Philly based singer/songwriter Timothy Showalter records under the name of Strand Of Oaks and he’s just released a haunting and gorgeous collection of songs called Pope Killdragon through eMusic. The Wilkes-Barre native is a fascinating story teller, creator of confessional acoustic based songs that are singular in voice and vision.
According to eMusic, “in 2003, Showalter’s house burned down, his fiancée broke up with him, and he resorted to writing songs on an acoustic guitar while living on park benches in suburban Philadelphia. Those events informed the entirety of his arresting debut, Leave Ruin, an album about loss and brokenness and lack of faith.” Cut to the present: Tim is happily married, living in Philly and getting deserving praise for his new album, a collection of songs that vary between gothic folk, stoner metal and prog-influenced rock. Showalter says he wanted to build a “mythology” that ran through the album, and the song’s characters, themes and stories do create an enigmatic vibe that holsters the album. It’s a beautiful collection of weird tales and small cultural touchstones that shape Showalter’s emotionally tinged songs. The album is wonderfully produced and the instrumentation (acoustic, electric guitars, drums, synthesizers) are played so efficiently and sharply that they help underscore both the albums darkness and (even) sense of humor. If you’re a fan of Bon Iver, Destroyer, Will Oldham & Elvis Perkins then you’re very likely going to flip over Showalter’s imaginative, musical tour-de-force.
Download: Alex Kona – Strands of Oak