Strand of Oaks – Shut In

Strand of Oaks is the recording pseudonym of Timothy Showalter, a Hoosier Mennonite turned Pennsylvania Hebrew school teacher turned indie singer-songwriter. Legend has it that Mr. Showalter used to drive buses in Goshen, Indiana for extra cash before gaining enough notoriety to pursue music full-time.

He writes a wide variety of songs: some quiet & acoustic (see “Dogs of War” or “End in Flames” from his first album Leave Ruin), some upbeat & hopeful (see “Goshen ’97” or “Shut In” from the new album), and some weird & atmospheric (see damn near anything on Pope Killdragon). The one consistency is that they’re typically quite good.

The new Strand of Oaks record is called Heal and is due out June 24th.

You can pre-order it here. Based on what’s available so far, it’s going to be great.

RIYL: Mr. Springsteen, Rufus Wainwright, The Hold Steady, good music

A couple more songs, for contrast:

Two more songs, “Ohio” and “Two Kids”, are below.

They’re both amazing songs, but be warned: listening to either of them could completely ruin your day (in the best of ways). You might see why his newest album is going in a different direction and is called Heal. Dude appeared to be three sad songs away from drinking an arsenic & cyanide smoothie.

“Ohio” is a Damien Jurado cover. It details a heartbreaking custody battle, told by a guy who got to know the young girl in the middle of it.

“Two Kids” is from Showalter’s first album. In essence, it’s a straight-forward love song, but there’s a slight twist in that the object of the guy’s affection has two children from a previous relationship. Call it a love song for people in their 30’s who’ve seen some shit. There’s a section that starts with “because men my age…” that’s a gut-punch every time. Great stuff though.

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