chris and I hopped on stage one night and joined them. We decided to try it for two or three songs and it felt really good from the very first night we did it.

Tell me a little more about the band’s newest album release, FINGERPRINTS, where the name developed, and what people can expect to hear from the 11–track playlist.

“Fingerprints” is one of the songs on the record. We chose it to be the title not necessarily meaning the same as the lyrics of the song, but after 17 years of being a band, we felt like there’s just been a lot of people who left their fingerprints on us. Our fans, people we’ve worked with musically, or helped us along the way and they helped shape our career. We made an impression on people down the road and that’s kind of were FINGERPRINTS comes from.

This record for us deals a lot more like what we were doing back then in college. After so many years you start over thinking in the studio and thinking about what you should be making. This record was more about getting down to the basics, doing the things that always worked well, writing songs we were passionate about, and not worrying about if there’s a hit single in there or what the radio might be looking for. It was more about what our fans expect from us and what we like to do.

With three years between albums, what would you say was the hardest/most exciting part about this release, especially following the success of your previous album, 10,000 Towns?

The hardest part was waiting so long. This was recorded for a whole year before it saw light of day, which is a little frustrating. We couldn’t be any happier that its finally out, the responses have been great from our fans and from critics. Overall feedback has been great.

The struggle now is getting everyone to listen to it. The way people consume music has changed so much since we started, but since our last release, with streaming it’s a different environment. In a way, it’s tough for us to gauge how the record is doing because people aren’t picking up a physical cd as much, but we have the option for Twitter, Facebook, and other avenues to let us know how they feel about it and that’s been really rewarding.

Photo by Joseph Llanes


Making its way through SiriusXM, “Saltwater Gospel” has become quite the successful hit on The Highway station. Can you tell me a little more about this song and how it feels to get such a great reaction with it being the band’s debut single from the album?

That was a song that was co-written by Ross Copperman, one of our producers. He sent it early on in the song picking process and it’s very rare for the four of us, with different personalities, to listen to something and all agree. We felt that way with “Crazy Girl” and “Even If It Break Your Heart.”

With “Saltwater Gospel,” we’ve always wanted a beach song. When we’re off on the road, we flock to the beach when we can. In order for us to do a beach song, we didn’t want to do a standard drink in my hand on the beach, that wasn’t us and it didn’t fit our vibe. This seems to have a different take on it, which really appealed to us. We decided to take a more spiritual side of being out there and how it can make you feel.

It’s really great to get the reaction we did. It’s great to hear people embracing it since summer has come back again, it’s getting its second cycle. That’s how it goes with summer songs, the go away for winter and everyone gets back out on the water and re-enjoys it. It’s been a great song to play live for us and that’s where we know how the song is doing.

With this album including a very personal touch, what song would you say you resonate with most and why?

There’s a song called “Old Songs,” which is a song that talks about why it is that we love old songs, and for us we had this idea on the record that it’s really tough for anything we do right now to compete with one of our big hits or older music for our fans, because that’s what turned them into fans. Once you have emotional attachment, it takes you back to a certain part in your life. It’s hard to make more of those, the whole idea of the song, it takes us back to older times. Something very special about that and one of the big powerful things about music, is how a song can make you feel and take you to a certain age again.

Photo by Joseph Llanes

 

How would you say the Eli Young Band has evolved since the release of your debut album in 2002? Did you ever think you’d reach the level of success that you have being together for 17 years?

No, not in 2002. It definitely has been a long journey to get where we are. In a way, we’re frozen in time because we started in college and all graduated, but never moved on to that next natural phase of life in career, this is it. We were already doing it, all fun then and fun now.

We have grown up in certain ways and settled down, which is good for our friendships and our music and I think it’s helped us remember why we’re doing this. If you’re doing it for the party and all those reasons, that doesn’t sustain; you need to find another reason to make music and I think having a family, settling down, and experiencing what life has to offer really made us enjoy playing music together.

What can people expect from a performance from the Eli Young Band?

Well that’s kind of the bread and butter, that’s what keeps us going back is to get up on stage every night. That’s what we do really well. It’s just a show full of energy. Obviously 17 years is a lot of material to cover. We try to play new songs, but try to do a set list that appeals to anyone who’s known us from the beginning or just knows us from the radio. Its high energy, it’s pretty interactive, and it’s a fun show.

 

Today, Arts+Entertainment interview chesapeake beach resort and spa country music September Annapolis 2017 September Eastern Shore 2017 September West County 2017 Fingerprints Eli Young Band Jon Jones
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