National country quartet Eli Young Band to headline downstate on Thursday
Platinum-selling country group the Eli Young Band is on a mission to have a good old time at the Bottle & Cork in Dewey Beach on Thursday.
The Texas-based outfit will tour downstate with their new album, “Fingerprints,” including the spicy single “Never Land.”
Lead singer Mike Eli founded the band with guitarist James Young, bassist Jon Jones and drummer Chris Thompson at the University of North Texas in 2000.
Their grassroots fan base propelled each of their previous three albums into the Top 5 of Billboard’s Country Albums chart, with 2014’s “10,000 Towns” bowing at No. 1.
Jones dished on the difference between recording the new album versus their debut record, a goal he’s chasing and his challenges of living life on the road.
You’ve had a string of hits. What goals are you chasing these days?
To find that sound that connects in ways we have before. So much has changed since we started the band, as far as the way people consume music. People don’t buy records nearly the way they used to. People stream for free. If you look at the different ages, they do it differently. Some people still want a physical copy, but that’s definitely dwindling. Some people like to buy the record online. Some people pay for a subscription service. Some people prefer to get it for free and get ad-based content.
The question is how can we find an avenue to have the masses looking at this record, look at a song, and find themselves in it again? We definitely feel like there are some songs on this record that have this potential, but the avenues to have that impact have changed quite a bit.
You said making the new album felt like you guys were revisiting your roots. Was the experience better than when you worked on your first album?
For lots of reasons it was better. We’re better musicians now, for one thing. The time spent in the studio is more productive now. You can kind of get in there and get out when we want to get out. But it was a very tedious task in the beginning. We were in college and we were definitely not studio musicians. We were learning, working with the producer, who was making his first full-length record as well.
What’s something you really miss when you’re on the road?
Personal space, sometimes. We spent the first half of our career in a van and trailer, which was the time to do it when you’re young. But stuck on a bus, it’s not bad. But you’re still kind of on top of each other. It’s not missing my family so much that it is trying to find normalcy in my schedule, having two young kids and coming home and trying to go to bed early. My kids get up early and all of that. Then going on the road, the hours are totally different. I think my goal now is to try to live my life on the road [more productively] so I can hit the ground running at home and not miss a beat, because there was a while where I was like a jagged edge trying to fit in at home.
Can you describe what you mean by living your life on the road?
I don’t burn the candle at both ends like I used to. I don’t drink as much. I go to bed earlier and try to get up earlier, even if I don’t have to get up early, just to try to keep a better rhythm. I just try to have productive days. You can be pretty unproductive on the road, if you want to be.