Eli Young Band – Tickets – Iron City – Shows – Birmingham, AL – May 9th, 2019

Eli Young Band

102.5 The Bull presents

Eli Young Band

Tyler Braden

Thursday, May 9th 2019

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Iron City - Shows

Birmingham, AL

$22.00 - $27.00

This event is all ages

There is a $5 upcharge for this show for patrons under the age of 21.

102.5 The Bull presents Eli Young Band
102.5 The Bull presents Eli Young Band
The ELI YOUNG BAND has always been unique in modern Country music – a true band of brothers who play
their own instruments, write their own songs and cling fast to their Texas roots. They’d even go so far as to call
themselves “misfits,” but with their fourth major label album, FINGERPRINTS (The Valory Music Co.), they’re
finally embracing what makes them different once and for all.
“With 17 years of experience comes a little bit of wisdom and freedom in knowing who you are,” says lead singer
Mike Eli. “And what you’re really good at.”
Although their sound has evolved over time, what they’re good at has always been the same – organic, liveshow focused Country dripping with authenticity and perfected in clubs, amphitheaters and stadiums from coast
to coast.
Eli founded the band with guitarist James Young, bassist Jon Jones and drummer Chris Thompson at the
University of North Texas in 2000, building a grass-roots fanbase that propelled each of their previous three
albums into the Top 5 of Billboard’s Country Albums chart, with 2014’s 10,000 TOWNS bowing at No. 1.
Three No. 1 singles gave the band an edgy, romantically-charged identity (“Crazy Girl,” “Even If It Breaks Your
Heart” and “Drunk Last Night”). Their stable of hits collected Platinum and Multi-Platinum certifications that
lead to Grammy and CMA Award nominations, Billboard Awards and an ACM trophy for Song of the
Year (“Crazy Girl”). All of these accolades combined with their loyal fanbase and successful touring have resulted
in over 500 million streams of their career catalogue.
Confident in their soulful, hearts-on-fire brand of Country, the group headed back into the studio to co-produce
FINGERPRINTS alongside Ross Copperman and Jeremy Stover. Eight of the 11 new tracks were penned by
the band members themselves. They’ve returned to a live-show-first mentality, trading in studio tricks for the
“meat and potatoes” of a touring band; ringing guitars, driving bass lines, thundering drums and heartfelt, genuine
“There were so many organic sounds on those first records, and you can hear a lot of that in this album,” says
Eli. “But mostly, I think it’s about passion and soul and believe-ability.”
Co-writing with some of Nashville’s hottest hit makers like Ashley Gorley, Lori McKenna, Ryan Hurd and Shane
McAnally, that honesty is paired top-notch song craft and vivid imagery.
The album’s FINGERPRINTS title comes from a fist-pumping anthem about a smooth romantic criminal, but its
meaning invokes the band’s quest to unmask themselves. No two fingerprints are the same, and their newest
collection represents the most personal music they’ve ever made.
“So many of the songs we were writing and connecting with felt personal,” Eli continues. “So many songs came
from a place of passion, and something I just really wanted to say.”
New single “Skin & Bones” is a prime example. A tender, epic love song built on real-life devotion and decorated
with a dash of Tejano flair, it’s a direct reflection of Eli’s enduring love for his wife, Kacey.
“Walking into the writing room with Phil Barton and Lori McKenna was such a treat,” he explains. “I felt in my gut
we were gonna walk out of that room with a special song, and it turns out we did. My wife and I have been
together for a lot of years now, and there comes a point where so much of who you are is intertwined and
connected. You sometimes lose that line of where they end and you begin.”
Meanwhile, the band was keenly aware of longtime fans’ thirst for “old school” EYB, and their calls on social
media led to one of the project’s most nostalgic and heartwarming standouts, “Old Songs.” A feel-good anthem
about days – and tunes – gone by, the song celebrates happy memories in a way that harkens back to their first
Gold single, “Always the Love Songs.”
“When somebody says, ‘We love the old stuff,’ so much of that is built around the memories that come along
with the old songs,” Eli says. “When you hear one, they come back right away.”
Backed by harmonica and perfect for a campfire sing along, Carolyn Dawn Johnson provides gorgeous backup
vocals on the track, as she does on another laid-back, life-is-good ballad – “God Love the Rain.” But the band
was also excited to revisit its rocking side.
“I think we pushed ourselves to dial it up a notch,” Young says, flashing a playful grin. “Maybe that’s why a lot of
this reminds us of our earlier days.”
Songs like “Drive,” “Once” and “The Days I Feel Alone” will energize established fans and newcomers alike,
while the clever “Never Land” offers a soaring fairy-tale head fake.
