Strand Of Oaks

Strand Of Oaks – Hard Love {album review)

by Woody on February 17, 2017


As Tim Showalter’s stature in the music world has grown; a steady stream of very interesting pieces are written about him. During the release of HEAL, Steven Hyden did a phenomenal piece on Grantland ; as did Spin. With the success of HEAL and the upcoming release of Dark Love, Stereogum did a piece that left me exhausted. These pieces portray a conflicted version of Tim; a man stuck between a full-fledged rock star and a homebody happy to hang with his wife at home.

And that struggle is at the center of what makes Hard Love such a worthy encore to HEAL. From On The Hill, a track inspired by an acid-induced awakening that changed the direction of this album to the album’s emotional centerpiece – Cry; a piano ballad that sees Tim pouring his heart out; there seems to be an inner struggle on what Tim wants with his life. And it is all out there for you, the listener, to disect.

And then there’s Taking Acid And Talking To My Brother, an eight minute opus dealing a medical emergency his brother suffered in Indiana. As Tim was trying to balance the hedonistic mind-altering life of a rock and roll star with the day to day domestic responsibilities of making a marriage work; his life was turned upside down due to his brother’s ailment. Spending two weeks sleeping in the hospital as his brother lay in a coma was as his press release stated, “represents Showalter’s last-ditch attempt at reconciling his personal life and his impulsions.”

To me, Tim is a larger than life rock ‘n’ roll personality but does he want to be. Sharing that struggle with us in a such a raw manner is what makes his music so special.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Strand of Oaks is here


Starnd of Oaks announces Dark Love – 2/17/17

by Woody on December 1, 2016


Tim is back!!!! Following up on the 2014’s game-changing HEAL, Strand of Oaks is set to release Dark Love on 2/17/17 via the fine folks of Dead Oceans. To say we’re fans of Tim is an understatement. I think I speak for everybody who’s ever been associated with HearYa when I say, we feel a bond with his music that we don’t with may other acts. In my warped mind, I feel like we have a vested interest in his career. Anyway, the new album kicks ass. Have a listen to the first single and circle February 17th on your calendar. Here’s some more info on the album.

Tim had this to say, “Some records are built like monuments, set in stone,” says Showalter. “I want this record to be burned in effigy, in celebration of the limited time we have on this earth.”

Hard Love walks a tightrope of emotions — from rock ‘n’ roll abandon to harrowing self-reflection — and Showalter has lived every minute of it. From a life-changing psychedelic awakening at the Boogie Festival in Australia (“On The Hill“) to his own domestic troubles (“Hard Love”) and the near-death of his brother from cardiac arrest (“Taking Acid and Talking With My Brother“), Hard Love is a sledgehammer of a record rife with unrestrained sonic expression.

Written and conceptualized during Showalter’s post-tour break as he reveled in what he considered to be a life-changing experience, the initial sessions for Hard Love were scrapped. Showalter brought in producer Nicolas Vernhes to capture the loose, hedonistic vibe he was searching for. “In a time of calculation and overthinking, I wanted to bring back the raw, impulsive nature that is the DNA of so many records I love,” says Showalter, who draws from his love of Creation Records, Trojan dub tapes and Jane’s Addiction throughout the album’s nine tracks.

But that rocking intensity is tempered by the wounded ballad “Cry,” a sobering moment of clarity that serves as the emotional fulcrum of the record. It’s this strain of honesty and self-reflection that helps mark ‘Hard Love’ as the most fearless work of Showalter’s career — a growing up record that lobbies just as hard for holding on to youthful foibles.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Follow Tim here


Strand of Oaks – HEAL [album review]

by Woody on June 24, 2014


I was an Indiana kid, gettin no one in my bed
I had your sweet tunes to play
I was staring at the map, feeling fire in my head
I had your sweet tunes to play
I was mean to my dad, cause I was mean to myself
I had your sweet tunes to play
Stealing smokes in my car, with the windows way down
I had your sweet tunes to play
Your sweet tunes to play

That’s how one of the best tunes of 2014 begins. That tune is called JM, part tribute to a musical hero, Jason Molina, and part cathartic visit to growing up in Indiana. The sonic template of this track is outrageous in its ambitions and Strand Of Oaks, otherwise known as Timothy Showalter, nails it. The guitar solo at the end of this brooding, fiery seven minute epic is unadulterated musical genius. I have listened to this track 30 times plus and I get goose bumps every time; something I don’t think will ever change. It is an intensely powerful track.

