Tag Archives: Eli Young Band

The 201 Greatest Singles of the Decade, Part 8: #60-#41

The 201 Greatest Singles of the Decade, Part 8: #60-#41

#60
“Long Trip Alone”
Dierks Bentley
2006
Peak: #10

In a perfect world, this would be this decade’s wedding standard. – Kevin Coyne

#59
“Your Man”
Josh Turner
2005
Peak: #1

Lush baritone against an effortlessly charismatic, enticing invitation to let Turner be “your man.” How can you resist? – Tara Seetharam Continue reading

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Picking the CMA Nominees: Vocal Duo and Vocal Group

It’s often argued that Vocal Duo and Vocal Group should be combined into one category, but this is one of those rare years where the two categories have more than five worthy nominees between them.

My picks for Vocal Duo:

The only real filler in this category is Big & Rich, who have been largely dormant this past year.

As for Vocal Group, all five of my picks have been very active these past twelve months:

  • Eli Young Band
  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • Rascal Flatts
  • Zac Brown Band

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It’s often argued that Vocal Duo and Vocal Group should be combined into one category, but this is one of those rare years where the two categories have more than five worthy nominees between them.
My picks for Vocal Duo:
Big & Rich
Brooks & Dunn
Joey + Rory
Montgomery Gentry
Sugarland
The only real filler in this category is Big & Rich, who have been largely dormant this past year.
As for Vocal Group, all five of my picks have been very active these past twelve months:
Eli Young Band
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Rascal Flatts
Zac Brown Band
What are your picks for Vocal Duo and Vocal Group?
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Album Sales Update: July 2009

It’s time for an album sales update, our first since May 23.   Brad Paisley is off to a strong start with American Saturday Night, selling 130k in its first week. That’s about 70k less than his previous two studio albums – Time Well Wasted and 5th Gear – opened with, but not a terrible drop-off, considering the state of the music market.

Meanwhile, the new studio albums by Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban are slowing down considerably, now being outpaced on a weekly basis by 2008 releases by Taylor Swift, Zac Brown Band, Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum.

Among younger acts with a new album in 2009, the most impressive sales are coming from Jason Aldean, while 2008 releases from Kellie Pickler, Billy Currington, and Randy Houser are showing new signs of life.

Biggest disappointments? It’s hard not to look in the direction of Martina McBride, who has barely cleared the 100k mark on her new studio set.  Lee Ann Womack’s 2008 set just made it over that mark, too.  Then again, one only needs to have sold 455 copies to make the chart this week, with the anchor position going to Wynonna with that total. Her covers album Sing – Chapter 1 has sold 41k to date.

Here are the latest totals for albums released over the past three years that are still charting:

2009

  • Rascal Flatts, Unstoppable – 842,000
  • Keith Urban, Defying Gravity – 452,000
  • Jason Aldean, Wide Open – 384,000
  • Kenny Chesney, Greatest Hits II – 281,000
  • Dierks Bentley, Feel That Fire – 219,000
  • Martina McBride, Shine – 104,000
  • John Rich, Son of a Preacher Man – 103,000
  • Eric Church, Carolina – 94,000
  • Rodney Atkins, It’s America – 88,000
  • Jake Owen, Easy Does It – 81,000
  • Randy Travis, I Told You So: Ultimate Hits – 78,000
  • Montgomery Gentry, For Our Heroes – 64,000
  • Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel, Willie & The Wheel – 56,000
  • Steve Earle, Townes – 47,000
  • Colt Ford, Ride Through the Country – 45,000
  • Jason Michael Carroll, Growing Up is Getting Old – 45,000
  • Wynonna, Sing – Chapter 1 – 41,000
  • Hank Williams Jr. – 127 Rose Avenue – 34,000
  • Ryan Bingham, Roadhouse Sun – 15,000
  • Tracy Lawrence, Rock – 11,000
  • Darryl Worley, Sounds Like Life – 8,000
  • Holly Williams, Here With Me – 5,000
  • Charlie Robison, Beautiful Day – 3,000
  • Tanya Tucker, My Turn – 3,000

