The Eli Young Band‘s new single, “Love Ain’t” was written with some top country tunesmiths: Ross Copperman (Keith Urban, Luke Bryan), Ashley Gorley (Jake Owen, Carrie Underwood), and Shane McAnally (Kacey Musgraves, Sam Hunt). But that’s not the only thing that makes them special: For the song’s music video, the band partnered with the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit that supports veterans and active-duty servicemen with pressing needs, to spotlight veteran Taylor Morris, who became a quadruple amputee after an explosion in Afghanistan, along with his wife, Danielle.
“There is such a special thing with this couple,” the band’s Mike Eli tells Billboard. “Their story doesn’t need a music video or a song. It’s one of those things [where], when you hear the story and see their videos, you are so moved by it right away.”
Eli says the band approached the Wounded Warrior Project when they realized they wanted to try something new in their visuals. “We said, ‘Look, we have this idea, do you know any couples that would be willing to tell their story with our song?'” Eli explains. “We didn’t want your normal video where the song mentions a red truck, and then you see one in the video. [Or] there’s a shot of The Eli Young Band playing the song in a field. We’ve done a million videos like that, and I’m sure we will do more like that.”
When WWP sent over footage of Morris and his wife, the band realized they knew the couple — they had performed at a charity fund-raiser for him when he was returning home after going through rehabilitation. And though Eli hasn’t yet met the pair, apart from talking on the phone, he says their story has already had a profound impact on him.
“This couple is the epitome of what we should all strive to be and to have,” he explains. “This teaches you what you should expect from the person who loves you and what you should expect from yourself. Their story is so incredible. The fact that their story and this song is colliding in this video is really amazing, and to be a part of something that is shining a light on what the Wounded Warrior Project does for some of these families is so rewarding.”
Eli hopes the video will shed light on the struggles and sacrifices men and women face when returning from deployment. “Some of these guys and gals who come home, their struggle doesn’t end when the plane lands — sometimes it’s gets harder,” he says. “I had two brothers who served in the Marines, and I know what my sisters went through in waiting for them to come home. Then, even when they do, sometimes their life is not always easy – whether it’s the remembering [what happened] or the friends that they lost. It’s a hard thing for them to figure that stuff out. It’s a lot harder than we all realize.”