Eli Young Band’s Mike Eli Talks About “Love Ain’t” & “Break It In”

eli young band
Photo Courtesy John Shearer

With megahits like “Love Ain’t,” “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” and “Crazy Girl,” the Eli Young Band is one of the best country acts out today. They have a long track record of producing tunes that are both catchy and relatable, thus garnering the band multiple awards and nominations including Song of the Year and Group of the Year. If you haven’t gotten to catch the Eli Young Band live, you have several chances locally this weekend. Read on to learn about their inspirational “Love Ain’t” video, new single, “Break It In,” and how that particular song applies to both their lives and careers.

Mike Eli Talks “Love Ain’t”

EPR: So first I’m going to ask you about the video for “Love Ain’t” and what was your inspiration? I mean what made you guys decide to cover that subject matter?

Mike Eli: We do a lot of work with the Wounded Warrior [and] we were brainstorming. We wanted to find kind of the ultimate love story because “Love Ain’t” is obviously a song about what love is. We wanted to find that ultimate love story, whatever it might be, whether or not it’s something that we create in a video format. And at the time we were working with the Wounded Warrior Project and talking about what we’re doing with the single and they said, “You know what? Let us let us look around because we may have something.”

So they started streaming us some of the footage of Taylor and Danielle Morris and we were incredibly moved by what we saw and what we were told about them and it kind of just started snowballing after that. It was such a huge opportunity to be able to be a part of telling their story to a lot of people who didn’t necessarily know…a lot of people don’t realize that a lot of these men and women, when they come home from serving their battles, a lot of relationships don’t survive. The Wounded Warrior Project and a lot of organizations out there do their best to help families and circles survive from the war.

EPR: Yeah, they do seem like such a wonderful and dedicated couple and it’s really amazing to see what they’ve been through and how they’re able to, you know, work through that together.

Mike Eli: They are every bit as awesome as you think they are.

eli young band
Photo Courtesy Cal Quinn

Eli Young Band And Their College Days

EPR: Well, okay, so to switch subjects, you guys started as a college band, is that correct?

Mike Eli: That is right. We started the band in North Texas, back in the day. In the beginning we were, obviously this was a hobby and really an outlet for us to be able to make music while we were getting our degrees and it turned out that we were able to continue.

EPR: So did you all meet in college because I know that two of you did for sure but was that the case for all of the band members?

Mike Eli: Actually yes. So James and I ran into Jon and then Chris which is part of the story. The other three guys had met prior to that, and had kind of started jamming and making music together before we started the band. and I started college ’99 and they had been jamming together and I said, “Hey man, I sing. Maybe I can join in.”

So James and I had started writing music, a few songs, and so we started kind of playing acoustic at some of the local places in Denton [Texas] where we started the band and it was working until October of 2000 when the other two guys jumped on stage with us and they played about four songs, and it all snowballed from there. ‘

Mike Eli On “Break It In”

EPR: That’s really cool that kind of fate brought you guys together like that. A lot of groups can’t stay together that long because they just can’t get along. Being that y’all met in college and have been through a lot together, can you tell me how that applies to your single “Break It In?”

Mike Eli: Yeah, I mean, I think that “Break It In”, is one of those songs that is an incredibly appropriate song for where we’re at in our lives and our career. We feel like we’re kind of just drinking this thing in. You know, I think over time, we’ve figured things out and we’ve become better musicians, better performers and better entertainers and we kind of feel like we’re hitting our stride 20 years later. And there’s not an awful lot of bands that can can feel that way as far as being the same four dudes making making music together.

On The Road & Time Off For Christmas

EPR: Will you get to take any time off for Christmas?

Mike Eli: We will. Yeah. This is our last weekend and we’re ready to play our show in Charlotte and then we are off for about a month.

EPR: That’s great any big plans?

eli young band
Photo Courtesy Cal Quinn

Mike Eli: Yeah! A whole lotta Christmas and some traveling and family and those things that we’ve been neglecting too much over the first of the year. So we’ll be playing some catch up will be a lot of with that. That will be a lot of what that month is all about.

EPR: You already mentioned the show in Charlotte. But you also have a show in Greensboro this week. Do you want to tell me about your shows and what people can expect to see?

Mike Eli: Obviously, the show, will be revolved around the hits, but we play a lot of those old songs that maybe just the fans who have been with us a long time will know. will find that maybe you know. So, it won’t just be the radio hits. It will be a lot of the stuff that the hardcore fans that have been with us and supporting us for a long time will know.

