Album Review: Eli Young Band - 10,000 Towns

Eli Young Band are on a roll with their past album Life At Best a massive success and the lead single from this project -- 10,000 Towns -- ("Drunk Last Night") a #1 hit. Does 10,000 Towns have enough within it to suggest continued momentum and hits?

With their stardom building with each of their previous albums (from their very first self-released effort in Texas to their first Republic Nashville album Life At Best). The last album had a handful of big hits and everything on the new Republic album 10,000 Towns suggests that this trend will continue with “Drunk Last Night” already a Gold #1 radio hit and “Dust” following suit as the second single from 10,000 Towns (all before the album hit stores in early March 2014).

The title track has a rhythmic radio-ready story to the lyrics and melody as the band sings about the common everyday things that happen in small-town America and you know what, it also makes sense for a road dog band like Eli Young Band (Mike Eli, James Young, Chris Thompson and Jon Jones). There are quite a few (more)radio ready songs like the sing-a-long ready “Let’s Do Something Tonight,” “A Lot Like Love” and “Just Add Moonlight” in addition to previously mentioned hits “Drunk Last Night” and “Dust.” Both “A Lot Like Love” and “Just Add Moonlight” are co-written by Will Hoge, who was one of the writers of “Even If It Breaks Your Heart.” Hoge co-wrote “A Lot Like Love” with Dylan Altman and the song finds EYB singing about the harsh reality of youth and thinking there’s something better out there, even a better love. Meanwhile, “Moonlight” (co-written by Hoge with Jon Randall) finds the band singing about making something better by adding moonlight to any romantic situation to make it more romantic. 

The band has never shied away from recording ballads (with some of the best non-singles on their albums being ballads), and it’s a smart play as Mike Eli has one of the most-emotive voices in all of Country music and that is always best-served on the ballads. “Angel Like You,” “What Does” and “Prayer For The Road” are the main ballads on the record with “What Does,” a building, emotional break-up song about the harsh realities of nothing stopping a relationship from ending when everything else has been exhausted while “Angel Like You” is pretty much an opposite story with lyrics which discuss how much the woman means to the narrator in the ballad. Finally, “Prayer For The Road” finds Mike Eli singing about a note found in a suitcase while out on the road touring And there’s a twist towards the end which gives the song a stunning and emotional impact which is even greater than previously expected. 

Everything about 10,000 Towns suggests that Eli Young Band has found the right formula for their sound. They’ve once-again co-produced the album with Frank Liddell and Justin Niebank and the team allows for the movement and freedom within the songs to have sound that is all their own, a blend of Country, Texas Country, Rock, Soul and Blues. It wouldn’t work for all bands but for Eli Young Band and 10,000 Towns, it’s just right.