Eli Young Band ready to have fun at fair

The Eli Young Band will perform Wednesday night at this year’s Berrien County Youth Fair.

Getting up on stage and performing is not a job for the Eli Young Band.

“It’s just fun. We have 90 minutes to get up there and give it our all,” said guitarist James Young. “It doesn’t feel like work.”

The Eli Young Band will headline the Berrien County Youth Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 14, with special guest Paul Erdman.

The band is known for their unique take on country music with influences from classic rock and classic country.

“In our roots, we started in Texas,” Young said. “At the time that was more rocking, more loud guitars, so it was a little different than country at the time. Playing in that circuit with those influences, that had a lot of influence to our sound.”

Young and lead vocalist/guitarist Mike Eli formed the band with bassist Jon Jones and drummer Chris Thompson in 2000 at the University of North Texas.

“We all wanted to do music in some form or fashion, and that’s why we all went to North Texas to purse music,” Young said. “I started paying guitar when I was 10 years old and always knew I wanted to be on stage.”

He said it wasn’t until college that the four musicians became song writers.

“We knew we wanted to be successful, but didn’t know how back then,” Young said. “It’s been a crazy ride since. We’ve been very blessed.”

They released their self-titled debut album in 2002, followed by “Level” in 2005 and opening shows for Miranda Lambert.

Four albums followed, “Jet Black & Jealous,” “Life at Best,” “10,000 Towns,” and their latest: “Fingerprints.”

The band has charted eight times on the Billboard country charts, with four of their singles having reached No. 1: “Crazy Girl”, which was the top country song of 2011 according to Billboard Year-End, along with “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” “Drunk Last Night,” and “Love Ain’t.”

Young said “Love Ain’t” has been a favorite of concert attendees this summer.

“It’s been exciting to see people singing along with it more and more since we started playing it earlier this year,” he said.

Young said fairgoers can expect to hear a little bit of everything from the bands discography at the BCYF.

“We’ve been blessed to have hits over the years, so we play those along with our new stuff because there are some songs we would get tomatoes thrown at us if we don’t play it every night,” he said.

Tickets for Eli Young Band’s performance at the fair are $10-$45. The show starts at 7 p.m. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.bcyf.org or call 473-1500.

Contact: anewman@TheHP.com, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman