Rowlett group kicks off Mesquite festival

from Rowlett Lakeshore Times on

The opening band is Rowlett’s own Jagged Row, formerly known as Jaci and Those Guys. Jagged Row takes the stage at 5:30 p.m. today.

Eli Young Band is making its festival debut. The group has roots in the Metroplex, having been formed at the University of North Texas. They will be the Saturday headliners and are scheduled to go on at 9:30 p.m.

“This is going to be great; I get to play a show and sleep in my own bed for once,” said Bill Eli, lead vocalist/guitarist. “What is so important about playing here is that Texas is the foundation. Every time we get to play [in Texas] it is incredible. The fans know all the words to every song and that makes for an incredible show.”

Eli added that the Texas sound is what makes the group unique.

“It’s undefined. That is what I love about it. We don’t get boxed in,” he said. “We get to make what we want to make. Texas music is not about setting boundaries.”

Eli said the group has an EP scheduled to release May 3 on iTunes. The EP includes the group’s current hit single, “Crazy Girl.”

“It has been the fastest rising single we have ever had,” Eli said. “It feels great.”

The group has also finished another album scheduled for release at the end of the summer.

The festival show will feature a mixture of songs off the new EP and the group’s existing albums.

“The crowd responds to those songs. They were really important to the growth of the band,” Eli said. “We just have a good time. Hopefully that translates into a great crowd. We try and make the live shows better than our albums. We love to play live.”

Eli said this is the first time the group has played in North Texas since the state fair.

“We are kind of the non-stop touring band,” he added. “We haven’t taken any time off since we started.”

This is the second time LaRue has performed at the festival. He will be the main act Friday at 9:30 p.m. LaRue is about to release a new album, “Velvet.” The album will be out sometime between June and August.

“It’s been a while since I had an album come out,” LaRue said. “I am really looking forward to releasing it. The more creative I can be, the better I feel about myself.”

LaRue said his show at the festival will include good times for all that attend.

“It’s [the type of] event that reminds us it’s spring time,” he said.

LaRue said his music draws the biggest crowds in Texas.

“They call it red dirt because that is where it originated from,” he added. “Here, it’s the heartbeat of the culture.”

LaRue’s website ( recently added an online store. The website also promotes a June 27-July 1 event in Alaska that benefits autism. The trip features three nights of music as well as hikes and fishing.

“My previous trip to Alaska is one

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