By Vernell Hackett
The Eli Young Band found themselves in a beautiful setting when they played “The Story Behind The Songs” concert with Tucker Beathard at Sandals Royal Bahamian, Cable Beach, Nassau, Bahamas in November. While not new to Sandals or beaches, band members Mike Eli, James Young, Chris Thompson and Jon Jones had never been to this Sandals location.
Even though the weather didn’t cooperate with allowing the concert to be held on the beach, nothing dampened the enthusiasm of the audience or the artists.
“It was really about playing the songs where you can tell a good, important story that goes with it,” the band agreed. Ironically, one of the songs that set the band’s career in motion was “When It Rains,” which fit in well with the weather on the night the band played at the theater at Sandal’s. “We chose songs that were pivotal in our career, and then songs that as songwriters, we had a good day when we wrote them, and they had a good story. We also chose songs that work well when you strip them down and just use acoustic guitars.”
The latest single, “Saltwater Gospel,” just happens to be a beach song. The band says they loved the idea that it wasn’t the typical ‘drink in your hand’ lyric that many beach songs are about. “It’s more about the spiritual side of feeling small in nature, and being rejuvenated by the beach. We can all agree that we feel that way about the beach.”
The group has a finished a new album for Valory Music Group with producer Ross Copperman. While they’ve had hit albums in the past, they agree there isn’t so much pressure as there is just getting into the studio and recording a great album. “It seems like we play better and we learn something from every record. We get more confident and we feel freer to try new things that we might have shied away from in the past.”
The band always records an album that they like, but they realize they also have a responsibility to the fans who have been with them for years, and feel the need to make an album that the fans will also respond to.
The new album will be out this year, and the band says they took their time in writing and finding songs, as well as when they were in the studio. They make records they believe in and record songs they believe in, so it was great to have the time to pull together all the elements that they believe make a great album.
“The cohesiveness in this album is the four of us in a room, getting back to the basics of what brought us together as a band and remembering that process when we first started,” Eli explained. “We weren’t a country band, we were just a garage band, just four guys in college that loved to play music, and we got to figure it out on our own. With this album we were just getting back to that, the things that worked for us back then. We felt like it was time to get back to that, and that’s what we did on the new record.”
The band played four of their new songs at the Story Behind The Songs concert – the new single “Saltwater Gospel” as well as “Fingerprints,” “Drive” and “Never Again.” If the crowd at Sandals was any indication, the Eli Young Band has a great new album waiting in the wings for their fans to hear a little later this year.