Last Night: Eli Young Band at House of Blues
Eli Young Band
Photos by Amanda J. Cain
House of Blues
January 31, 2013
They say Texans have lost our twang. Most Texans don't seem to be all that balled up about it.
Rather, the some 1,500 Texan Eli Young Band fans who crammed into House of Blues for the first of two sold-out shows Thursday night were talking (of course), but not about the University of Texas's "Texas English Project." The results of that study, released this week, revealed that the number of us who talk with a pronounced y'all has dropped to practically nothing from as much as 80 percent only 30 years ago.
The ground has certainly shifted. But that does not necessarily make the EYB, whose twang factor Thursday never rose above about a 6, any less Texan. Or more important these days, any less country.
Perhaps Hank Jr. said it best lo those many years ago: Country is a state of mind. For Eli Young Band, who formed out of Denton about 15 years ago, country is a dogged work ethic (very Texan) and songs that have been polished by a lifetime of hearing other songs just like them on the radio.
Not exactly like them, of course. But the shared experience music offers over the wireless is an essential component of many EYB songs, such as "Always the Love Songs," "Radio Waves" and award-winning breakthrough hit "Even If It Breaks Your Heart." Put them in front of a proper crowd (of radio listeners) and selling them isn't quite as easy as selling sno-cones in hell, but it's close enough.
Rather than two-steps and dosey-does, modern country bands such as EYB traffic in connections and shared experiences, whether that means the quartet's effortless chemistry and obvious enjoyment of each other's company onstage, or the impression singer Mike Eli gives to each audience member that he is singing directly to him or her. (Most often her, but not always.) Hear a full house singing the chorus of "Crazy Girl" right back to him and it's easy to get that.