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The awakening interest for alternative country in the late '90s saw a number of small, low profile, bands emerging together with similar record companies. Elmer was formed in Göteborg, Sweden, in 1997 with the inclusion of drummer Glenn Halvarsson. By then singer Niklas Blomkvist, bassist Jonas Hagberg and guitarist Martin Berntsson had already played together for some years, knowing each other from school. A demo to Helikopter led to a contract and the release of the single Abigail/7 Bridges. One year later came their debut album, Tar, which built on the same elements as much of the alternative country at that time: bittersweet ballads, a few country rock numbers, harmonica and mandolins. The album got good reviews, but playing alternative country in Sweden meant that it did not sell much. In 1999, Elmer recorded the song "Evil Doings" for the compilation Rockin' at the Barn, released by the new country rock label Dusty Records. This got some attention abroad and was played on alternative country stations in the U.S. The second album, 13 Sweethearts, received more attention in the big papers, and the reviews were in general very favorable. While also having some success in Norway, the band didn't sell too many records, and it was still an open question if the interest for alternative country would be lasting in Sweden, or if Elmer and bands like Alimony would drop back into obscurity. ~ Lars Lovén

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Years Active:

'90s, '00s