2008

  • Taylor Swift, Fearless – 3,464,000
  • Sugarland, Love on the Inside – 1,683,000
  • George Strait, Troubadour – 914,000
  • Alan Jackson, Good Time – 869,000
  • Darius Rucker, Learn to Live – 754,000
  • Kenny Chesney, Lucky Old Sun – 721,000
  • Zac Brown Band, Foundation – 681,000
  • Rascal Flatts, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 – 680,000
  • Lady Antebellum, Lady Antebellum – 674,000
  • Toby Keith, 35 Biggest Hits – 652,000
  • Jamey Johnson, That Lonesome Song – 509,000
  • Toby Keith, That Don’t Make Me a Bad Guy – 403,000
  • James Otto, Sunset Man – 374,000
  • Julianne Hough, Julianne Hough – 314,000
  • Kellie Pickler, Kellie Pickler – 261,000
  • Dierks Bentley, Greatest Hits – 255,000
  • Brad Paisley, Play – 247,000
  • Dolly Parton, Backwoods Barbie – 208,000
  • Tim McGraw, Greatest Hits Vol. 3 – 206,000
  • Billy Currington, Little Bit of Everything – 191,000
  • Trace Adkins, X – 185,000
  • Montgomery Gentry, Back When I Knew it All – 184,000
  • Joey + Rory, Life of a Song – 167,000
  • Blake Shelton, Startin’ Fires – 165,000
  • Eli Young Band, Jet Black and Jealous – 108,000
  • Lee Ann Womack, Call Me Crazy – 102,000
  • Craig Morgan, Greatest Hits – 81,000
  • Hank Williams III, Damn Right Rebel Proud – 80,000
  • Randy Houser, Anything Goes – 79,000
  • Lost Trailers, Holler Back – 69,000

2006-2007

  • Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift – 4,129,000
  • Carrie Underwood, Carnival Ride – 2,918,000

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Eli Young Band, “Radio Waves”

eli young couchEli Young Band’s latest sounds like a hit from top to bottom, with crisp pop-rock production, likable vocals, and a brisk tempo that allows the song to breeze by pleasantly, even as the chorus just misses its intended melodic mark.

As I’ve said before, they’re basically just playing Rascal Flatts’ game with a little less drama, and the result here is pretty enjoyable, the kind of musical comfort food you expect from summer radio when it’s behaved.

If you enjoy the song, I have to recommend that you check out the Sugarland’s charming album cut “Tennessee”, which tells the same basic story with a similar beat and a little more personality. But “Radio Waves” will find a home where its title puts it, and it should.

Written by Blu Sanders & Mike Eli

Grade: B

Listen: Radio Waves

Buy:

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Album Sales Update

Here are the latest totals for albums released over the past three years that are still charting:

2009

  • Rascal Flatts, Unstoppable – 669,000
  • Keith Urban, Defying Gravity – 349,000
  • Jason Aldean, Wide Open – 241,000
  • Dierks Bentley, Feel That Fire – 189,000
  • Martina McBride, Shine – 89,000
  • John Rich, Son of a Preacher Man – 89,000
  • Rodney Atkins, It’s America – 72,000
  • Jake Owen, Easy Does It – 70,000
  • Eric Church, Carolina – 66,000
  • Randy Travis, I Told You So: Ultimate Hits – 59,000
  • Randy Rogers Band, Randy Rogers Band – 57,000
  • Pat Green, What I’m For – 54,000
  • Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel, Willie & The Wheel – 50,000
  • Billy Ray Cyrus, Back to Tennessee – 29,000
  • Jason Michael Carroll, Growing Up is Getting Old – 26,000
  • Dean Brody, Dean Brody – 5,000

2008

  • Taylor Swift, Fearless – 3,220,000
  • Sugarland, Love on the Inside – 1,594,000
  • George Strait, Troubadour – 860,000
  • Alan Jackson, Good Time – 803,000
  • Keith Urban, Greatest Hits – 737,000
  • Kenny Chesney, Lucky Old Sun – 696,000
  • Darius Rucker, Learn to Live – 642,000
  • Rascal Flatts, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 – 642,000
  • Toby Keith, 35 Biggest Hits – 630,000
  • Lady Antebellum, Lady Antebellum – 572,000
  • Zac Brown Band, Foundation – 511,000
  • Jamey Johnson, That Lonesome Song – 438,000
  • Toby Keith, That Don’t Make Me a Bad Guy – 384,000
  • James Otto, Sunset Man – 368,000
  • Julianne Hough, Julianne Hough – 309,000
  • Dierks Bentley, Greatest Hits – 244,000
  • Brad Paisley, Play – 238,000
  • Jewel, Perfectly Clear – 226,000
  • Kellie Pickler, Kellie Pickler – 216,000
  • Dolly Parton, Backwoods Barbie – 199,000
  • Heidi Newfield, What am I Waiting For? – 197,000
  • Tim McGraw, Greatest Hits Vol. 3 – 196,000
  • Trace Adkins, X – 174,000
  • Montgomery Gentry, Back When I Knew it All – 173,000
  • Blake Shelton, Startin’ Fires – 152,000
  • Joey + Rory, Life of a Song – 152,000
  • Billy Currington, Little Bit of Everything – 133,000
  • Chuck Wicks, Starting Now – 129,000
  • Jimmy Wayne, Do You Believe Me Now – 127,000
  • Lee Ann Womack, Call Me Crazy – 94,000
  • Eli Young Band, Jet Black and Jealous – 92,000
  • Hank Williams III, Damn Right Rebel Proud – 76,000
  • Craig Morgan, Greatest Hits – 73,000
  • Lost Trailers, Holler Back – 65,000
  • Randy Houser, Anything Goes – 58,000

