The end of the summer came with a nice surprise for fans of the Eli Young Band: a breezy, road-trip single and video called Saltwater Gospel.
The band, which performs tonight at Hurricane Harry's, aimed for the summer-song vibe, including the accompanying video that was shot at Cannon Beach, Oregon. The lyrics paint a spiritual connection to the sun and surf: "I can feel the power of the saltwater gospel/I'm as close to God as I can get."
Guitarist James Young says the band members are "beach people" and "love to get to the coast as much as we can."
"When you stand by the ocean or you go anywhere that you find the humbleness of how big the ocean is -- people get away and they can kind of find spirituality in that," he says. "... You just kind of find religion in everyday things like that sometimes."
Fans tonight likely will hear that, along with the band's standout songs, including Crazy Girl, Even if It Breaks Your Heart and Drunk Last Night -- all No. 1 country hits. Saltwater Gospel will be included on the band's next album, which Young says he hopes will be released early next year. He describes the album's recording as a fun return to the basics, back when the band members met at the University of North Texas in 2000.
"When we started the band, and when we started making records over 10 years ago, it was just us in a room, just knocking it out, and cranking up the amplifiers and flipping on the [record] light," he says. "There wasn't a whole lot of extra production that didn't need to be there. We've grown with our sound a whole lot. This is coming back to the original EYB records of the past. We've done a lot of experimenting, but on this record I think we did less experimenting -- back to writing and just playing rock 'n' roll country."
The band has made multiple appearances at Chilifest, including the headlining slot in 2015. Young describes the festival as "a crazy, crazy show," and recalls his first impression as, "Holy cow, this is insane -- in a good way." He says the band has long enjoyed playing for dedicated fans in the area, including one of its first sold-out shows.
"It's still today one of the places we always look forward to going to here in Texas, just because the fans are so in the music, and they really get behind artists and support them," he says. "We've been blessed every time we've played Aggieland, and we look forward to coming there. It was one of those things -- the ball really started rolling here in Texas in that area. So we made sure we hit it as many times as we can."