By Brian Washburn
Eli Young Band
A local favorite and live music juggernaut will be heading to Fayetteville tonight to rock George’s Majestic Lounge once again. The Eli Young Band will make yet another triumphant return to Northwest Arkansas, but as they have proven in the past few years and what Fayetteville music fans can tell you: the band is only getting bigger and better.
The Denton, Tex. band – vocalist/guitarist Mike Eli, guitarist/backing vocalist James Young, bassist Jon Jones and drummer Chris Thompson – began their journey as a college band when the band members (and some former members) discovered their love of creating a blend of country music with splashes of rock. The band has received more and more attention throughout their career, but they started off with extremely meager shows and crowds, including their first trek through George’s and Fayetteville.
“The first time we played at George’s, no one showed up,” Eli said in a phone interview last week. “Actually three people came in and then quickly went out, so we played for the bar staff in the front room. As time went on, we got bigger and bigger and have played sold-out shows in the back room. We’ve always had a good time [playing at George's].”
There’s no doubt the band loves playing live, and it’s the live show that has given fans more to love about the band, who began making records just so the band could play them live, Eli said. But even though the live show is the cornerstone of the band, they are halfway finished with a new record that will hopefully come out sometime this year, he said.
“Our biggest accomplishment is being able to make a living playing music. A lot of musicians out there want to make a living doing what we do and it’s a big deal,” Eli said. “We always wanted to continue making steps toward something bigger and better. We’re happy where we are, but we want to take it to the top.”
The band’s new album, new singles and new music videos might provide the material needed to take their act to the top of the country music industry, where the band has already landed a Top 5 album on the Billboard Country Music Chart and a Top 20 song on the Billboard Country Music Singles Chart.
Though success has already come for the Eli Young Band, don’t expect the band to change their persona or shy away from the sound that got them to where they are today.
“As songwriters, we get older and begin to be influenced by different things, as any songwriter out there can tell you, as your life changes your approach to songwriting changes too. That’s the only difference as far as the sound we play on the new record,” Eli said. “On the record we are always going to be experimenting, but as far as us and our sound and approach, it’s all the same.”
The Eli Young Band will bring their local-favorite live show to Fayetteville tonight at George’s Majestic Lounge. Doors will open at 9 p.m. and tickets are $20.
Brian Washburn is the founder of DBW and is currently working on a way to revolutionize the music industry.