The Chess Hotel offers look at small-town life

Hobie Brown

Midwestern-bred rock and roll is ready as The Elms release The Chess Hotel.

Based out of Indiana, the Elms have some local ties. Lead guitarist Thomas Daugherty grew up in Neosho, and both lead singer Owen Thomas and his brother Christopher, who plays drums, also lived in Neosho for a short time. Base guitarist Nathan Bennett completes the group.

The Chess Hotel was released May 2 on the Universal Records South label. The Elms have since toured with acts such as Cracker, labelmate Shooter Jennings, classic-rock icon Peter Frampton, and has opened for Jars of Clay.

Artists such as The Who, The Strokes, Primal Scream, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen and Jimi Hendrix are some of The Elms’ influences. These diverse styles are evident in the driving sounds found in tracks such as “Makes Good Sense” and “The Chess Hotel” and the acoustic sounds found in “Bring Me Your Tea” and “I’ve Been Wrong.”

My overall impression of The Chess Hotel was one that leaves a taste in my mouth yearning for more.

It presents 13 songs about the actualities of life and love in a small town and, coming from a small town, I have been able to relate to all of them. “The Chess Hotel”, is about blue-collar burnout and “Makes Good Sense” addresses trying to make sense of your surroundings.

Having spent the majority of my life living in small farming communities, many a day I’ve spent trying to make sense of everything happening in town.

The basis of small town life is that the whole community is a family. The same can be said of The Elms and their music. Drawing on the same train of thought allows them to produce a quality sound; it makes the future look bright for The Elms career.

If you are a rock fan of any sorts, this album is definitely one to include in your collection.

You can hear sounds resembling everything from Tom Petty to The Strokes. And that is what makes The Chess Hotel unique and a must-have for music lovers.