FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – It was almost 20 years ago when four college kids at the University of North Texas started a band, and today they’re still doing what they love.
This past weekend the Eli Young Band returned home to play in front of a DFW crowd, and they said there’s no place like home.
When the band took the stage at the Off the Rails Country Music Festival, it was an event they had looked forward to for a while. “Yeah. We have a lot of history here,” said Mike Eli. “Obviously. We live here.”
It was a special event for James Young. “It’s actually my daughters first concert,” he explained. “She just turned one.”
Playing at home is a welcome break for the guys who have been friends for decades. “These three guys met in ’98. I came to college in ’99.,” Eli recalled. “They had started playing together first and I came in and said look, ‘we can write some songs. I can sing and let’s see what happens.”
Truth be told what happened at first — wasn’t much. But they kept grinding and eventually began to find success.
The group has hit number 1 on the Billboard Country Charts three times and in 2012 they won the ACM Song of the Year for “Crazy Girl.”
For the Eli Young Band the road to success has been long, but they don’t have regrets.
“You know, I would have liked it to be a shorter road, maybe a little bit. But at the end of the day, we’ve been really lucky,” said Eli.
While backstage at Off the Rails, FC Dallas gave the band soccer jerseys. They all bore #19 for the year 2019, but the number has a different meaning for the group. It’s how many years the guys have officially been a band.
The keys to staying together, they say, is chemistry, communication, and keeping ego’s in check.
“We have seen so many bands come and go over the years. That’s an integral part of what it takes to make it. You have got to get along on the road,” said Jon Jones, bass player with the band.
Drummer Chris Thompson said, “Trying to not have as much ego individually some people get when they are having some success.”
Kids today might do well to take a history lesson from the Eli Young Band. They all got their college degrees, but never gave up their dreams.
“We are very practical people, which is why I think we all graduated, and it keeps us grounded. But we have always been dreamers,” Jones said.
Eli Young Bands’ current single “Love A’int” is number 2 on country radio and has more than 34 million streams so far.