2006-2007

  • Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift – 4,129,000
  • Carrie Underwood, Carnival Ride – 2,852,000
  • Trace Adkins, Greatest Hits Vol. 2 – 627,000

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Nab Eli Young Band's Latest Album for $.99

I like Eli Young Band. These boys play catchy pop-rock tunes with a little bit of country flourish, and given the right songs, they do it very well. “When it Rains” is so good that it climbed into the Top 40 with hardly any promotion, and listening to numbers like “Get in the Car and Drive” and “Enough is Enough” is like hearing Rascal Flatts with a less polarizing lead vocalist and more subdued production style.

The group is fairly new on the mainstream country scene, but they've been building up a grassroots following in Texas for years, and it's beginning to pay off, with single “Always the Love Songs” currently sitting at #14 on the charts.

Now, thanks to Amazon's Daily Deal, you can own their major-label debut, containing all of the above songs, for only a buck. It's a solid album – I gave it 3 stars myself – and at the price you'd normally pay for just one track, it's hard to lose!

Buying instructions: click on the big “Play” symbol to play the clips. When they start playing, a little box with information about the track will appear at the bottom of the box. Click where it says the album’s name (Jet Black & Jealous) to reach the full album. Alternatively, you can click the yellow “Buy MP3″ button to go to the page of the individual song that’s

playing, from which you can also reach the full album’s page.


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ACM Top New Artist Winners

header_acm-awards1The winners have been announced for three of the Top New Artist categories at this year’s ACM Awards:

  • Top New Male Vocalist: Jake Owen
  • Top New Female Vocalist: Julianne Hough
  • Top New Vocal Duo or Group: Zac Brown Band

Jake Owen’s victory is something of an upset, as he was nominated against James Otto and Jamey Johnson, two men who received multiple Grammy nominations. Johnson still has a shot at some ACM awards this year, as he’s nominated in three other categories: Single, Song and Album of the Year. Owen is nominated for Vocal Event for his part in Sugarland’s multi-artist “Life in a Northern Town.”

Julianne Hough was chosen over Sarah Buxton and Ashton Shepherd, while Zac Brown Band won over the Eli Young Band and the Lost Trailers.

Owen, Hough and Zac Brown Band will compete for the Top New Artist award during the three-hour telecast on Sunday, April 5. We’ll be live-blogging, of course. Look for our predictions and personal picks later this week.

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The 44th Annual ACM Awards Reaction, Part Two (Fail Blog)

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In honor of FAIL Blog (the perfect workday distraction), here’s my take on the Academy of Country Music Awards nominations. Opinions expressed belong solely to the author, and do not represent the views of other contributors to Country Universe.

WIN- Carrie Underwood, Entertainer of the Year

A Grand Ole Opry induction, four No. 1 singles and best-seller status on the concert trail. Serious credentials for the reigning female vocalist, ensuring her a well-deserved Entertainer nod.

WIN- Miranda Lambert, Single of the Year (“Gunpowder and Lead”)

Lambert’s vengeful stand against domestic violence is amply rewarded with an appearance in the Single category. Her spicy snarl is an intimidating match for a clever, caustic lyric.

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44th Annual ACM Awards Nominations Announcement

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The Academy of Country Music announced nominees for their 44th annual awards ceremony this morning at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. Julianne Hough, Kellie Pickler, Leann Rimes and Jessica Simpson were on hand to present this year’s nominees. More analysis to follow.

