The Week Ahead: The Posies, Strand of Oaks, King Britt, Inara George and more

XPoNential Music Festival | photo by Joe Del Tufo |

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 →


Get Loose: Strand of Oaks takes Boot & Saddle on a journey for the 2017 Winter Classic

Strand of Oaks | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

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 →


Strand of Oaks releasing a collection of demos called Harder Love in January; listen to “Passing Out”

Strand of Oaks’ Harder Love | via Bandcamp

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 →


Slomo Sapiens to Skull Eclipses, Shannen Moser to Strand of Oaks: Scenes from the inaugural Philly Music Fest

Ceramic Animal | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |

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 →


Strand of Oaks will be joined by Shannen Moser, Hemming and more at this year’s Boot & Saddle Winter Classic

Strand of Oaks | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

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 →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Strand of Oaks at Philly Music Fest, Soraia at MilkBoy, Thundercat at Union Transfer

Strand of Oaks | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

It’s day two of the inaugural Philly Music Fest at World Cafe Live, and Strand of Oaks take 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 →


Listen to Cayetana’s Augusta Koch cover Strand of Oaks’ “Goshen ’97”

Augusta Koch of Cayetana | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN || Tim Showalter of Strand of Oaks | photo by Maclay Heriot | courtesy of the artist

Late last night, Augusta Koch of Philly punk power trio Cayetana sent out a tongue-in-cheek tweet: “Enjoy this shitty garage band cover of @Strandofoaks” followed by a Soundcloud link.

The home recording of “Goshen ’97” contained within was, most decidedly, not shitty. Continue reading →


XPN Fest Recap: Strand of Oaks brings rock and redemption to the Marina Stage

Strand of Oaks | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

XPN Morning Show host Bob Bumbera gave Philly’s Strand of Oaks a rock star welcome to the stage, and the crowd followed his lead. When Tim Showalter stepped onto the Marina Stage, it felt like a long-awaited family reunion. When he started out with a cover of Father John Misty’s “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings,” it felt like the best inside joke between old friends (if you aren’t up-to-date on the infamous FJM-XPN Fest series of events, check it out here because a Strand of Oaks post can’t turn into the pure comedy that follows in Josh Tillman’s wake). But as Showalter put it after the cover ended, “That’s some redemption for you, XPN Fest.” Continue reading →


Watch a super-serious Strand of Oaks cover Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love”

Strand of Oaks | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

Everybody has their own routine to get ready for work. Timothy Showalter’s just might be a little different (OK, a lot different) compared to the rest.

Before a show earlier this week in Athens, Georgia, Strand of Oaks posted a video of Showalter and some of the crew warming up their pipes with a cover of Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love.” The camera work and black-and-white editing add an entirely new level of entertainment value. Every few seconds brings a new surprise twist to this captivating and inspirational film. Watch it below for a good laugh. Continue reading →


Strand of Oaks has a new video for “Everything” and it’s the best kind of freaky

Strand of Oaks | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN |
Strand of Oaks | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN |

By now, we’re all well acquainted with the Hard Love era of Strand of Oaks. The Philly rockers led, of course, by Timothy Showalter released their fifth album back in February. Since, they’ve come through for a Free at Noon, shredded Union Transfer and shared the details of the album on World Cafe. All were great, but not much less was expected. Now it’s time to deviate from expectations.

Enter the new (and slightly unsettling) video for “Everything,” the third track off Hard Love. Continue reading →