Eli Young Band on the Chesney Effect

Everyone has someone. And for the Eli Young Band, it’s Kenny Chesney.

Because of the time they all spent together on tour last summer, Chesney is the one who has had the most recent effect on the Texas band. They were able to get a front row seat to see the way Chesney does everything when he’s on the road. And it sounds like they’ve been putting those lessons to good use.

“Watching Kenny’s show from beginning to end, every song he plays makes his live show so exciting whether it’s because it was a hit or just because of the energy of the song,” frontman Mike Eli told me when the Eli Young Band played in Chicago on Sunday (July 13). “So with this record … we wanted to make sure that every song on the record could do something really cool for our live show. And that came from watching Kenny’s show.”

Eli did point out that every artist they’ve been on the road with in their roughly 15 years of touring has been good to them. However, he admits they thought being out with Chesney would have been more daunting.

“It’s nice to see that no matter how big you get, you can still be a nice guy,” he said of Chesney.

Jon Jones echoed Eli’s sentiments, saying he played basketball with Chesney every day.

“The way Kenny is onstage with the crowd is unmatched,” Jones said. “How he connects with the people 100 yards away. And the way he treats everybody backstage. He’s available all day. He knows everybody. The tour has such a cool family-oriented vibe. And that all starts with him.”

The band members have been digging Chesney’s newest single, “American Kids.”

“With song selection, Kenny’s never been afraid to think outside the box,” Eli said. “Which is great because we try to live outside the box. So it’s nice to hear him continue to do that with ’American Kids.'”