Eli Young Band

10,000 Towns-2014 Republic Nashville

Reviewed by Michael Rampa


As an eight time veteran of the Billboard Country Charts (including three No. 1 singles), it’s hard to fault a band for sticking with a winning formula. That is exactly what Eli young Band attempts on its fifth release, “10,000 Towns.” The 11-tracks are dominated by radio ready numbers with catchy melodies and big choruses. With the title inspired by the Dallas band’s road travels,. The quartet has typically relied on outside songwriters. Will Hoge  weighed  in on two numbers. However, all four members contributed on this effort. Reflective of their new chapters as husbands and fathers, it takes no thematic chances. With titles such as “A Lot Like Love” and “Angel Like You” it is far more domesticated than the edgy heartland rock infused “Life At Best” which spawned the megahits Crazy Girl and “Even If It Breaks Your Heart. “ Of course, there are the standard country themes  of “Drunk Last Night” and the title track. It involves a six pack, kissing a blond-haired beauty and of course, a main street. Musically, the band is in top form. Throughout, James Young’s guitar work ranges from deft to scorching and front man Mike Eli’s vocals are smooth and emotive. The highlights are the rollicking “Dust” where  the girl has the “pedal to the metal in (what else) a hand me down Ford” and the incredibly touching “Prayer For The Road” where Eli shines as a balladeer. Coupled with Frank Liddell’s crisp production; it keeps the 40 minutes from sounding completely sterilized. Now sitting at #1 on the Billboard Country Album chart, it’s a safe play that has clearly paid off.