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Strand of Oaks
John Dee, Oslo, Norway, October 12 2014

Strand of Oaks chased off the ghost of a Sunday night when they visited Oslo's John Dee venue some weeks ago. Tim Showalter and his players (a threesome, holding keyboard, bass, and drums) made sure to make a perfect end of the weekend, with a highly comforting gig.

A couple of hours before they went on stage, I had a short interview-chat with Tim, who was a warm, honest and openhearted. He was a real friendly guy.

The band hit the stage and made sure to throw a very good performance. They kicked off with "Satellite Moon" (off Dark Shores (2012), and played almost the entire songs from his latest album, Heal. The titled track, "HEAL", 'hit' single "Goshen 97", and the epic Molina tribute "JM" came tumbling quite early in the show. Hey, live "JM" sounded even more epic than the album version. "Woke Up To The Light" and "Mirage Year" came also, almost before Showalter and his musical friends came to breath. The crowd was very good that night. It was maybe not the best there can be (Showalter hailed the show in Göteborg, Sweden, the night before to be the gig of his life). I recall the Oslo concert to be indeed very good as well. The venue was not all over-crowded, and for a slow Sunday it was perfectly (enough) filled. While in Göteborg, Tim and his musketeers visited a sauna: several sweaty beards, and one lady looking at sweaty beards (Tim mentioned), and the beards in the band (well, at least 2 out of 4 of them had beards - that is quite bearded) had squirted a lot of sweat. The band passed the rocking part of the show, performing many of the most known songs. Then they entered the slower, calmer part, or (what Tim said) the show. The point of return to rock, like '...this was the moody portion, now it is rock'n'roll'. The band also played "Two Kids" and "Sister Evangeline" (off Leave Ruin), the latter out in the 'moody part' of the gig. The songs after the calm mood presented songs like "Shut In", "Same Emotions" and "Plymouth". Tim is way cool, but at the same time he is moody and so is his music. But, mind you, he is as authentic as can be, and he is true to the soul of a rock song. When the perfect Sunday night aimed for its end, accompanied by Strand of Oaks and their perfect soundtrack to a shaky, trembly night. I might/should have recalled all (or a few more, in detail) of the songs, they played that night, I could not, or cannot do so. Tim and his backing band were closing their set with "Wait For Love", and the quartet left the stage with a 'goodbye, thank you'. Then Showalter (him only) returned, with his guitar, presenting a cover song -- one of his favourite songs: Bruce Springsteen's "Used Cars" (from the countrified and low-voiced 1982 album, Nebraska). Tim doing a low-toned Springsteen chased away the sceptic in me. I was not (or are/were not) sceptical to Strand of Oaks, but... covering a Springsteen song is not my most pleasant dream. Showalter turned me (not that I've been a Springsteen fan), and he made me realise that Bruce is a competent and frank songwriter.

This same thing goes for Tim Showalter: He is a truly frank and highly competent songwriter, who went through his present live catalogue with pride and good humour. When I get to transcribe my interview, I can present some more of Strand of Oaks, and Tim's life as an artist... his life on the road. Like it can be seen like, somehow, me portraying Tim Showalter. Until then, goodbye and thank you to Tim and his cohorts.

Copyright © 2014 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Strand of Oaks articles/reviews: HEAL, Radio Kids.

© 2014 Luna Kafé