An irresistible groove defines “Never Again,” and even songs the band did not write – of which there are only
three – feel incredibly true to them ... just like some of their biggest hits. “Heart Needs a Break” is so catchy it
can’t be ignored.
“The first time you hear it, you’re singing along,” says Eli. “We were lucky with ‘Never Again,’ ‘Heart Needs a
Break’ and ‘Saltwater Gospel.’ We knew right away that we needed to record those, and songs like that seem to
end up like ‘Crazy Girl.’ They’re undeniable.”
What’s also undeniable is the band’s unique connection with fans. Even through sonic evolutions and changes
to the Country industry, their obsessive following has continued to grow as “Saltwater Gospel” became one of
the best reactions from Highway listeners all year on SiriusXM. And that they put on one of the best loved liveshows around – the very fingerprint of the Eli Young Band itself.
Maybe that makes them misfits, but so be it. This is who they are – some of the last true brothers of the road.
“We’ve been through everything together,” Eli says. “We’ve had this inner support system even before we had
families of our own, and I think we still turn to that. Whatever the road is in front of us, our friendship will always
be the priority.”
This summer, the road will take them from California to Maine, headlining shows with a set of brand new – but
classic sounding – Eli Young Band tunes. And it will likely be just as much fun for them as it is for fans.
“We still look at each other as college buddies – not business partners,” says Young. “We get to share our lives
with each other and we’ve done some really cool stuff, and our music has been the greatest byproduct of that.”
Tyler Braden
Tyler Braden
He has a powerful voice, a knack for writing emotional songs, and the ability to deliver them with complete conviction.
Tyler Braden is a secret talent hiding in plain sight in Nashville. But it’s easy to become a believer. Just listen.
On a song like “I Remember When,” a self-penned piece inspired by his real-life grandfather, Braden explores the perimeters of dementia. He sings with intensity about a man whose emotions are almost impenetrable, focused on a NASCAR race on the TV screen and a way-back memory of his now-deceased wife in her younger, rebel days. It’s a difficult topic, one that seems suited to a dirge-like ballad, but Braden crafted it as a midtempo celebration, avoiding the obvious sadness in his grandfather’s advancing age and diminishing skillset, reveling instead in the ebullient peak of his prior years.
“So many people will say they write stories or write songs from their hardships and things they’ve been through,” Braden notes matter-of-factly. “I’m lucky enough that I haven’t had that many hardships, but it’s just storytelling, you know. That’s what songwriting is.”
Braden may not have faced many trials personally, but he’s certainly seen hardship: As a working firefighter, he’s encountered his share of deaths, gunshot wounds and families who lost all their possessions in a blaze.
And Braden definitely knows how to tell a story in a way that grabs the listener. He grew up in the same Montgomery, Alabama, region where Hank Williams honed his artful expression, and was gifted with a vocal tone that combines the smoke of Luke Combs, the scratch of Steve Earle and the urgency of Kurt Cobain. Braden is modest – he wouldn’t begin to claim any of those comparisons – but their lineage is apparent in the powerful hooks that dominate his songwriting and in the raw passion he brings to a performance.
And make no mistake about it, that passion is required in every performance Braden gives. Even when he’s simply recording a lo-fi guitar-and-vocal reference for a song he’s just written, he infuses it with an unmistakable emotion. It’s music, he reasons, and it deserves nothing but his best.
“Even a work tape, I don’t have it in me to do a substandard recording just to be able to remember it,” he explains. “Writing anything is expression, and half-hearting it wouldn’t be a true expression.”
To date, Braden has mostly focused his efforts one track at a time, building a following for songs that lean on the rock side of modern country. “Little Red Wine,” his first significant release, rode a guitar-driven production and a forceful vocal performance to the lead position on two different Spotify playlists. “Leave Me Alone” showcased his powerhouse demeanor in a mystery-wrapped package that bears the influence of early-‘90s arena grunge.
As he works on his first full album, Braden has assembled a mix of from-the-gut performances, ranging from the ghostly, self-penned “Secret” to the sandy, regret-filled “Thank Me For That,” the latter authored by ace songwriter Shane Minor (“Beautiful Mess,” “Chillin’ It”). Braden’s recordings reveal an ever-present angst, an understated determination to find meaning in the chaos of life.
“I want music that’s gonna move your heart and move your body,” he says, “a little bit of both.”
