By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
Opening acts are usually newcomers to the music industry, but that word doesn’t describe the Eli Young Band.
The Texas-based country band has been touring and recording for 10 years, slowly building a sturdy fanbase. Thanks to hit tunes like “Crazy Girl” and “Always the Love Songs,” the band is poised to take over the country music charts.
“For the past 10 years it’s been this nice, slow gradual build, and in the last two years the curve just shot straight up,” said drummer Chris Thompson. “But the positive thing about being in a band with four guys, nobody can really lose a sense of themselves. It’s always been the four of us. The band always feels like home and keeps us grounded. We’ve been in a lot more airports and done a lot more interviews recently, and that’s fun. That’s the icing on the cake. That’s the job we signed up for 10 years ago.”
Thompson and his bandmates, Jon Jones, James Young and Mike Eli, love playing live.
“We’re definitely not laid back. We’re trying to put on an energetic show,” he said. “We put on the kind of show we would like to go see. We take a lot of pride in our show.”
The Eli Young Band is having a blast on its current tour opening up for Dierks Bentley.
“The ‘Country and Cold Cans Tour’ has been awesome,” he said. “We were really excited when Dierks asked us to come out and be direct support. It’s a huge compliment.”
The Tupelo show is the second to last tour stop.
“It feels like the eighth grade. Everybody’s goofing off,” Thompson said. “The last night of the tour, you just end the show and go home, but the (second to last) one is where everybody wants to party.”
After this tour, the Eli Young Band will hit the road with Rascal Flatts, and then head into the studio to record a new CD.
He invites fans to check them out in Tupelo before they hit the road again.
“Dierks is probably the best entertainer. If you miss the show, you’re gonna miss a really special night,” Thompson said. “My band will bring everything that we have and try to put a smile on your face and make you feel good and make you feel happy. If you don’t like it, at least we’ll play ‘Crazy Girl.’”
Country & Cold Cans Tour
WHO: Dierks Bentley, Eli Young Band, The Cadillac Black
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
WHERE: BancorpSouth Arena
COST: $35 and $25, plus fees
INFO: bcsarena.com, (662) 841-6528