Four guys

Eli Young Band in the Miami Valley Gaming Grandstand

By Ashley Martin

Photo: Eli Young Band hits the Miami Valley Gaming Grandstand Aug. 4; photo courtesy of Triple 8 Marketing

Music is my entire world. I perform it for a living, I listen to it when I am not writing it, record it when I have the money for it, and practice it when there is nothing else to do! When Dayton City Paper asked me to write about major national touring artists coming through our town, I gladly agreed.

Miami Valley Gaming, formerly Lebanon Raceway, in Lebanon opened its doors Dec. 12, 2013. Since its massive power outage on opening night, the night I performed there, they have came a long way. Being open 24 hours, seven days a week leaves a lot of opportunities to stop in and check them out – or lots of opportunities to get yourself in trouble! Miami Valley Gaming will host the The Eli Young Band Thursday, Aug. 4, inside its grandstands. The Eli Young Band is one of the few guy four-piece “bands” on billboard charts. They definitely have their own niche, along with the Zach Brown Band. They especially caught my attention when they collaborated with Andy Grammer on a version of the pop hit “Honey I’m Good” together. The band consists of Mike Eli (vocals, guitar), James Young (guitar), Jon Jones (bass guitar), and Chris Thompson (drums). I was able to catch a quick call with the drummer from the band, Chris Thompson, while they were on a tour stop in Biloxi, Mississippi.

How did the Eli Young Band get started? 

Chris Thompson: All of us attended The University of North Texas, where we met. We were just four college friends that started a garage band and decided to hit the road.

Where did you ‘hit the road’ first? 

CT: We toured for six years all through Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi before we started getting labels calling us. We had a single that got national airplay with no label backing or sponsorships.

Who did you first sign with? 

CT: We signed with an indie label out of Texas.

Are all the members the original college gang? 

CT: Yep, all of us stuck together and are the original four!

What are some of your favorite venues you have played together? 

CT: That is such a tough question because every show is completely different from the next. The energy is always great at the bigger stadium shows!

They came to Nashville and signed with Carnival Music then moved over to Republic Nashville in 2011. After 16 years of being together, they now are signed to Valory Music Co., a subsidiary of the Big Machine Label Group (Taylor Swift/Scott Borchetta) umbrella. They kicked off the summer by releasing their first single with Valory. With soul-cleansing lyrics and a catchy melodic flow, “Saltwater Gospel,” their newest single, is destined to follow the impressive trajectory of EYB’s previous platinum and multi-platinum chart-toppers: “Drunk Last Night,” “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” and “Crazy Girl.” Their last album, 10,000 TOWNS, ranked No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, landed a coveted Top 5 spot on the Billboard 200, and claimed the top spot on the iTunes Country Albums chart. EYB’s hit singles have been awarded Billboard’s No. 1 Country Song of the Year and ACM Song of the Year. The talented foursome has toured with Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker, and Dave Matthews Band. They are currently preaching that “Saltwater Gospel” and debuting the new music for fans at festivals across the country. They have recorded a new album that has yet to be titled and are not exactly sure on the release date. The music on this new record is said to be their best yet.

Eli Young Band has been writing with Nashville’s best. With so many great songs to choose from, it was tough narrowing it down for the new record. This will be their fifth album to release, and all songs but three were written by the band. The producers on their newest work are Ross Copperman, producer for Keith Urban, Brett Eldredge, Luke Bryan; and Jeremy Stover, producer for Justin Moore. Make sure to mark your calendars and come on out to the grandstands at Miami Valley Gaming, Thursday, Aug. 4. I am looking forward to singing along to all my favorite singles!

Eli Young Band plays Thursday, Aug. 4 at Miami Valley Gaming Grandstand, 6000 Ohio 63 in Lebanon. Show starts at 8 p.m.; doors at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $30-$50. For tour dates and more information, please visit

Ashley Martin is a local favorite country artist who travels the country with her band but always returns home to Dayton. Reach her at and check out her music at


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