Strand of Oaks

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Strand of Oaks
Strand of Oaks press photo 2014.jpg
Background information
Birth nameTimothy Showalter
Also known asStrand of Oaks
BornJuly 20, 1982
Goshen, Indiana
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
Years active2003–present
LabelsDead Oceans

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.[1]

Early life[edit]

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.[2] After high school, Showalter moved from Indiana to Pennsylvania.[1] 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 months later, he came home to find his house burned down.[1] 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.[1]


Leave Ruin (2009)[edit]

Showalter's first album Leave Ruin was released in 2009 on the Pennsylvania label La Société Expéditionnaire[1] while touring and collaborating with Lou Rogai (Lewis & Clarke).[3]

Pope Killdragon (2010)[edit]

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.[1] 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.[2] Lyrically, the album marked a turn to surrealism and fantasy with fewer autobiographical elements than Leave Ruin.[4][2]

Despite receiving largely positive reviews, including an 8.1 from Pitchfork,[4] a B on Consequence of Sound,[5] and a 4.0 out of 5 on Sputnikmusic,[6] the album sold poorly and received little attention before the release of HEAL. Sputnikmusic named Pope Killdragon "the album that 2010 forgot."[6]

Dark Shores (2012)[edit]

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.[2] Showalter cited Neil Young as an influence on the style of the album.[2] Lyrically, the album continues themes from Pope Killdragon, with some songs on Dark Shores being direct sequels to songs on Killdragon.[2]

HEAL (2014)[edit]

Once Showalter returned from tour, he got to work recording about 30 demos in three weeks. He wrote and recorded songs in his home studio which led to the album, HEAL. This was the first album Showalter released on Dead Oceans.

On Christmas Day in 2013, Showalter and Sue were driving back to Philadelphia from Indiana when they hit a patch of ice and crashed into two semi trucks. Showalter suffered a concussion and broke every rib on his right side. The near-death experience gave Showalter a boldness during mixing sessions while creating HEAL with John Congleton, just days after the crash.

HEAL received much acclaim, being named one of the best albums released in 2014. Showalter has toured extensively in support of the album and opened for Jason Isbell, Iron and Wine, and Ryan Adams. Strand of Oaks made their television debut in 2014 appearing on Late Night with Seth Meyers.[7]

Hard Love (2017)[edit]

On December 1st, 2016, Timothy Showalter announced the upcoming fifth album from Strand of Oaks called Hard Love which was released on February 17th, 2017. He also released the first single off the album called "Radio Kids".[8] Strand of Oaks appeared on Last Call with Carson Daly, live at the Troubadour in L.A., first broadcast May 17th, 2017. [9]

On January 19, 2018, Showalter released a follow-up to Hard Love, Harder Love, through Dead Oceans. The project was announced in December, 2017, and includes demos, B-sides, and alternative renditions of songs from Hard Love.[10]

Awards, nominations, accomplishments[edit]

  • Consequence of Sounds #1 Song of the Week for "Shut In"
  • Consequence of Sounds #2 Song of the Week for "Goshen '97"[11]
  • Video for "Goshen '97" featured on Billboard[12]
  • Syncs with Red Bull and MTV's show Catfish
  • Paste’s 50 Best Albums of 2014 for HEAL
  • Stereogum’s 50 Best Albums of 2014 for HEAL
  • The A.V. Club 20 Best Albums of 2014 for HEAL
  • Pretty Much Amazing’s Best Albums of 2014 for HEAL
  • American Songwriter’s Top 50 Albums of 2014 (#3) for HEAL
  • NPR Music’s Favorite Songs of 2014 for HEAL
  • Consequence of Sound’s Top 50 Albums of 2014 for HEAL
  • NPR’s 10 Breakout Artists of 2014 for HEAL
  • American Songwriter’s Top 50 Songs of 2014 (#4) for HEAL
  • Under the Radar’s Top 140 Albums of 2014 for HEAL
  • Pretty Much Amazing’s Best Songs of 2014 for HEAL



  • Leave Ruin (2009)
  • Pope Killdragon (2010)
  • Dark Shores (2012)
  • HEAL (2014)
  • Hard Love (2017)
  • Harder Love (2018)


  • Darker Shores (2013)


  • Spacestations (2012)
  • Shut In (2014)
  • Goshen '97 (2014)
  • Radio Kids (2017)


  1. ^ a b c d e f Oliphint, Joel (23 June 2014). "You Gotta Heal: Strand of Oaks Faces Down His Demons". Spin. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Miller, Joshua M. (21 August 2012). "Strand of Oaks: A Tale of Perseverance". American Songwriter. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  3. ^ "Strand of Oaks bio". JamBase. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Strand of Oaks: Pope Killdragon Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  5. ^ "Strand of Oaks - Pope Killdragon". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Strand of Oaks: Pope Killdragon". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  7. ^ Kaye, Ben (August 12, 2014). "Watch: St. Vincent and Strand of Oaks perform on Late Night with Seth Meyers". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Rebroadcast 6/27/2017.
  10. ^ Leas, Ryan. "Strand Of Oaks' Harder Love Is A Glimpse Of What Hard Love Could Have Been". Stereogum. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  11. ^ Willett, Sam (3 April 2014). "Top 10 Songs of the Week". Consequence of Sounds. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  12. ^ "Bubbling Under: My Crazy Girlfriend Not Scaring Away Pop Radio". Billboard. 2 May 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014.