Eli Young Band on New Album's Wide-Open Doors - Rolling Stone
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Eli Young Band on New Album’s Wide-Open Doors

“Saltwater Gospel” singers visit ‘The Ram Report’ to talk about keeping things fresh after 16 years together

Eli Young Band members faced a welcomed dilemma when making their upcoming album: “We were writing some of the best stuff we’ve ever written and were being sent some of the best stuff we’ve ever been sent,” lead singer Mike Eli tells Rolling Stone Country. “It really felt good because we had a huge problem: what songs to pick.”

Most of the group’s self-penned songs triumphed, as lead single “Saltwater Gospel” is one of only three tracks on the project written by outside songwriters. Eli says their latest hit was a no-brainer upon first listen, given its feel-good, summertime vibe and spiritual message. They also appreciated the musical freedom that came via a fairly stripped-down demo of the song, allowing them to put their own stamp on its instrumentation and production. The result is a hands-in-the-air, pop-infused – with just a touch of Bob Marley influence — country song that takes Eli Young Band to a slightly new (yet not too unfamiliar) sonic territory.

“To keep things fresh with a new record, it’s the challenge of the song,” says drummer Chris Thompson. “That’s why ‘Saltwater Gospel’ was such a fun song to record. We didn’t listen to the demo and say, ‘That’s obviously the way it needs to be.’ The door was open for us to change things and mess around with different things. Sometimes it takes just one or two of those on a record to really freshen up the whole band.”

There’s no word yet on a title or release date for Eli Young Band’s new album. The guys are on the road all summer preaching the “Saltwater Gospel.” Check out cities and dates on their tour schedule here.

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