The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Humble Texans, The Eli Young Band, to play The Suede Bar

The young Texas country foursome known as the Eli Young Band will be rolling into Dallas twice this week as part of its extensive tour, stopping first at Suede Bar tomorrow night and again at the Texas State Fair on Sunday, Oct. 22.

Composed of lead singer Mike Eli from Tomball, Texas, lead guitarist James Young from Irving, bass guitarist Jon Jones from Colleyville and drummer Chris Thompson from Omaha, NE, the Eli Young Band has quickly made its mark on the country music scene. Since the duo of Eli and Young were joined by Jones and Thompson at the University of North Texas, the group has brought its unique rock-infused country sound to a following of devoted fans.

“Our album has been floating around from player to player, car to car, and we’re fine with that,” said Eli at a sound-check for their Oct. 6 show in Lubbock. “Our fans are there for the music, not because some marketing person said you should like this because it’s stuffed in your face.”

With three albums under its belt, including the increasingly popular “Level,” released in 2005 and a newer live album, the band recently grabbed the attention of national media outlets such as Billboard, Guitar One, Country Music Television (CMT) and Great American Country (GAC).

Since signing with Carnival Records, the label owned by Frank Liddell that produced top country acts such as Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert and Chris Knight, the band also scored endorsement deals with Budweiser and Epiphone Guitars.

With a broad range of musical influences that spans the spectrum of classic Texas country (Willie Nelson, Radney Foster, Rodney Crowell) to classic rock (Led Zeppelin, Paul Simon), fans are left with a sound that is hard to label. But as Eli emphasizes, sounding like other artists is the last thing on their minds.

“We get a lot of flack because we push the limits,” said Eli. “[We’re] not typical Nashville; it’s not what people expect. We’re not just fans of country music, we’re fans of music. I don’t think any of us could have really foreseen how our music would evolve.”

The Eli Young Band has toured with country music powerhouses such as Pat Green, Miranda Lambert, Cross Canadian Ragweed and Jack Ingram, showcasing its captivating live show that has won over audiences from small club dates to crowds of 6,000 or more. While the group continues to gain exposure and a wider fan-base, Eli insists they remain devoted to their roots and continue to relate to the college student, as demonstrated by the band’s massive popularity on college campuses.

“Every song we write, there’s something behind it,” said Eli. “When we were writing Level, we were in college, at a point where life was changing really drastically. [We’re] speaking for kids that are going through the same thing.”

With a rigorous tour schedule and a devotion to spreading its music to the masses, the band stays grounded and lives by one rule: to “work harder than anyone who works for us,” said Eli.

His advice for aspiring musicians mirrors the band’s experiences in getting to where they are today.

“Always be open-minded and expand what you want to do, be prepared to sacrifice everything and work three times as hard as anyone else,” said Eli. “Forgetting where you come from can be the biggest downfall for a person.”

Dallas audiences will get a chance to see two very different performances this week. The show at Suede Bar will feature a solo Mike Eli, playing a live acoustic set featuring songs from the album, Level. On Sunday, the Texas State Fair will rock to the sounds of the full band, a show not to be missed.

“People just need to come out to the live show and see how real it is. It’s not about genres or politics…it’s about music and life. They come out to a show and see that there’s four guys out there telling their story.”

More to Discover