Eli Young Band, an American country music group, will take the stage Monday night as Belly Up Aspen opens after a pandemic 15-month hiatus from live music.
The 450-person room will reopen at full capacity without a mask or social distancing requirement. Vaccinations or negative COVID-19 tests are mandatory for ticket holders.
The show marks Eli Young Band’s second performance at the club. The group has hit the Billboard country charts eight times, with four of their singles reaching No.1: “Crazy Girl”, “Even If It Breaks Your Heart”, Drunk Last Night “and” Love Ain’t “.
âBelly Up is really unique in that it’s a small club, but it’s top notch,â bassist Jon Jones said in a recent phone interview from his home in North Texas. âTheir production, their sound, the stage – that’s everything you’d want a little club to be and it’s just very intimate. “
Monday evening follows the first concert produced by Belly Up in the venue since March 2020. The venue opened this weekend for six shows presented by Jazz Aspen Snowmass June Experience.
Jones recalls his last show in Aspen saying, âI remember the excitement of the audience. I like very large shows but I also like very small intimate shows. I think as a group you tend to feed off the energy of the crowd. I remember it was a really fun place to play.
The guys behind the band – Mike Eli (vocals, guitar), James Young (guitar), Jon Jones (bass guitar) and Chris Thompson (drums) – met while they were studying at the University of North Texas in the outside of Dallas. The gang has been making music together since 2000.
The four members come from four very different backgrounds.
âIt was about mixing our music and figuring out where we fit in,â Jones explains. âMike’s voice and background is unmistakably country. This is where it always ended, which we have always loved.
Drawing inspiration from classic rock, ’90s country, Texas artists and the Red Dirt scene, Eli Young Band carries a unique modern country sound that doesn’t fit any mold. They found an audience that did, having sold out from coast to coast headlining and sharing the stage with Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean and Toby Keith.
Despite the setbacks of the pandemic and show cancellations, band members were able to find solace in slowing things down and taking time off.
âI wrote a lot of songs,â Jones notes. âI went to the studio and we did seven tracks that we’re in the process of finishing. We’re trying to get a release date and (get) this all set up. For four guys who like to play live and be on stage, it was really hard to be away from it all.
They’re excited about the new music, Jones said, but he doesn’t think it’s quite ready for a release or for concert audiences.
âI think people are looking for comfort right now and comfort in familiarity,â Jones says. “I think there will be a time to add some of this new stuff, but I think right now everyone wants to have fun, everyone just needs this version.”
With the mask ordinance recently lifted in Aspen and elsewhere, artists and audiences alike have new experiences and are grateful to the crowds.
âThere is a renewed sense of life doing these things for the first time,â Jones says. âWe’re really getting down to it. We have more fun on stage than in years and I think that is reflected. “
Jones can’t wait to be back in Aspen and headlining the return of live music to Belly Up.
âWe’re going out to play the hits and have fun. We are looking to share a one night experience with everyone. We’re all in the same boat right now. After a year of absence, it’s nice to be in something all together.