But Eli Young Band has been around for twelve years now, having put their first album out in 2002. And in 2005, they put out a superb collection of songs in the form of an album called Level.
Level was a great album that featured a wide array of styles, moods, and themes, all firmly within the genre of country music. First on the collection is "Small Town Kid." While this song revolves around being from a small town and references having a truck, it's also done in a way that's not obnoxious or overdone. It feels authentic coming from lead singer Mike Eli.
"So Close Now" is up next which is about leaving the life the narrator knows to follow a dream. But he doesn't actually leave in the song. It's about all the things leading up to leaving and how hard it is to take that chance and leave behind what is known.
"That's the Way" is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It reflects on a failed relationship, but does so in such a universal way that when the chorus comes along, it can be related to anything.
"Fate's got a plan for us even when our lives get rough
You make up you break up you fall you get back up
Can't you see
That's the way it's gotta be."
The title track is next and really has an original style to it. In the song the narrator reflects on changes and being in a constant state of life throwing curves and "waiting on life to level, waiting on something stable." It's a very unique and original song.
"Oklahoma Girl" is a fun song about a Texas boy falling in love with an Oklahoma girl who takes him to new places and new experiences.
"Everything Is You" is another of my favorite tracks on the album. In this song, a man moves through his life after the end of a relationship, going through the motions as everything everywhere reminds him of his lost love. He's unsure of whether to love or hate her or to feel another emotion entirely. It's addressed directly to the former love in question as he begs her to tell him what he did wrong.
"Girl in Red" is a love at first sight song as a singer falls in love with a girl with an amazing air of confidence.
Perhaps my favorite track on the album is "Highways and Broken Hearts" about a young road-weary singer longing after a lover but who's life of music is much too important to him. It's a time-honored theme in country music but the song is still fresh and original and Mike Eli's vocals are amazing.
Level is a brilliant album from the band, perhaps the best they've ever put out. There's not a weak moment on the album. Some songs are just fun to listen to while others reach for something deeper. There's something for every true country fan on this album.