Mike Eli, lead singer of the Eli Young Band, has been the first of his bandmates down the path of love, marriage — and now baby carriage.
“I guess that makes me leader of the pack,” laughs the Texas native, who shared news of his first child exclusively with PEOPLE as he and James Young, Jon Jones and Chris Thompson wrapped up their last show in Australia with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.
Eli and wife Kacey — who celebrate their second anniversary Tuesday — found out the good news on New Year’s Day, and he’s been reading up on his next role ever since.
“She and her mom got me a couple books that I am reading, and it can be a little overwhelming,” he admits.
“I recommend reading them for the basics and what to expect during pregnancy, but they can’t teach you to be a good dad and a good partner. That’s up to me to figure out.”
He has until August 2nd to do it, the date their first baby — a girl! — is due. Just in case she comes early, the band has carved out some off days from their summer gig on “The Great American Band Tour” with Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town and Edens Edge, which kicks off June 15th in Hartford, Conn.
Hitting the road is already a little tougher, Eli admits.
“We’ve been on the road so much for so long, and we like it, we love playing shows, but I think all four of us agree, now that we’re all married, the urge to get home is a lot stronger than it ever has been,” he explains.
“Now that Kacey’s pregnant it’s even stronger, and I can only imagine what it will be like once the baby is born. It will be extremely hard to leave them.”
Eli Young Band will take a brief break from their current “Keep On Dreamin'” tour for the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 1, airing live at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. They are up for three awards, including Vocal Group of the Year.
– Kay West