Mike Eli, lead singer of Eli Young Band, realized something when the band was crafting their forthcoming album Fingerprints: he had lost the passion in his songwriting.

“It’s been three years since we’ve put out a record,” Eli tells Taste of Country. “And after we put out 10,000 Towns, I know me, as a songwriter, going back in and starting to write songs for the next record; I was trying to write these songs that were smart and witty and really cool ideas. … I was walking into the writing room with these ideas and that being the priority and somewhere in the mix there, I forgot to be passionate about what I was writing. Every time we’d walk out of the room and be writing something, I would just feel like I wasn’t passionate about it. … It’s a well written song but I’m not in love with it and I was trying to figure out why.”

The struggle continued for Eli for over a year, until he changed his mindset and began crafting personal tunes instead of focusing on song gimmicks and trends. The rest of the band — guitarist James Young, bassist Jon Jones and drummer Chris Thompson — followed Eli’s muse and from their newfound perspective, they crafted a slew of new songs, one being the latest Fingerprints single, “Skin & Bones.”

Released in early 2017, “Skin & Bones” is, according to bassist Jon Jones, the kind of EYB song that fans have always gravitated toward, but have never heard as a single. “We haven’t had a song like that on radio,” he says. “But that’s the type of song that we’ve written in the past that fans keep on requesting and want us to play, so it just seemed like the right kind of song to lead with.”

Penned by Eli, Lori McKenna and Phil Barton, “Skin & Bones” is a vulnerable love song that provides listeners a window into the rest of the hard edge/soft edge album.

”She's grace and glory / She’s a back road home / She’s a long story / Yeah the one goodbye that I can't even imagine / She’s a well thought out plan / And I don't know how it happened / She’s in my skin and bones.”

Watch: Eli Young Band Talk About Fingerprints

However, no matter if it’s an emotive ballad such as “Skin & Bones,” or an in-your-face striker such as “Fingerprints,” Eli always sonically hits the edgy, romantically-charged lyrics the band has become known for. Going for a more organic approach on this album, the band also recorded with their bread-and-butter live show in mind; something that’s attracted fans since their humble beginnings in 2000 as a band at the University of North Texas.

“We’ve just been a relentless live touring band and wanted to bring some of that into the studio,” says Jones. “But knowing more that we were going to bring whatever we did in the studio, out on the road. So it all kind of has to work together and after this many years, I think we’re hopefully honing in, and figuring out how to put all those pieces together effectively.”

Jones also notes that members of the band have become more selfish, in a positive way, of what their individual sound — and Eli Young Band’s defining sound as a whole — really is. With their last record, 10,000 Towns, dropping in 2013, the band has had plenty of time to zero in on their songwriting and musicality. Having hinted that the record had already been recorded in 2016, Eli and company just want fans to hear it.

“You can tell when you hear these songs that they’re personal and that they mean something to us,” says Eli. “Hopefully they can hear how much of ourselves we put into it."

See All Albums Slated for Release in 2017

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