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Jet Black & Jealous

45 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 16, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In 2008, the Eli Young Band are one of the fastest-growing on-the-road outfits in the region. The four Eli Young Band members came together purely by chance as students the University of North Texas in Denton, where roommates Mike Eli and James Young found an instant and intense shared musical sensibility. For frontman Eli, the wildfire success of the band is undeniable musical proof that some of the best things in life are just meant to be. The duo, originally known as Eli & Young, mixed their newly penned songs with covers from musical heroes like Rodney Crowell and Paul Simon and started playing regular gigs at a local dive known as the R Bar. That sleepy venue was soon alive with a full house and a full band when next-door college roommates Chris Thompson and Jon Jones joined on drums and bass respectively.

About the Artist

The Eli Young Band's music has all the hallmarks of youth: passion, energy, excitement.

The band's story is the definition of commitment: eight-years-eight long years-spent honing its sound while building to the release of its first national album. The blend of sonic exuberance and personal maturity is just one of the things that makes the Eli Young Band and their Universal Republic/Universal Records South debut, Jet Black & Jealous, such an intriguing musical property. The band combined a range of elements-vocalist Mike Eli's ingratiating resonance, guitarist James Young's elastic bag of sounds, bass player Jon Jones' inventive foundation and drummer Chris Thompson's energetic propulsion-to create a 12-song CD that paints even the difficult turns in life with an underlying optimism.

"That's been a theme through a lot of our music," Jones observes. "It might be raining today, but it might be sunny tomorrow, so it's worth sticking around for."