It’s an old school rock’n’roll show. We’re a band that’s very rooted in old school rock and roll and I think that when people come to our show, that’s what they see. You know, we’re just getting up there and turning our amps up and having a good time. And we really feel like that we’ve hit our stride and the shows have just been a ton of fun and and hopefully people come out to just have a really good time.

Catch the Eli Young Band TONIGHT at Cone Denim Entertainment Complex in Greensboro, TOMORROW NIGHT at The Fillmore Charlotte and at House Of Blues in Myrtle Beach on SATURDAY. Check out the rest of their touring schedule here.

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Check Out The Epicenter 2020 Full Lineup [5/1-5/3]

Epicenter 2020 Full Lineup

The full lineup for Epicenter 2020 has finally been announced. The music festival will be taking place from their new home at Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway! Metallica will be headlining for TWO nights and one of my favorite bands ever, Lynyrd Skynyrd, will also be there in what will be their exclusive 2020 North Carolina performance! Weekend and Single Day Tickets and Camping are currently on sale. Read on to check out the rest of the lineup!

Check Out The Epicenter 2020 Full Lineup

The music lineup has been announced for Epicenter 2020May 1, 2 and at Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. As previously announced, rock icons Metallica will headline Friday, May 1 and Sunday, May 3, performing two different headlining sets. Multi-platinum band Disturbed will headline Saturday, May 2. The diverse and massive music lineup for Epicenter also includes Lynyrd Skynyrd (in an exclusive 2020 North Carolina performance), Deftones, Godsmack, Volbeat, Staind, Papa Roach, David Lee Roth, Gojira, Chevelle, Cypress Hill, Rancid, Royal Blood, Anthrax, Dropkick Murphys, I Prevail, Alter Bridge and many more.

As previously announced, Metallica–recently named the world’s biggest all-time touring act by Pollstar–will exclusively headline all five Danny Wimmer Presents hard rock festivals in 2020 in a unique collaboration unprecedented for any American festival promoter or band. Epicenter is the first performance in this festival series.

Metallica isn’t just another headliner. When Metallica takes the stage, it’s an event. It’s an experience. That’s the same standard we’ve set for every DWP festival – from the first band to the last band, and everything that happens in between. I can’t wait to bring the biggest band in the world to the biggest rock festivals in America,” says Danny Wimmer, founder of Danny Wimmer Presents, the largest independent festival producer in the U.S. “Metallica paved this road that we travel. How many artists on the bill at these five festivals first picked up an instrument, or first started a band, because of Metallica?”

Epicenter moves to its new home at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2020. “We’re pleased to announce that Epicenter is moving to Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Rock City Campgrounds,” says Danny Wimmer Presents CEO Danny Hayes. “The new location offers plenty of nearby lodging, increased camping, and convenient travel options. The number one request we received from the fans was to move the festival to Charlotte…and we listened.”

The 3-day destination music experience will feature a massive lineup of top rock acts performing on four stages, along with a wide variety of food and beverage offerings, and various camping options and amenities, with General Admission, VIP tickets, and camping available for purchase now at https://EpicenterFestival.com.

The current music lineup for Epicenter is as follows (subject to change):

Epicenter 2020 Full Lineup

Friday, May 1: MetallicaGodsmack, Papa Roach, David Lee Roth, Royal Blood, I Prevail, Ghostemane, Ice Nine Kills, The Darkness, Starset, Sick Of It All, Agnostic Front, ??? ??, New Years Day, Bones UK, Fire From The Gods, 3Teeth, NASCAR Aloe, Joyous Wolf, Killstation, Stitched Up Heart, Hero The Band, Through Fire

Saturday, May 2: Disturbed, Lynyrd Skynyrd (one of the band’s final appearances ever, as part of their Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour), Staind, Chevelle, Cypress Hill, Anthrax, Alter Bridge, Code Orange, Of Mice & Men, Saint Asonia, Jinjer, Crown The Empire, Anti-Flag, City Morgue, The Chats, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Clint Lowery, Brkn Love, Brutus, Toothgrinder, Brass Against, Selfish Things, Zero 9:36, Like Machines

Sunday, May 3: Metallica, Deftones, Volbeat, Gojira, Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, Hellyeah, Bad Wolves, Hollywood Undead, Sleeping With Sirens, Power Trip, The Amity Affliction, Des Rocs, Goodbye June, Airbourne, Stray From The Path, Plague Vendor, Ego Kill Talent, Higher Power, Skynd, and more

Festival entry begins at 11:30 AM each day.

