The Eli Young Band has taken the country music world by storm in recent years since the release of their platinum record, "Crazy Girl."
Their latest album, "Jet Black and Jealous" debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart. They were also nominated for the Academy of Country Music Top New Vocal Group of the Year award.
The band, composed of four college friends from Texas, will visit the Cotton Eyed Joe Friday night to sing hits like "Even if it Breaks Your Heart," and their latest release, "Drunk Last Night." The performance will hopefully provide a glimpse into their upcoming album in the works.
The Daily Beacon's Assistant Arts and Culture Editor Cortney Roark had the chance to talk with bassist Jon Jones and discussed the successes of the band and what to expect from the "Drunk Last Night" tour.
Cortney Roark: What do you want your audience to take away from the "Drunk Last Night" tour?
Jon Jones: We've been to the Cotton Eyed Joe many times before and "Drunk Last Night" is probably the most appropriate song we've ever put out for that club. It's always a wild party there, so that's kind of what we had in mind when we decided to release the song.
CR: How do you think this single sets the tone for the album?
JJ: It's a pretty diverse album. We've always tried to make records that if you listen to start to finish, you never feel like you listen to the same song over and over again. I think this is, hopefully, another record like that. I think actually this record is going to sound a little more driven maybe.
CR: I hear you guys met in college?
JJ: Yes, so we love coming and playing college towns. It makes us relive those first couple years. We all met at the University of North Texas and we all missed playing music. We did it through high school and we all came to college with the idea that we wanted to continue that and we became friends, started a band, all graduated and decided that we didn't want to get real jobs. That was 14 years ago.
CR: How do those friendships and having the college experience together affect the chemistry of the band?
JJ: You kind of come to college mature in some ways, but in a lot of ways you've got all the growing up in the world left to do and we got to share that together. The fact that we were friends before we decided to form a band really has helped us over the years. A lot of people don't get along on the road and can't make it work. It's still a lot of fun to be together and I think that has really helped us push through the bad times. We are doing this because we want to and the best part is we all can do it together.
CR: In pursuing your dream and the Eli Young Band's dream, how did it feel when "Crazy Girl" went platinum?
JJ: The success of "Crazy Girl" really changed everything for the band. It really made us realize just how much country radio can impact a band and just with one song with the exposure you get. We've never had a song connect quite that well, like "Crazy Girl." It feels like everything has gone much faster since then.
CR: The number of bands in country music has increased in recent years. How do you, as a band, set yourself apart and make yourself unique?
JJ: Country music is really strong right now with bands. We had a chance to do a tribute record with Alabama, who, as far as bands go, there is no one else to look up to quite like them. They did it first, they definitely did it best. All we can do, we've decided, is just to be ourselves. Some of the bands came together as a family, and some met in different ways. We met because we're all friends. The atmosphere that we have, we kind of are a family, the Eli Young family. That's what sets us apart.
CR: What do you think the Eli Young Band is going to do in the future? What do you hope happens?
JJ: We just want to keep making music and keep our friendship and the family first. We were out with Kenny Chesney all summer, which was a great experience. I think the big thing we learned there to make the biggest goal possible is to have that headlining set of songs that everybody knows where everybody can sing along to every word of the whole show.