Sticking around is a major tenet of the Eli Young Band. The eight years of lugging equipment to small Texas clubs, of losing day jobs because their music held priority, of saying goodbye to relationships torn by their weekend travels, only solidified their dedication. The four weren't sure initially what they had or where they were bound. But they knew they needed to keep pushing forward, that there was something special in their boundless mix of modern country and solid roots-rock inspirations. Their persistence led to new career plateaus. The band was embraced early on by CMT (Country Music Television), GAC (Great American Country), Country Weekly, Guitar One and Billboard. After their video for single "When It Rains" was picked up on both country music channels, fans across the country poured into venues night after night and would sing the words back to the band. The buzz around the band and their independent single caused a stir among concerts promoters and radio programmers who began to add their single to play lists from Denver to Kansas City and Chicago. The single was soon working its way up the Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart. While being worked independently to radio, the song spent more than 30 weeks on the chart, an amazing feat considering the band had not yet signed with a major label. Now, with the manpower of Universal Republic and Universal Records South behind the band, their single is well on its way to becoming the longest running single in chart history. "We live in the American Idol age, the age of instant celebrity," Young notes. "But we grew up listening to bands that did the same thing we eventually did. That was all we knew: Go out and start playing." Eli adds, "we can stand up with our heads held high because we have a history and we've gone out there for eight years and worked really hard. Everything that we've done so far, we've built ourselves. I think there's something to be said for that, being able to have our story and being able to have a history as a band." The history is important, but so is the current sound of Jet Black & Jealous. Produced by Mike Wrucke and Frank Liddell, who jointly oversaw Miranda Lambert's award-winning Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the disc draws eight of its 12 songs from songwriters Eli and Young, who inevitably fashioned their material around characters with distinct determination. The on-the-run guy in "Throw And Go," the emotionally torn woman in "Guinevere," and the at-a-crossroads protagonist of "Mystery In The Making" all have their focus on the future, even when they're uncertain what that future will be. Those attitudes distinctly mirror the real-life philosophies of the EYB, who infuse Jet Black & Jealous with sonic backdrops cherry picked from such disparate sources from Rodney Crowell, to the Eagles, to Foster & Lloyd. The album's driving sound and never-say-die lyrical core capture the free-wheeling nature of their concerts, which have built them a solid base of fans. "We wanted to have an album," Thompson says, "that really sounds like what we're doing every night out on the road without being a 'live' album." The Eli Young Band took shape at University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Located 40 miles outside Dallas, the town is embedded in one of country music's strongest hotbeds. But the college itself is noted for an outstanding jazz program, setting stylistic polarities that help explain the diverse tentacles underneath the band's sonic template. "Denton has a really cool vibe," Young assesses. "It's a college town, of course, but it's also got a big art school, and it was just a cool place to vibe musically. There's plenty of bars to play at. People really love music around there, so it's very conducive to making music." Young, Jones and Thompson all arrived at the University of North Texas in 1998, and played music together informally at a friend's house that first year to recapture the spirit they'd felt in their respective high-school bands. In 1999, Eli enrolled and became quick friends with Young. They started performing as a duo, and in short order, the entire foursome began making music together, debuting live in October 2000. They built a local following, each of them often holding down two jobs at the same time they were attending school and fitting in rehearsals and gigs. The stress would have decimated most bands, and they certainly had their share of tense moments. "We got all the really good arguments out of the way the first couple of years," Jones reflects. "It also helped that we knew each other before we were a band. We really were friends. We figured if we could keep our friendship together, we could keep the band together. After a couple of years, we really found our identity, and all those other little things started to seem like really little things. Because they are little things." The band befriended another young musician, Miranda Lambert, before her performances in the first season of the USA Network's Nashville Star brought her a national audience. Shortly after she signed her first recording contract in the fall of 2003, she asked EYB to front a show for her at Dallas' Gypsy Tea Room, then told Frank Liddell to make a point of seeing the opening act. He was impressed and formed the independent Carnival label to give the Eli Young Band an outlet; the first album, Level, arrived the following year to glowing reviews. EYB expanded its base by opening for the likes of John Mellencamp, Pat Green, Sheryl Crow, the Dave Matthews Band, Jack Ingram, Jason Aldean and Robert Earl Keen, and documented its in-concert intensity with the 2006 album Live At The Jolly Fox. When the band started recording Jet Black at Nashville's Omni Sound in 2007, it was unclear where the project would ultimately land. But that also guaranteed the foursome would stay true to its unique sound, coalesced around the commandeering, Randy Meisner-like edge of Eli's vocals. Unlike some of the group albums made in Music City in previous eras, Jet Black is truly an Eli Young Band CD, with the four musicians and Wrucke augmented only in a handful of spots by other players. Wrucke inspired the guys during the Omni sessions to push themselves, and that resulted in a sound that captures both urgency and confidence. "Mike (Wrucke) can play any instrument that you put in front of him, and he can play it well, so as a producer, he knows three ways he wants something," Thompson maintains. "He wants for you as an artist to play the song the way you're gonna play it, but he's also got an idea in his head of what he'd like to come out of your instrument. In that regard, he was definitely more hands-on without being hands-on than any producer that we've worked with before." From the invigorating opening strains of "When It Rains" to the closing contemplation of "Home," Jet Black & Jealous succeeds in pushing the Eli Young Band to the next level as a musical force. It's the next step in a slow-building process that's become uncommon in the 21st century, a band that purposely evolved in small advances rather than trying to blast its way in a single firestorm. "We were young and 18 and just trying to make music," Eli says, recalling the journey. "We just wanted to be popular in our hometown. Then once we captured that, I thought, 'I want us to be popular in DFW'-Dallas and Fort Worth. Then once we did that, it was, 'Let's take over Texas.' Then next thing you know we're saying, 'Let's take over the South.' Now it's, 'Let's take over the country.'" Eight years into the journey, that national target has shifted from a hazy, optimistic dream to a very realistic possibility. Throughout their advances, the Eli Young Band has maintained an internal enthusiasm that's easily apparent in Jet Black & Jealous. Where their journey ends-as Jones says, that's worth sticking around for.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 16, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Republic
  • ASIN: B001DZDTL8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,156 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By DanD VINE VOICE on September 28, 2008
Format: Audio CD
The Eli Young Band (named after vocalist Mike Eli and guitarist James Young, and featuring bassist Jon Jones and drummer Chris Thompson), is a talented new mainstream act. To say they have potential is an understatement; their major-label debut (I believe they've been a part of the "Red Dirt" movement for a while now) is a solid, above-par album that may be just a bit too literate for contemporary country radio. Take the first single, Young's self-penned "When It Rains": poetic lyrics set to a folky beat. Not exactly the thing that usually gets played on country stations (and exactly the thing that caught my eye and got me interested in this band). The literate lyrics pervade the album...every song manages to rise a few steps above mediocrity, to become a genuinely well-written song. Eli and Young are both stellar writers, and with the aide of writers such as David Lee Murphy, Scooter Carusoe, and Blu Sanders, they've crafted an album's worth of material that is far better than that of their peers. They even stand out among the Red Dirt acts.

