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Elms mixes rock, Christian themes

Jan. 22, 2004

By Amber Bradley, reporter

The Elms will make a stop in Waco Thursday as part of a Texas weekend-long road trip. They are playing at 8 p.m. at University Baptist Church and will head to Gainesville Friday and Houston Saturday.

The band, which hails from Seymour, Ind., mixes Christian themes with their unique style of rock 'n' roll.

'We consider ourselves a '60s influenced rock band,' said Owen Thomas, the 25-year-old lead vocals and guitar player in the band. 'We love roots, old school gospel, stripped down American rock music.

'Our music deals with matters of the heart. The most important and pervasive part of our lives is our spirituality,' Thomas said. 'The guys in our band are all Christian guys.'

The rest of the band consists of Thomas' brother Christopher, 23, on drums and vocals; Thomas Daugherty, 25, on lead guitar and vocals; and Keith Lee Miller on bass guitar and vocals.

Thomas said Daugherty and he were best friends since fourth grade and 'always just thought we would play in a band together. We would write songs when we were in grade school.'

The band officially began, 'about four years ago my brother and I wanted to start a really cool American rock band,' Thomas said.

The Elms have released two albums on Sparrow Records, The Big Surprise in 2001 and Truth, Soul, Rock & Roll in late 2002.

'We're gearing up to make another record now,' Thomas said. 'Our goal is by the end of the year it will be available.'

The Elms' music has been heard by a variety of audiences, both spiritual and secular.

'We've had really great opportunities with TV, movies and mainstream acts that other Christian bands normally wouldn't,' Thomas said. 'Our music has been used a lot of places that I would never have guessed.'

The band's last two videos have seen air time on MTV, and their songs have been used as theme music for sporting events and TV shows such as Dawson's Creek, Charmed and Providence, Thomas said.

The Elms already have a following among Baylor students. They played at the 2002 Brothers Under Christ Island Party.

'They are very much representative of '60s and '70s music and rock 'n' roll, which many students these days are into,' said Katie Young, a freshman from Maryville, Tenn., and band promoter. 'The awesome thing about music from these years is that it can be as complicated as the artist chooses it to be. The Elms have just taken this type of music to their level. They've written lyrics that are depictive of their lives and what they believe,' she said.

Local artist Reeve Hunter will open for The Elms. Tickets for Thursday's concert cost $5 at the door.

'It's not uncommon for us to play at a church tonight, a club tomorrow and a festival the next day,' he said.

'We work really hard to be a good rock band,' Thomas said. 'Upon hearing our band you would never say, 'That's a great Christian band.' But we are a group that loves God and talks about that in the music.'