Last month, Strand Of Oaks’ Timothy Showalter took to Twitter shortly after releasing the official music video for “Ruby” saying “this is by far one of the happiest songs I’ve ever written”. And by the grin on his face during much of last nights performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, it was clear to see the joyous memories come to life.
I’m sure it didn’t hurt having an all-star Americana-Folk group of friends behind him, including Jason Isbell (who is featured on the album), Amanda Shires, and Bo Koster and Tom Blankenship of My Morning Jacket who played a role in the creation of Strand Of Oaks’ forthcoming record Eraserland. Continue reading →
Strand of Oaks‘ frontman Timothy Showalter has released another single off his upcoming album Eraserland this week. The single is called “Key” and is dedicated to his wife, Sue. Showalter says that he has struggled to “properly write” about the love he has for Sue but he endeavors to do just that in this poignant new track.
Following the release of two other singles from the album, “Weird Ways” and “Ruby”, “Keys” is markedly stripped back. It opens with echoing guitar, electric organ, bass, and drums that take a moment to lock into strict time. The whole song feels akin to walking the train tracks or staring out a cab window while contemplating one’s life until this point. Showalter says it best with his lyric: “Then the train pulls up / And there you are / The reason why I write my songs.” “Keys” is a tribute to enduring love, the kind that sticks by you during the tough times and gains perspective through the years. Continue reading →
The annual SXSW festival is right around the corner, and once again the #AmplifyPhilly showcase is setting up shop on 6th Street in downtown Austin to show off some of the best names in Philadelphia music.
Headlining #AmplifyPhilly, which takes place on Monday, March 11th of this year, is Strand of Oaks, who is just ahead of releasing the new Eraserland LP on Dead Oceans Records. Continue reading →
Philadelphia’s Strand of Oaks is readying the spring release of its sixth LP, Eraserland, and today frontman Tim Showalter brings us another taste of the record. Following the pensive build-and-burn of album opener “Weird Ways,” this teaser is a joyous pop anthem called “Ruby,” built around a ringing chord progression, snappy staccato keys, and a hooky refrain about not losing sight of the joy in life as time marches on: “Ruby, won’t you slow it down, this is happening so fast.”
“Ruby is by far one of the happiest songs I’ve ever written, unabashedly so,” Showalter writes on Twitter. “I know this seems like strange, uncharted waters for the Oaks catalog and especially Eraserland, but even the darkest night has a dawn. This is a song about the time and how with each year passing it feels like a dream.” Continue reading →
Philly’s Strand of Oaks is getting ready to release its latest LP, Eraserland, and the album traces frontman Tim Showalter’s journey from the frustrated lows of a creative rut to the euphoric highs of rediscovering one’s passion for not just making music and art, but also living. Part of that personal journey lies not just in writing new music, but also listening to music.
Shortly after announcing Eraserland earlier this month, Showalter rolled out a project he’s calling Eraserland Radio. It started out as a Spotify playlist collecting the music that sparked life in him as a songwriter — songs by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (“Alabama Pines”), Brandi Carlile (“The Story”), Jessica Lea Mayfield (“Too Much Terrible”) and R.E.M. (“Country Feedback”). It’s since grown, via fan submissions on social media, into a 67-song playlist that includes Miles Davis’ “Maiysha (So Long)” alongside Alabama Shakes’ “Gemini,” The Cure’s “Open” next to Slowdive’s “Sugar for the Pill,” and on and on. Continue reading →
There’s an air of finality in the opening notes of Strand of Oaks‘ new single “Weird Ways,” as frontman Tim Showalter very plainly and directly sings “I don’t feel it anymore.”
Set to warm, close-mic’d acoustic guitar, with his robust baritone upfront in the mix, this is the intimate and vulnerable Showalter we hear once a year at the Boot & Saddle Winter Classic; it’s the Showalter of back-catalog songs like “Kill Dragon” and “Sister Evangeline.” And it’s a Showalter who, as he was writing, clearly felt out of place with the direction his music traveled versus the direction the music world was heading.
“The scene isn’t my scene anymore.”
This is the way that Strand of Oaks’ just-announced sixth album Eraserland begins, and a glance over song titles like “Final Fires” — or knowing the song “Keys” from his live set, where he sings “we should just run away” to his wife Sue — seem to paint a picture of somebody ready to move on.
But then a snare drum downbeat kicks in. And the realization hits — we’re not going anywhere just yet. Continue reading →
“High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in recurring installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.
It was by luck of the draw that Tim Showalter became a Philadelphian. Having spent his childhood in his hometown of Goshen, Indiana, the Strand Of Oaks frontman was sold on Philly by a childhood friend of his who’d already pioneered the relocation, and to hear Showalter tell it, it hardly even feels adopted, anymore.
He makes reference to that several times, in a recent interview with us, effusive in his affection for all he feels Philly has been able to offer him over the past decade and a half here. Wearing his beard long and his lumberjack coat red, Showalter reminisced warmly about wandering the Wissahickon, building out his band, getting to see Philly legend Jack Rose play hallowed local stages like Brenda’s — and then, with a sense of genuine gratitude, the good fortune of getting to later play them himself.
Showalter also talks “Winter Classic”: a lineup of several consecutive Strand Of Oaks shows that launches tonight at Boot And Saddle. On deck this week to celebrate a fourth year of these gigs with him are folk-singer Joe Pug, and My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel. Continue reading →
From alt rock heros to rising stars in hip-hop, a Philly favorite taking over three nights at Boot and Saddle in South Philly, while a soul queen posts up for two nights at World Cafe Live in University City. And the time of year being what it is, there are not one, not two, but three holiday shows on the calendar this week. Here are 16 concerts to see in the next seven days all around Philadelphia. Continue reading →
In what’s become something of a Philly tradition, Strand of Oaks will return to South Broad Street’s Boot and Saddle this December for three nights in a row: the storied Oaks Winter Classic, edition IV. This year, the shows take place Thursday, December 6th; Friday, December 7th; and Saturday, December 8th.
Unlike last year’s gigs, where Showalter hand-picked different openers each night, these shows will all feature Greenbelt, Maryland singer-songwriter Joe Pug — a full-circle moment, since one of Showalter’s first tours in the wake of Pope Killdragon‘s success was opening for Pug — as well as Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket, who Strand of Oaks opened for at the Tower Theater in 2015. Continue reading →