Country has been a part of Braden’s musical background from the beginning. He grew up in Wetumpka, Alabama, 15 miles from the graveyard memorial to Hank Williams, the pioneering singer/songwriter who created such ever-lasting standards as “Honky Tonk Blues,” “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” Williams’ legacy is ingrained in the area, and Braden became familiar with him through his grandfather, who was a huge fan.
Both of Braden’s parents sang country music publicly, and he even had an uncle who worked as an Elvis Presley impersonator. But the music that spoke most directly to Braden was country of the 1990s and 2000s – Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Keith Urban. As he learned to play guitar, those influences meshed with singer/songwriter types – John Mayer, breathy stylist Ron Pope, jaunty Colbie Caillat co-writer Jason Reeves – to build a musical undercurrent that leaned toward gritty subject matter and moody atmospherics.
It was only after graduating high school that Braden started putting those influences to work. His first outlet was Tempting Fate, a local rock band that changed its name to Adamant when it ran into trademark issues. Braden auditioned informally with Kid Rock’s “Only God Knows Why,” and the group played a small circuit of 10 venues or so in Alabama, covering heavy modern rock by the likes of Tool, Three Days Grace and Breaking Benjamin.
Country might have been put on the backburner in his public life, but privately, it remained front and center.
“When I got in my truck to go home, I was listening to country on the radio,” he says. “That has always been what I was really into.”
In the meantime, Braden found a paying gig as a first responder with the Montgomery Fire Department. Rookies’ commitment were tested with a grueling schedule of tedious jobs to fill, and it was in that period that he faced his first emergency response, as his unit picked up a gun-shot victim whose femur had been broken by a bullet.
“I was cleaning blood off the porch of this house while the guy was sitting there bleeding,” Braden says. “It was crazy. That’s the most blood I’d ever seen, and it was my very first call and I was absolutely exhausted already.”
Braden started playing solo country shows in the area, honing his writing chops and getting used to the spotlight. He became a Southeast finalist in a country talent competition, and part of the prize package included a recording session in Nashville, where the facility was essentially a basement studio at the home of the contest’s promoter. While in town, he played a date at the Blue Bar in Nashville, and the whole experience put Music City in Braden’s sights.
He took a practical approach; instead of just moving, he first found a job with the suburban Brentwood Fire Department, starting in the firehouse on July 11, 2016. He took it seriously – Braden didn’t even play a club date after his arrival until January 2017, when he took part in a weekly show, the Whiskey Jam – but he continued to write songs in his off hours, including an overhaul of “Little Red Wine.”
That song caught the attention of Triple 8 Management co-owner Bruce Kalmick, who was impressed enough to reach out to Braden.
“I remember pacing in my backyard, a nervous wreck talking to this guy in the music industry,” Braden says. “He’s like, ‘Yeah, just send me some more songs, you know. Send me some work tapes.’”
As always, Braden put real passion into those work tapes, and Kalmick connected him with manager Pete Olson. In turn, Olson paired him with record producer Randy Montana, who helped Braden find the dramatic core to his material, starting with “I Remember When.”
“Since I started in rock music, every time I’m writing a song or thinking about the production of the song, I’m picturing the live shows because I try to be pretty energetic on stage,” he says. “I said, ‘I want more grunge to it, a little heavier,’ and Randy said, ‘Man, the song’s gotta have somewhere to go.’ That’s been stuck in my head ever since. It was different from what I had in my mind, but he nailed it.”
As has Braden with the performance part of his work. The edgy end of his vocals is a direct result of those years belting over loud rock guitars in the clubs, and the sincerity in his phrasing comes from his country heritage and from that blue-collar experience in the firehouse, battling tragic blazes or answering a 911 double-homicide call.
Braden may not have lived out a lot of hardship, but he’s come face to face with it, and it’s turned him into a storyteller of real merit, whether it’s a song he’s written himself or one he’s picked up from fellow Nashvillians chasing the same road to glory that drove Hank Williams all those years ago.
“You write a lot of bad songs to get to the good ones,” Braden says. “But I’m not looking only for something that I wrote. I’m looking for something that expresses me in a real way.”
It’s why Braden captures such passion and intensity in those songs. Wherever they come from, their authenticity is palpable, building his audience on a daily basis. Nashville’s secret is coming into widespread view.