Entertainer of the Year

  • Kenny Chesney
  • Brad Paisley
  • George Strait
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Keith Urban

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Eli Young Band, Jet Black & Jealous

Eli Young Band
Jet Black & Jealous

Be warned, purists: Eli Young Band’s major-label debut is a textbook example of just how loosely country music has been defined by its modern commercial market. In true contemporary form, most everything about Jet Black & Jealous – from the omnipresent electric guitars to the (endearingly) emo-sounding title – suggests a significant and varied pop-rock influence, with little more than Mike Eli’s leading twang to mark the quartet as a country act. Factor in the group’s slick, hipster-cowboy appearance, and the comparisons to Lyric Street poster boys Rascal Flatts become all but inevitable.

But despite some significant concessions to convention, Eli & Co. distinguish themselves from the radio pack with their less-is-more delivery and a songwriting approach based in simple, uncontrived observation. Jet Black & Jealous traverses a wide spectrum of contemporary styles over its twelve tracks, but the set is united by a central, consistent narrative voice that manages to sound grounded in genuine experience, even as it sometimes ventures into overly familiar territory. It’s not the strongest set of songs, with some reaching for golden hooks and slightly missing the mark (“Radio Waves,” “Get in the Car and Drive”), and others riffing on uncreative or unexciting themes (“Always the Love Songs,” “Famous”). But even in their shortcomings, Eli Young Band comes across as an act that tells the truth – or at least tries.

The album kicks off with a revamped rendition of “When it Rains,” the band’s first Top 40 country hit and a highlight of their 2005 independent release, Level. Penned by guitarist and partial group-namesake James Young, the song is a stroke of melancholy genius: cold, terse, believable, hooky, even musically unorthodox (Young employs almost every chord in the song’s given key, a true rarity in country music). The extra polish applied to the piece in this Jet Black & Jealous incarnation may be off-putting to fans of the original recording – Eli’s vocal, especially, sounds noticeably thinner and tamer than before – but for the most part, the added production and harmonies only lend the number a bit more punch and momentum, making for a dazzling introduction to the set.

Alas, the brilliant leading example of “When it Rains” ends up casting a long shadow over the ensuing songs, which, for all their high points, never quite manage to match the comprehensive strength of that opening number. In reality, there is much to admire about some of the material on Jet Black & Jealous; it’s just the kind of album that must be picked apart individually in order for that material to make a fair case for itself.

In general, Eli Young Band is at their best when playing up their rock chops. They channel Radney Foster on the outlaw frenzy “Throw and Go,” then sugarcoat Tom Petty’s style on the title track, an ear-candy break-up ditty whose titular phrase is presumably just there to sound cool, as it’s never actually explained. Then there’s “Enough is Enough,” a frank appraisal of a withering relationship that finds Eli lamenting, “I can’t lean on you, ’cause I fall right over.” A slow-burning shuffle, it’s the closest sonic relative to “When it Rains” that the group has included here, and another indication that that that particular style suits them very well.

Less winning, however, are their stabs at patented contemporary country themes. They try on Kenny Chesney’s classic rock nostalgia (see “I Go Back,”) and easy-as-that life philosophies (see “Don’t Blink”) in “Always the Love Songs” and “Mystery in the Making,” respectively, then rewrite Sugarland’s “Tennessee” as “Radio Waves,” sacrificing some of the original’s catchiness and quirky charm in the process. They do manage to beat the Flatts boys at their own melodramatic game on the fun “Get in the Car and Drive,” but then over-do that, too, on the inane “How Should I Know” and “Guinevere.”

But to the group’s credit, they expound on their recycled cliches in a manner nuanced and conversational enough to make the stories themselves come across as real, and their delivery remains spot-on through the rough patches. In addition to the appreciable lack of a truly bombastic moment anywhere in the set, Eli is endowed with an Everyman tone that sounds convicted no matter what the musical setting, and the group’s harmony-driven sound is pleasant enough to make even the lacking material sound halfway-decent.

So all in all, it’s a mixed showcase of the act. On one hand we have the twangin’ alt-rockers who produce mature numbers like “Enough is Enough”; on the other, we have yet another country boy band just doing their darndest to break into a radio format that favors indiscriminately catchy tunes like “Always the Love Songs.” And then, somewhere perfectly in the middle, we have the Texan phenoms of “When it Rains” fame, the rare act who produces music that is both artistically fulfilled and commercially attractive. Eli Young Band will likely spend the rest of their career trying to achieve that hallowed middle ground, and it will be interesting to see whether they can manage to do so on future releases – but for the moment, we have Jet Black & Jealous: the sound of a promising young act weighing its options.

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