Behind The Song: The Eli Young Band ‘Even If It Breaks Your Heart’

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Eli Young Band

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The year 2012 proved to be a good one for the Eli Young Band. The group of Texas musicians spent 12 years touring and recording before “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” hit Number One that July. Now the song has been nominated for two GRAMMY Awards, for Best Country Song and Best Country Duo/Group Performance.

It was “a song that we really believed in, that we felt told out story,” bassist Jon Jones tells Radio.com about “Breaks Your Heart.” “We didn’t know if it was going to work on country radio because it’s such a passion song about playing music. And we were really lucky that people latched onto it and put themselves in the song.”

Appearing on the group’s 2011 album Life at Best, the song was written by Will Hoge and and Eric Paslay. The GRAMMY nominations honor both the songwriters of the track and the group’s performance of it — marking it as outstanding to the voters of the Recording Academy.

As lead singer Mike Eli tells Radio.com, the four EYB members (Eli, Jones, James Young, Chris Thompson) initially heard “Break Your Heart” on one of Hoge’s albums. “When we talked about making the next record, that song just popped up. We knew right away that we wanted to put it on [our] record. Once it crossed our mind, we couldn’t get our brain off of it.”

“It was a totally selfish thing,” says Chris Thompson. “We didn’t think, ‘Oh this is going to be a single.'” Instead, he says, they loved the song, pure and simple. “And it turned out to be our second number one.”

During a conversation with WYCD/Detroit, Mike Eli said he and the band all felt the song told their story — about being a band for the last dozen years and “playing every show we could.” And never mind that they didn’t write it themselves. “When a great song comes your way, you don’t ignore it.”

“Breaks Your Heart” is also notable for landing the prominent spot as lead song on their album Life at Best.

“We felt it set the tone for the whole record,” Eli tells Radio.com. “It was one of the first songs we recorded for the album. With that slow build, we felt it was a great opener.”

The 55th GRAMMY Awards happen Sunday, Feb. 10 at 8pm ET on CBS.

- Kurt Wolff, Radio.com

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