At EpicenterDanny Wimmer Presents is proud to offer a collaboration with Metallica’s Blackened American Whiskey and Enter Night PilsnerBlackened is a super-premium American whiskey blend, crafted by the late Master Distiller Dave Pickerell and finished in the earth shattering music of Metallica. The finest bourbons, ryes and whiskeys were hand selected to create something revolutionary—finished in black brandy casks and pummeled by sound. Enter Night Pilsner is Metallica’s collaboration with the rock stars of craft brewing, Stone BrewingBlackened and Enter Night will come together under one roof to offer guests a one-of-kind musical festival experience. The massive Boilermaker pop-up will feature a Blackened & Enter Night Pilsner Boilermaker, as well as craft cocktails and ice-cold Enter Night Pilsner. This exciting collaboration marks the latest in a long line of amplified guest experiences only available through Danny Wimmer Presents music festivals. Learn more at http://BlackenedWhiskey.com.

Camping at Epicenter will let patrons keep the rock n’ roll party going all weekend long, with campgrounds open from Thursday, April 30 through Monday, May 4. All tent and RV campers will have access to showers, portable restrooms, food and drink vendors, charging stations, information, and medical services.

VIP tickets include dedicated entrance lanes into the venue, access to the VIP hang area, VIP-only viewing area of the two main stages, access to the VIP tent, a commemorative Epicenter VIP-only laminate, and RFID wristband. The VIP tent is a shaded hang space with dedicated premium bars and comfortable furniture, featuring live audio/video streams of the two main stages, air conditioned flushable restrooms, dedicated merch stand for convenient shopping, dedicated food and beverage offerings (for purchase), and private locker rentals (for purchase).

At Epicenter, fans 21+ can enjoy multiple specialty curated beverage experiences. Varietals from Caduceus Cellars & Merkin Vineyards (owned by Maynard James Keenan, co-founder of international recording acts Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer) will be available at the Caduceus Wine Garden, and the Heavy Tiki Bar will provide a shaded tropical oasis filled with killer cocktails.

Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway is located at 7301 Bruton Smith Blvd. in Concord, NC, just outside Charlotte, and less than two hours from Raleigh/Durham, Columbia and Greensboro. Visit www.CharlotteMotorSpeedway.com for directions and additional venue information.

Get tickets to Epicenter Music Festival here. And be sure to check out my recap of Epicenter 2019 here.

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Artists You Need To Watch: Travis Denning

Travis Denning

Over the years, I have been to Coyote Joe’s in Charlotte I have no idea how many times. I have seen so many artists there that I couldn’t even begin to name them all. Coyote Joe’s is a bar that I consider a staple for up and coming artists and those who are winding down from the huge arenas after a meteoric career. So, Saturday night I rolled out to the Charlotte music venue again, this time to catch Travis Denning’s show.

Artists You Need To Watch: Travis Denning

Who is Travis Denning, you might be asking? I first became acquainted with him when he was on the roster for this year’s Carolina Country Music Fest. I saw his name, looked up a few songs to familiarize myself, and instantly fell in love with “After A Few.”

 

After A Few – I think we all know the drill. We break up with someone that we know is bad for us, then we run into them out somewhere, in this case a bar. We fall back into conversation, reminiscing, and then we end up right where we don’t want to be, back with that person that is so wrong for us – and hurt all over again.

This song is super relatable with a catchy hook that I just can’t get out of my head. And the fact that Travis Denning looks like the adorable boy next door, instead of some jerk just using the girl, helps to make his delivery and credibility perfect. Oh, and he confirmed that wholesome image by dressing up like Captain America for Halloween. I rest my case.

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AVENGERS…..assemble. Thanks for the party @hardy

A post shared by Travis Denning (@travisrdenning) on

 

I think Travis Denning will be big. And the fact that he is touring in 2020 with Dustin Lynch doesn’t hurt. Check out Travis Denning’s tour dates and go see what all my fuss is about. You can thank me later.

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Things To Do This Weekend: See Les Miserables In Charlotte

Les Miserables
Les Miserables: Mary Kate Moore as Fantine

It’s almost the weekend and we don’t have to give this week to the kiddos and Halloween [Happy Halloween, by the way]. The kids get today. That’s it. This weekend can be yours! So here’s what you need to do. Get dressed up, go out to dinner with your friends and catch Les Miserables at Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte, NC. You can thank me later.

Things To Do This Weekend: See Les Miserables In Charlotte

Tuesday night, my friend Leigh and I did just that. Neither of us had seen Les Miserables on the stage previously. And I really knew very little about the plot of the musical except what my friend, Jason, told me: that a man’s life was forever changed after he stole a loaf of bread to feed a child.

