This year, Tim Showalter of Strand of Oaks gets to step into the role of one of his heroes — singer-songwriter Jason Molina, who wrote profoundly moving music in aughties outfits Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Company. After Molina passed away in 2013, Showalter wrote the epic “J.M.” in tribute to him, a central track on Oaks’ 2014 album HEAL, and this fall he teamed up with the surviving members of Molina’s band to tour Europe as Memorial Electric Co.
“There was such an intimate relationship with his music – it felt a lot deeper than just liking a song,” says Showalter of the experience of getting ready for these shows, and his fandom in general. “You live in these songs.”
While touring through Europe this summer with and festival hopping in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Montenegro, Strand of Oaks‘ frontman Tim Showalter teamed up with three amazing Dutch musicians for his EU backing band. Showalter and company transformed the 2014 HEAL cut, “Same Emotions,” and developed it from a vaguely new wave electronic jams into a face-melting rock track. With the help of Showalter’s Dutch companions, the track transforms into an expansive 6 and a half minutes, and was captured in video form on July 21st at the Sea Rock Festival in Kotor, Montenegro. Continue reading →
In the years following the death of iconic singer-songwriter Jason Molina, many artists have come together to pay tribute — namely, the Songs: Molina project, which was started by Molina’s bandmates from Songs: Ohia and the Magnolia Electric Co. Songs: Molina, a Memorial Electric Co. will tour Europe this fall, with the addition of a familiar local face — Strand of Oaks‘ Timothy Showalter.
Showalter is a longtime Molina fan — the Strand of Oaks song “JM” is named for the musician, and he’s been known to share the story of the only time the two met. Molina himself spent some time in Philadelphia recording his 2002 album Didn’t It Rain, and Philly’s Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner played slide guitar on the album. Also on the tour is Molina biographer Erin Osmon, author of Jason Molina: Riding With The Ghost.Continue reading →
Let’s send out January in a big way, friends. The weather is unseasonably warm and we’ve got 24 concerts over the next week for you to choose between, centered in Philadelphia with a couple day trips to locales like Bethlehem and Ardmore. Dig in below, and happy concertgoing. Continue reading →
In cased you somehow missed it, “Get Loose” is Timothy Showalter’s mantra of 2017.
Those two words have been used effusively by his band Strand of Oaks: it’s a lyrical refrain in “On The Hill,” it’s a command shouted from the stage and a catchphrase on social media to get fans hype for their tour; it appears on huge block letters on t-shirts at the merch stand. Hell, it’s all over the artwork to Harder Love, the companion LP to this year’s Hard Love that Philly fans picked up an early copy of at the third annual Winter Classic, Oaks’ three sold-out nights at Boot & Saddle earlier this month.
The spirit of the phrase is all about loosening oneself from external expectation, finding joy in the moment, living your life for yourself and those who you love most dearly. With those shows, however, “get loose” took on a different meaning for Showalter: he was loose of the band he’d been touring with all year and loose of their locked-in style of improv that, while dazzling, could eclipse the incredible songwriting at the core of it all; he was loose of the sets focused largely on 2017’s Hard Love — recently named one of our don’t-miss record of the year — sets that rarely included anything earlier than 2014’s HEAL.
The Winter Classic shows were Showalter, on stage by himself for the better part of three straight nights, performing different and deep-diving song selections each show — constructed with fan input, his setlists touched on cuts from all five Oaks studio LPs, including songs he hasn’t played in five-plus years (maybe ever?), with a recurring jam from the slated January release of Harder Love and a new song dedicated to his wife Sue.
He was loose and, admittedly nervous about the ordeal — there was nothing to hide behind, just Tim and his gregarious personality. And at the end of it all, that looseness made room for discovery and re-discovery, for audience and artist alike. Here’s what we heard and saw that weekend. Continue reading →
A good argument for arriving early to Strand of Oaks‘ three-night stand at Boot & Saddle this weekend: main man Tim Showalter will be selling limited edition vinyl copies of Harder Love — yes, you read that correctly, HardER. This is a new collection demos from the 2016 studio sessions for this year’s Hard Love.
The album comes out January 19th on Dead Oceans Records, and is limited to 500 copies. Continue reading →
This past weekend, the inaugural Philly Music Fest touched down at World Cafe Live, filling the venue’s upstairs and downstairs stages with two nights of performances by local artists. Highlights included dazzling late-night performances by headliners Cayetana and Strand of Oaks, packed-floor upstairs sets by Harmony Woods and Ivy Sole, the live debut of Skull Eclipses — the experimental hiphop project of Lushlife and Botany — and much more.
In the mix were foodies, artists and crafters, musicians in the audience watching the musicians onstage, and a couple top-secret stripped down performances for VIP ticket holders. 26 artists performed in total, money was raised for LiveConnections, and you can take a look at scenes from the weekend care of ace Key photographer Rachel Del Sordo.To see more of her work, check out her website, and give her Instagram a follow. Continue reading →
Local favorites Strand of Oaks blew us away at Philly Music Fest this weekend, but if you missed the show or just couldn’t get enough, we have some good news. Tim Showalter just announced this year’s Winter Classic, an annual year-end event that’s become a tradition for the band and fans alike. It’s all happening over three nights this December at Boot & Saddle, and Oaks have enlisted a terrific roster of locals to open the stripped-down shows. Continue reading →
It’s day two of the inaugural Philly Music Fest at World Cafe Live, and Strand of Oakstake the stage for a headlining set. The festival’s eclectic lineup seeks to showcase local musicians and encourage Philadelphians to support our scene. Also performing today are Steve Gunn, Deadfellow, Ivy Sole, Shannen Moser, and lots more. Check out the festival’s website for tickets, set times, and more info. We most recently saw Strand of Oaks rocking the Marina Stage at this year’s XPN Fest; read a recap of that performance here. Below, watch a video from the band’s recent World Cafe session. Continue reading →