About Strand of Oaks
Strand of Oaks is the rock project by songwriter and producer Timothy Showalter. Originally from Indiana, he currently resides in Philadelphia. His music classifies with the genres rock and folk music, or folk rock.
Showalter was born in Goshen, Indiana. In middle school, he took an interest in organized sports and wanted to become a basketball player. Showalter's athletic career ended early because he developed juvenile rheumatoid arthritis; he took an interest in music and began to pursue a career in teaching instead. After high school, Showalter moved from Indiana to Pennsylvania. While Showalter was on tour, his wife had an affair. Escaping his detrimental relationship, he moved back to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 2003. A couple of months later, he came home to find his house burned down. Showalter spent his nights in hotels and on park benches with a borrowed guitar while working at an orthodox Jewish day school. Despite the turmoil, he was able to find inspiration to continue writing music that would later be released.
Showalter's first album Leave Ruin was released in 2009 on the Pennsylvania label La Société Expéditionnaire while touring and collaborating with Lou Rogai .
Pope Killdragon is a self-released album by Showalter. The album was produced by audio engineer, Ben Vehorn. While holding onto Strand of Oak's folky sound, Vehorn added in synthesizers and effects pedals to create an album with a sound that was unexplored territory for Showalter. In between tours, Showalter wrote music for what would become Dark Shores. He recorded this album with John Vanderslice who produced the songs.
Pope Killdragon marked a turn in lyrical and musical style for Strand of Oaks. Its music featured strong Synth-pop influences, with Showalter explicitly citing Kate Bush and Tangerine Dream as influences on the sound of the album. Lyrically, the album marked a turn to surrealism and fantasy with fewer autobiographical elements than Leave Ruin.
Despite receiving largely positive reviews, including an 8.1 from Pitchfork, a B on Consequence of Sound, and a 4.0 out of 5 on Sputnikmusic, the album sold poorly and received little attention before the release of HEAL. Sputnikmusic named Pope Killdragon "the album that 2010 forgot."
Dark Shores is the second album self-released by Showalter. Stylistically the album represents a turn to a more straightforward rock style; it is the first Strand of Oaks album recorded entirely with a full band. Showalter cited Neil Young as an influence on the style of the album. Lyrically, the album continues themes from Pope Killdragon, with some songs on Dark Shores being direct sequels to songs on Killdragon.
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