Strand Of Oaks
Strand of Oaks’ newest and best album, HEAL, is proof that great pain inspires great art. When SOA spark plug Tim Showalter had a crisis of self after an unsatisfactory album and a desultory two-year tour, he came back to his almost-broken home and wrote 30 deeply personal and cathartic songs in less than a month. As a result, HEAL reflects Showalter’s seminal love of ’70s-’90s Rock and Pop and taps into the core of his long simmering personal and professional issues while moving away from the bare-bones Americana that typified early Strand of Oaks albums. HEAL became even more viscerally focused when Showalter and his wife were nearly killed in a car accident on the eve of mixing the album. High points include the blistering “Goshen ’97,” featuring a scorching guitar solo from J Mascis, and the soaring epic “JM,” a heartfelt tribute to the late Jason Molina and his magnificent music.
YOU’LL DIG IT IF YOU DIG: The sound of loving music for the first time/the pain of coming up short/the redemption of never surrendering. (BB)