Les Miserables
Les Miserables: Allison Guinn as Madame Thenardier

Cameron Mackintosh presents the new production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon, Les Misérables, direct from an acclaimed two-and-a-half-year return to Broadway. With its glorious new staging and dazzlingly reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, this breathtaking new production has left both audiences and critics awestruck, cheering “Les Miz is born again!” (NY1). Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Featuring the thrilling score and beloved songs “I Dreamed A Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars,” “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More,” and many more, this epic and uplifting story has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history.

Les Miserables may have been written by Victor Hugo in the 19th century, but the story still resonates. Poverty is an issue that is, unfortunately, quite prevalent today. And the punishment and “invisibility” to other members of society that can often come with an impoverished existence is something that we may never overcome. Why is it that the people who have often feel like the people who have not deserve their placement in life? Why is it that the people who have often feel that their fortunate placement in life at birth has more to do with their rights than sheer luck?

Les Miserables
Les Miserables: Josh Davis and Nick Cartell

Instead of giving a hand up and out of poverty, we often punish those that are poor with anything from late fees [more money they don’t have] to punishments that are both biased and disproportionate to the actual crime committed. These “deterrents” often drive the convicted, and also their family, further into poverty, thus producing a virtually impossible to break cycle of recidivism. It’s hard to change your life when the system seems to work against you.

Les Miserables
Les Miserables: Jillian Butler as Cosette

The themes of Les Miserables are relevant today and the music will break your heart. When Fantine tearfully sings, “I Dreamed A Dream,” how many of us can relate? We’ve all experienced heartache, sadness, loss and desperation. And many of us have felt utter hopelessness at some point in our lives, as well.

Through all of the heartbreak and loss, in the end, Les Miserables is a story about hope and redemption. Though life can sometimes seemingly beat us into submission, there is still always the possibility for change just around the corner. Most of the characters in Les Miserables have no material possessions. But what they do have is hope. Though “..life [may have] killed the dream I dreamed,” it will never stop me from dreaming a new one.

See Les Miserables now through November 3rd at Ovens Auditorium. Get tickets here.

Les Miserables
Les Miserables [Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy]

Things To Know Before You Go

Ovens Auditorium has convenient parking in a lot right beside the building. I had not been to Ovens Auditorium prior to this night and was glad for the ease of parking as that is not always the case in cities. One of the parking lot security guys also told me that Ovens Auditorium has been in operation since 1955.

Learn about how you can support Blumenthal Performing Arts through donation here.

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Marshall Tucker’s Doug Gray Talks Myrtle Beach, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Farewell Tour & Doug Hugs

Marshall Tucker's Doug Gray Talks Myrtle Beach, Lynyrd Skynyrd's Farewell Tour & Doug Hugs

Every time I talk to Marshall Tucker’s frontman, Doug Gray, he is just so nice. I mean, seriously, he is always in a great mood. So, he is one of my all-time favorite people to interview. He doesn’t just seem like a great person, though, The Marshall Tucker band puts on one heck of a show. Check out some of my other interviews with Doug Gray and be sure to catch The Marshall Tucker Band in concert locally this weekend in Raleigh [The Ritz] and Charlotte [Fillmore]. Today, Doug Gray talks with us about Myrtle Beach living, whether or not he thinks Lynyrd Skynyrd will actually retire and much more.
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Carowinds Thrill Rides And Fun For Teens #sponsored @CarowindsPark

Carowinds Fun For Teens ~

Fountain at Carowinds Amusement Park in Charlotte North Carolina and South Carolina

This past weekend me, three of my friends, and my parents went to Carowinds. Since I can remember, I have always loved roller coasters, they give me an adrenaline rush that I can not get enough of! We teens went one way and our parents went another as we like different type rides. We like to try out all of the thrill rides at Carowinds while they like to hang out at the Boomerang Bay Water Park. So,we teens decided to just walk around and ride every roller coaster we saw.

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My Favorite Summer Concert Experience: Maroon 5 and Train #RockYourBlog

Maroon 5 and Train: My Favorite Summer Concert Experience ~

Gym Class Heroes crowd.

The one thing that Dawn and I have done the most of since we met is to go to concerts. I admit that I never saw myself as a huge concert goer when I was younger. I am not a huge fan of crowds, so I avoided them. But Dawn introduced me to the joys of summer concerts, and we have been to several of them since we have been together. Geesh, if I were to list them all here it would take up the entire post! We have seen so many talented artists in so many different venues, from bars and nightclubs to outdoor arenas. It has been fun.

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