The album covers a wide range of topics--which may, in fact, be it's main problem. Albums this well-written tend to be more concept albums; yet the songs on here sometimes have trouble meshing together. They're all amazing, taken one-by-one: the character study "Guinevere," the rockin' "Throw and Go" ("I'll be damned if we're gonna rust/In a town I never thought much of"), the confessionary "Home," or the plain-old-ordinary-guy rant "Famous." Great pieces of a puzzle that doesn't quite come together, in the end. Still, the musicianship is stellar, Eli's vocals have a nice balance between pop elasticity and country grit, and the songs' lyrics and melodies are new and invigorating. They may have a tough time getting commerical airplay, but the Eli Young Band's JET BLACK & JEALOUS is a promising start.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brandy L. Cottingham on July 7, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This is an awesome CD. I have all of Eli Young Band's CDs but this is by far my favorite! Guinevere, Mystery in the Making and Enough is Enough are my absolute favorites. Their hits When it Rains and Always the Love Songs are great songs too. Their new song, Radio Waves is going to be big!! You'll love this CD, every song is good. You can't always say that about other CDs. Jet Black & Jealous one is a must have for music lovers!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. Grose on May 28, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I Loved this CD from the moment I first Heard it! It is a refreshing spin on some of the modern country. I can't take it out of my CD Player!
My favorite Track is #3 Radio Waves. I think it is an identifiable song from most.

This CD is definately worth the Money, and it will make you want to get the rest of their CDs and see a live show.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Green on May 11, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I bought this album at a recent show where i went to see them. Its an amazing CD with touching songs. Its got everything from slow to up beat songs. Not only are they catchy and tunes that stick in your head after listening to but the lyrics are absolutly fantastic. You immediatly connect with the song. Theres a song on here for everyone. I TOTALY recomend it to everyone!!!

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Format: Audio CD
'Jet Black and Jealous' is a fantastic addition to EYB's catalog of music. The songwriting is superb and vocals are delivered in a way that I can't help but repeatedly listen to this album completely. Something in the Texas air must add to quality, because this disc is worth more than most cds I own or have listened to. Each song really is a standout on its own, and I am very much anticipating their next body of work. Commercial success can come and go for any artist/band, but with EYB's style of music, there's no doubt they should be remembered and acknowledged years down the road.

My favorite tracks:
"Guinevere" - The first time I heard this song, I declared it my favorite song I'd listened to. I still can't quite replace it with any other.
"When It Rains" - Somehow, I easily see some of the classic country artists from years ago singing the lyrics to this. Brilliance from James Young!
"Throw and Go" - Alright, Mike sings the hell outta this one.
"Jet Black and Jealous" - Happy, mad, sad...whatever your mood, this song is gold!
"Home" - Music and vocals literally put you in the picture of this song. It's intoxicating.

It's not easy for me to be satisfied with every song on an album, but I'm MORE than satisfied with these tunes! Forget about the radio waves, get in the car and drive to THIS music!

Thanks to Jon, Chris, James, and Mike for more great music that I've been addicted to ever since first having this album!
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Format: Audio CD
If you're an alternative country fan, or one of those country rockers who love having your head twisted by some sensational tight smooth harmonies that are balanced by honest intellectual lyrics that can reach out and touch your heart, or power up your rust covered '59 Chevy pickup truck with high octane, setting your feet to stomping the floor boards as you jettison yourself down a country road, kickin' up dust, the windows wide open, and the tunes trailing after you like 4th of July streamers ... then "Jet Black and Jealous" is the album that's gonna carry you right through the summer.

The Eli in The Eli Young Band is actually Mike Eli, and the Young is James Young, who together bring bits of Bobby Fuller to life, and re-channel the soul of Marshal Crenshaw, delivering emotional heartfelt honest country music that's nothing like that stuff coming out of Nashville, and trying to pass itself off as the real deal. Their guitars jangle with sustained solos where the band plays off each other, making it all sound so effortlessly easy.

Review by Jenell Kesler
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