Every so often here at The Key Studio Sessions, we like to pan away from our big-bang performance space and get back to basics. So when I heard a couple weeks ago that Timothy Showalter, the singer and songwriter behind Strand of Oaks, was stopping by Fred Knittel’s Folkadelphia show with an acoustic guitar, I rushed down to the Y-Rock broadcast booth so I could hit record. Showalter’s haunting sophomore album, Pope Killdragon, earned a lot of acclaim this year, and rightfully so—behind those majestic textures is the work of a masterful storyteller, something that became obvious when we stripped the layers away.
Showalter believably inhabits the world of his characters—the lonely giant in “Alex Kona,” the determined suitor in “Two Kids,” the desperate drinker in “Sterling.” He even worked his charm on other people’s songs with spellbinding versions of “The Golden Age” by Beck and “Wolves” by Phosphorescent. (Unfortunately, because of copyright law nuances you probably aren’t interested in, we can’t offer those last two for download—but if you tune in to my show Thursday night at 10 on Y-Rock, you’ll hear those covers in the mix.) And hey, the set below is nothing to sneeze at; all parties involved in the session agreed it was magic. If you think so too, and are feeling in the holiday giving spirit, Strand of Oaks’ Kickstarter campaign is still going on. When we first told you about it, Showalter hoped for nothing more than enough money to press Pope Killdragon to vinyl. He hit that goal about nine hours in, and the campaign runs till January 13th. So pretty much, at this point your donation would go to making the next Strand of Oaks record—a worthy cause indeed.
Strand Of Oaks, The Key Studio Sessions