Album Spotlight: Eli Young Band, ’10,000 Towns’
The Eli Young Band set out to make their best album ever, and many fans will agree they succeeded. ’10,000 Towns’ is a very even project, with no letdowns or skip-ahead tracks and the best moments spread throughout.
Sonically, ’10,000 Towns’ stays true to everything EYB has recorded up to this point. Singer Mike Eli is most comfortable with the introspective, mid-tempo songs of the heart, but he expands to cover more complex subjects (‘Revelations,’ ‘Prayer for the Road’) and lighter fare (’10,000 Towns’).
The current single ‘Dust’ is the signature track. Like ‘Crazy Girl’ from ‘Life at Best,’ it’s a song that feels clumsy at first, but becomes more and more effective with each listen. The guitar lick that drives the song is the rowdiest moment on the album. One won’t find a true rocker beyond it.
‘What Does’ is another highlight. The ballad is the saddest of the breakup songs (technically ‘Drunk Last Night’ falls into this category, but it’s not as much of a weeper). “When you hold on through thick and through thin / And when that kind of love doesn’t win / What does?” Eli asks during the chorus. The question will put a lump in the throat of anyone in a happy relationship.
‘Just Add Moonlight’ is the only vanilla moment on ’10,000 Towns,’ but it’s followed up by two of the strongest tracks, ‘Revelations’ and ‘Prayer for the Road.’ Once again, the band takes a concept that feels unique to a traveling musician and makes it accessible to a wider audience. ‘Even if It Breaks Your Heart’ became a Platinum single using a similar formula. ‘Prayer’ is even more touching.
“May the wheels keep turning, get you where you need to go / I’ll keep the porch light burning ’til you get back home / May the angels fly beside you, down every mile you roll / May heaven hear this prayer, prayer for the road,” Eli sings.
The final minute of this soaring ballad adds a strong coda to a professional, artistic project from this foursome from Texas.
Key Tracks: ’10,000 Towns,’ ‘Dust,’ ‘What Does,’ ‘Prayer for the Road’
Injury-Free Summer: The group will be touring with Jake Owen this summer, and during an interview for Taste of Country, they joked that that means avoiding the go-kart track. They may agree to go golfing with the hitmaker, however.
Did You Know?: EYB say they’d take a Gold or Platinum album over a Grammy. In fact, having something to hang on their wall is a goal with this project.