Randy Rogers Band
Eli Young Band
From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Randy Rogers Band, Eli Young Band to rock Bricktown during Spring Jam
When Randy Rogers Band and Eli Young Band take the stage at the Fifth Annual Wormy Dog Spring Jam, they’re planning to do more than just rattle the windows in Bricktown with their driving alt-country music.
They intend to work hard, kick down doors and keep a promise made a few years ago to help each other find success.
“They’re some of the nicest guys you’ve ever met. They’ve been incredible to us and stood by our vow and helped us out as they’ve gotten bigger. And now we’ve had our little bit of national success and we plan on keeping up our end of the bargain as well,” Mike Eli, singer/guitarist of Eli Young Band, said of the Randy Rogers Band.
Both Texas-based groups are playing the Spring Jam, presented by Wormy Dog Saloon and Bud Light, for the third time. The event moved last year to the parking lot west of the Walnut Street Bridge, which means Bricktown will rock with the red dirt music scene Saturday night.
“It’s a good wide-open space and it seems like everybody had a good time that I talked to,” said Randy Rogers, frontman of headliners the Randy Rogers Band. “I can’t imagine that this year just won’t be the biggest (jam). I mean, with Eli Young Band, they’re doing so good and they’re so hot right now.”
The yearly concert is coming when both bands are receiving unprecedented attention from country music’s mainstream. Both were nominated for Academy of Country Music Awards this spring and have recently performed on talk shows like “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Last week, Eli Young Band notched its first top 10 single on the Mediabase country chart when “Always the Love Songs” climbed into the No. 10 slot.
“It’s been incredible. I mean, it’s been some hard work. The top of the charts are normally clogged with the Alan Jacksons of the world and the Sugarlands,” Eli said.
“So as a band that’s a little left of center, we have to go in and fight a little harder, especially being that we’re a new band. But the fact that we made it up into the top 10 is incredible and it feels incredible. All the work that we’ve put in … has been culminating to these moments.”
After nine years of toiling as a regional band, Eli Young released its first national album, “Jet Black and Jealous” last fall. Eli, who founded the band with guitarist James Young at the University of North Texas, said the group made the album before inking a deal with Universal Records South. So, there was no pressure to change the music to fit the contemporary country mold. But the album did get the attention of music fans – and the ACM, which nominated the band for top new vocal group.
“I think we have to work a little bit harder to be noticed. … It’s nice to be noticed and accepted, but at the same time, we are happy about who we are and we’re happy that we’re different,” Eli said.
“I hope that with our success and Randy’s success we can help open doors for some of the younger bands and for some of the other artists and songwriters.”
Randy Rogers Band also released a 2008 album, and the group’s self-titled fourth studio record debuted last summer at No. 3 on Billboard’s Top Country Album list and No. 1 on iTunes digital country chart. The group received a top vocal group ACM nomination.
After playing 230 shows a year for about a decade, Rogers said he’s proud of the ground the group is gaining – and hopeful other bands on the red dirt/Texas music scene benefit, too.
“I can’t tell you what it is and why it’s happening now, but I hope that the Randy Rogers Band continues to be in the middle of it and kind of trying to knock some doors down that have been opened just a little bit,” he said. “I think that there’s so much good music that should be heard coming out of our neck of the woods and the more people that have that success at radio … the better for everybody.”
As far as Saturday’s Spring Jam goes, the singers said fans can expect loud guitars blasting out country music with an edge.
“I think between the two of us, we have a lot of energy,” Eli said. “Our music, both of our styles are very different but they play well together. … We pride ourselves in having a great time onstage and hopefully the audience has an incredible time as well.”
Fifth Annual Wormy Dog Spring Jam
With: Randy Rogers Band, Eli Young Band, Bleu Edmondson and Josh Abbott.
When: 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Gates open at 3 p.m.
Where: Parking lot west of the Walnut Street Bridge, Bricktown.
Presented by: Wormy Dog Saloon and Bud Light.
Tickets and information: (866) 977-6849 or www.protix.com.