JM is found on Strand Of Oaks fourth album, the aptly title HEAL. At HearYa, we’ve become friendly with Tim over the years. We’ve had him for a couple of sessions, traded emails & texts and generally just looked forward to seeing him. To have a friend reach such a pinnacle in their field, whether it be music or anything else, is always nice to see. And HEAL is hands down, Tim’s best work (and that comes from an unabashed Strand of Oaks fan).

But as the album states, this is an album about healing and you never want to know that a friend was going through such bad times. And while Tim is far from a close friend that we see all the time, his outgoing and gregarious nature must have been masking some tough times. Listening to Mirage Year, a track about his ex-wife’s infidelity and the struggles of their marriage, is gut-wrenching. While most everybody has turned to music during a relationship’s tough times, for most it has always been out losing yourself in the lyrics of others. Showalter turned the focus on himself with such clear and vivid lyrics as “That winter when you took my love / And that fucker was having his fun / But my hands are worth more than your blood.”

While a more apt title for this album might have been HEALING, as it sounds as if Tim is still working through things. After countless listens, HEAL hammers home what so many of us know already – music is the salve to so many wounds. Whether it be my seven year old daughter singing Let It Go or Tim singing about his youth in Indiana, music is a powerful thing.

Our live sessions with Tim are here & here

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Follow Tim here

{ 1 comment }

Tim Showalter is one of music’s good guys. Hell, he was one of life’s good guys. So its good to see him getting his just due in terms of success and recognition. At HearYa, we couldn’t be any happier that he’s been signed to Dead Oceans. His new album, HEAL, will be out on June 24.

The lead track Goshen ’97 is a rocking with J. Mascis lending his guitar to the proceedings. Tim has teamed up with John Vanderslice again John Congleton and based on this track, Tim’s music is continuing to move forward. His manager has told me that HEAL is going to blow my mind and I see no reason to doubt him.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Tim can be found here.

Our sessions with Strand of Oaks are here and here. They both kick ass so go check them out.


Strand of Oaks shares Trap Door. Dark Shores out tomorrow!

July 23, 2012

In keeping with the purity of truly independent music, Timothy Showalter, aka Strand of Oaks, is self-releasing Dark Shores tomorrow without the benefit of a label and the accompanying promotional budgets. We featured the first single entitled “Maureen’s” a month ago and we now have “Trap Door” available to stream below. He’s touring with The […]

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Strand of Oaks releases Maureen’s from Dark Shores [new mp3]

June 19, 2012

Timothy Showalter, aka Strand of Oaks, has become a friend of HearYa. He’s performed two incredible live sessions with us (here and here)and we’ve seen him at many a show, including a few trips at SxSW. It was this year’s trip to Austin when I last bumped into Tim. We knew he was fresh off […]

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Damien Jurado tweets that this version of “Ohio” is better than his own.

April 8, 2011

I spoke with Tim (aka Strand of Oaks) after his set at The Earl in Atlanta the other night, and he was on top of the world. Damien Jurado recently took notice of our Strand of Oaks session and tweeted to his followers that the Strand Of Oaks cover of  “Ohio” was better than his […]

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Joe Pug covered Tex Thomas last night at The Earl. Tex who?

April 7, 2011

Joe Pug and Strand of Oaks played an early show at The Earl in Atlanta last night. I’d review the show, but do I really need to say more about Joe and Tim? It’s impossible not to love both of these artists and I’m proud to have been introduced to their music very early on […]

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Strand Of Oaks, Live Session #86

March 29, 2011

It’s been great to watch Strand Of Oaks (Tim Showalter) gain in popularity over the past couple years. It’s been a very organic, word-of-mouth process, but it he’s still indie music’s best kept secret. His passion is rivaled by that of his fans and his genuineness further endears him to those that love his music. […]

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Joe Pug and Strand of Oaks Cover Each Other’s Songs, Begin Tour

March 28, 2011

I have two special treats today. The first is an announcement that two of my favorite songwriters, Joe Pug and Strand of Oaks (aka Timothy Showalter) are embarking on a tour together. The second is that, to kick off the announcement, each artist covered a favorite song from the other. Pug chose to record “End […]

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