Last Night: Eli Young Band At Reliant Stadium
Texas country fans ain't your average, run-of-the-mill country fans. We're not referring to country lovers who live in Texas, either. When we speak of Texas country, we're talking about the strain of country music that's reared on the small-town farms of the Lone Star State.
We know a thing or two about Texas country fans because we lived in Huntsville for four years. They're dip-totin', hemi-drivin', beer-drinkin' folks who are adamant about Texas secession and even more adamant about their local music.
During the time we were in Huntsville, countless Texas country artists came through town to the Jolly Fox or Shenanigans, including Monday's performers, Eli Young Band, who recorded their live album at the Fox in 2006.
They, like many other Texas artists, had humble beginnings. Mike Eli and James Young formed an acoustic duo as freshman dorm mates in Denton, Tex., where they attended the University of North Texas. After writing and performing a few songs together as Eli & Young, they expanded and soon became The Eli Young Band.
Mionday was EYB's second time performing at the Houston Rodeo, and they damn near filled the stadium.
They opened with "Always The Love Songs," the second single from their 2008 album, Jet Black and Jealous. It was this album that brought them to fame and spawned two singles to put the record at No. 5 on the U.S. country charts.
Lead singer Mike Eli did most of the talking during the night. He seemed to be in awe that his band had made it to this point in its career.
"I grew up in Tomball and dreamed of playing the rodeo since I was a kid," he said. "If you work hard, write a few songs, work harder, and follow your dreams, you could be standing on this stage tonight."
We think what he meant to say was that you could probably be standing on that stage in a few years, or maybe more depending on your talent.
They played a little old and they played a lot of new, promoting their most recent release Life at Best. EYB played a few cuts from this record, including "Even If It Breaks Your Heart" and the love song "Say Goodnight." They revisited some of their old hits as well, and each time they would transition into one of their old songs, we could hear the audience's screams clearly even from the press box.