The title of Strand of Oaks' forthcoming album, 'Heal,' out June 24 via Dead Oceans, reflects a period in the singer-songwriter's life that had inspired a change in his music.
"My marriage was suffering, I'd released a record I was disappointed in, I didn't like how I looked or acted...so I'd gone on tour, I was gone about two years!" says Strand of Oaks, whose real name is Timothy Showalter. "I didn't take time to think about failure, but I knew I was going deeper and deeper...I was thinking, I have this life, but it's not my life, I haven't done it right."
Enlightened, Showalter wrote 30 songs over three weeks and proceeded to record the album with mixer John Congleton and engineer Ben Vehorn. Then on Christmas Eve 2013, two days prior to mixing the album, Showalter and his wife were in a car accident and lucky to walk away with their lives. Suddenly, the album possessed another meaning.
"Together, we pushed it toward a much more cathartic sound that forces the listener to where I was at that exact moment, somewhere between almost dying and being absolutely fearless," said Showalter.
It's through this lens and those experiences that 'Shut In' comes into frame. With lyrics like "Know my name, no, I mean it / It's not as bad as it seems / And I'll and I'll wait to get better / Even if we're alone," the song speaks for itself, as does the production, which is fuller than previous Strand of Oaks albums, with a drumbeat that's very present and echoing guitars.
None of the instruments appear in the music video for 'Shut In,' which we're excited to premiere in the above player. It's a conceptual video, but the concept is simple -- Showalter plays a shut-in, expressionless and ambivalent (if not a little sad), who's interviewed by the host of a TV news program about his predicament. Check it out.