The Elms


Hard Rock,Mid-West,British Invasion

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The Great American Midrange is a superbly fitting title for the fourth album from The Elms, the Indiana-born quartet who have become torchbearers for modern American rock & roll since their inception early in the new millennium.  They build solidly upon a tradition that stretches from The Band to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, with deep roots in the muddy working soul of their home country. They’ve also always fortuitously engaged the musical sweet spot of honoring the past while living in and embracing the present.

The Elms' sound is simple and straight forward. Pounding drums, thumping base, screaming guitars and lyrics shouted to blend with the noise. Good stuff, because we all want to dance every now and then. But the lyrics bring weight and substance to this party music. The Elms want you to think they are all about the good times, but the lyrics pull you back. The newer songs are filled with sorrow of lives lost pursuing the mundane and the joys of simple pleasures. The older songs show you and cajole you to pursue a path filled with God's desires. Keep dancing and you will keep listening. If you keep listening the messages will get through.

The Elms list Crazy Horse and the Kinks as influences, but most compare them to the great rockers of middle and rural America. When asked if The Elms are attempting to walk in the shoes of Mellencamp, Petty and Springsteen, The Elms lead singer Owen Thomas said, "I don't think I'm consciously attempting to step in anybody's shoes. I'm writing about my friends. I'm writing about my little town, what it meant to grow up there, how everybody always wanted to get out. And I'm writing about how most of them don't get out."

The Elms left the Christian music industry to try to spread their Rock n' Roll message in the secular scene. That has given them the freedom to discuss the despair and loss in the world. According to Owens; "We never wanted to be a band that existed exclusively to rock. The artists that we aspire to be like-Bruce Springsteen, The Who, U2, Tom Petty, John Mellencamp-these are all acts with a heartbeat, if you know what I mean. They weren't out there just to rock; they also existed to enlighten people to a cause or enlighten people to the living circumstances of people around them. It was more of a global conscience happening, and music was just a vehicle. I really feel that's what our band aspires to."

The Elms needed to leave the Christian music industry to reach for their aspiration. Too many times the Christian music scene interprets that move as abandoning the Faith. That is simply not the case with The Elms. As Owen recently said "The most pervasive and important part of our lives is still our faith. The reason our band wants to get in front of rock audiences is so those things can happen, and we can actually feel like we're being truthful in the work by being out there and getting the spiritual wheels turning in people's minds and hearts. I don't want to say that the reason our band goes out and plays shows is to evangelize. That'd probably be a little misleading, because we also exist to go out there and tell people about the plight of little towns in Middle America."

A large part of what makes The Great American Midrange so compelling is that it’s certainly no fluke. The album represents the culmination of nearly 8 years of ambitious, steady work by The Elms and reflects directly who the band are as both musicians and active, engaged citizens.  Natives of Seymour, Indiana -- perhaps best-known as the birthplace of John Mellencamp -- The Elms formed in 2001, releasing two albums and performing 400 shows before seeing 2005 lead to a major-label contract with Universal South Records, who released the critically-acclaimed The Chess Hotel in 2006. The Elms supported The Chess Hotel with extensive touring that found them sharing stages in the U.S. and Europe with artists as diverse as Band of Horses, Shooter Jennings, the Fratellis, Switchfoot, Goo Goo Dolls and Buddy Guy, a good indication of The Elms' wide appeal and refusal to fit into any niche categories.  Their idols have taken notice: no less than Neil Young, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp invited the group personally to play Farm Aid when their annual benefit festival rolled into Boston in 2008.

In mid-2010, the band announced that they would be splitting up. The following statement was posted on the band's website:
It is with equal parts gratitude and humility with which I write you today to say that this July, after ten extraordinary years of life lived closely together, the members of The Elms will very amicably part ways and end our tenure as a rock and roll band. There are no salacious discrepancies between band members to report to you, and no dramatic elements to run through the rumor mill! Simply stated, the time has come to move on.

As a band, our personal affections for one another are at an all-time high. I have respect beyond the capability of words for Christopher, Thomas, and Nathan -- and I'll maintain forever that there is not a better, tighter, smarter, and more intuitive musical unit than they are, both together and individually. For a full decade of my life, I got to be in my favorite band, and it was cracklin' the whole time. And the fact that our final and favorite album, "The Great American Midrange," was our highest-charting ever? Well, an outstanding note to end on.

I can say to you with assurance that our band rarely compromised what we felt were our purest commodities; for better or worse, everything we did musically or otherwise came straight from the guts, and we ultimately answered to our own honest ideals about our songs and identity. The heart of our commitment to you was to be authentic, and to always do the best that we could do. Every creative offering we gave you was meticulously cared for, and we're so proud of the music on our four albums. Thank you for following where we walked.

................We're eternally grateful to all of you who discovered The Elms and our music; then so warmly carried us, loved us, supported us, and become our extended family through the years - you have brought us true joy on innumerable occasions. I thank God Almighty that we've gotten a chance to meet you all.

I hope that you'll still let The Elms' music keep you company from time to time. It has been my life's great honor to share ten life-changing, world-traveling, destiny-pursuing years with my brother, my best friends, and with you.

With deep respect, and love.
Owen M. Thomas

Listen to Christian Music Artists The Elms


Album Title Year Label
Big Surprise2001Sparrow Records
Truth, Soul, Rock & Roll2002Sparrow Records
The Chess Hotel2006Universal Republic
The Great American Midrange2009Trust, Inc





United States

Record Label:

Trust, Inc

Christian Label:


Years Active: