"Thanksgiving is going to be one of those moments where I think all of us really need to make sure that we thank our lucky stars," Mike Eli tells The Boot. "We have a lot to be thankful for. This is a huge year for us. We haven't spent very much time at home this year. The only singular downside of what we do sometimes is to have to be away from home as much as we are, so it will be good to go home."
Mike, James Young, Chris Thompson and Jon Jones formed the Eli Young Band while they were students at North Texas State University and each member still resides in Texas. "Some are in the Fort Worth area and some are in the Austin area," Mike says of the band's affinity for their Lone Star roots.
No slouch in the kitchen, Mike admits he'll be taking lead on cooking his family's Thanksgiving dinner. "Jon and I both really enjoy cooking during the holidays," he says. "Last year it was my first year to make a turkey, same for John, and both of us love making turkeys."
When it comes to the fried or baked question, Mike says he'll be using the oven this year. "I like to bake the turkey," he says. "The only reason I haven't tried to fry a turkey is I'm afraid of catching the house on fire. Maybe next year I'll try to fry a turkey. I did pretty good last year on baking it, so we'll see. It's easy to make them pretty dry when baking them, but I felt mine wasn't too dry."
He admits when he's home he takes lead in the kitchen. "My wife likes to cook," he tells the Boot, "but she doesn't cook very much, especially when I'm home because I tend to take over the kitchen and so I tend to be the one more in control of the cooking for the holidays."
In addition to planning his holiday meal, Mike has been busy on the road as the EYB has been opening dates for Dierks Bentley. In fact, it was Dierks who broke the news that 'Crazy Girl' had topped the charts. "Dierks actually surprised us out on stage and brought cake and champagne out during our show because we were opening up for him," Mike says. "It was a very memorable moment to be able to share that with everyone and Dierks being nice enough to make a cake and bring some champagne and all of that, it was pretty fun. We've been lucky enough to have him as a believer, so this tour has been really awesome."
Next spring the Eli Young Band will be touring Australia with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. "We're extremely excited about because it will be our first time to go to Australia," Mike says of the March trek, "and the fact that we're going there and a part of the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill tour is huge."
Mike says they are also excited about the new single, 'Even if It Breaks Your Heart,' written by Eric Paslay and Will Hoge. "We are huge believers in the lyrics and melody and everything about the song," Mike says, noting that the song feels autobiographical. "Being a band for as long as we have, we really feel like we've gone out there and lived this story, so this single is really important to us."
For other bands looking to make their musical dreams come true, The Boot asked Mike to share any words of wisdom, he's learned during the Eli Young Band's journey. "Work harder than the rest," he says. "Don't think anybody is going to work harder for your career than you. Just work hard and believe in yourself."