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Insightful contrast to country clichés

‘10,000 Towns’ Eli Young Band

The Eli Young Band continues to provide a smart, relevant antidote to all the male country acts focusing on clichés about the attractions of backwoods America. On “10,000 Towns,” the four-piece band from Denton, Texas, shines by focusing on insightful songs about how young men and women relate with each other.

The album’s first hit, “Drunk Last Night,” continues the band’s string of potent songs that don’t rely on the usual Nashville formulas. While most other country bands celebrate drinking and partying in superficial ways, singer Mike Eli instead elucidates, with restrained drama, how a night of over-indulgence can lead to actions that might be regrettable the following day.

Not everything on “10,000 Towns” hits such high notes. A few clunkers – including “Just Add Moonlight” and the title cut – rely on standard country tropes. But those potholes only briefly slow down an otherwise solid effort by the band, which includes guitarist James Young, bassist Jon Jones and drummer Chris Thompson.

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