Folk singers are known for revealing themselves in their songs. Yet Tim Showalter, who records as Strand of Oaks, hid his feelings behind made-up stories for most of his career playing acoustic music. On his breakthrough album, "HEAL," Showalter lets everything out, making the loud rock record he always dreamed of while singing frankly about the near collapse of his marriage. amNewYork talked with him.
How did "HEAL" come together?
A boiling point was reached of just not accepting what was really happening in my life and not dealing with things I should have. That paired with touring for so long allowed me to distract myself from all the problems in my life: my marriage, how I felt about myself, my music and my art. It boiled over. Luckily, I didn't lose my mind; I wrote a record. It could have gone either way just as easily.
What did your wife say when you played it for her?
She's inherently the most supportive person I have in my life. She was very very sad to have to talk about and really deal with these things. But she was super-pumped because she's really sick of folk music and wanted me to play louder guitars.
Are you surprised by the public's reaction?
I had a feeling people would like it, but not this much. This many people reacting to songs about my life; hopefully they're finding parallels. Or they just like to turn it up. They don't have to be sappy bastards like me and think about the lyrics. You can go slam beers in the garage and listen to the songs.
What do you hope people take away from the album?
I hope they realize it's not hopeless. I want them to end with their fists in the air instead of their head in their hands sobbing. I want them to be out of seats and psyched. ? I feel like Tony Robbins right now (laughs). I'm like the metal version of Tony Robbins.
Strand of Oaks is at Rough Trade NYC Monday night at 8 p.m., 64 N. Ninth St., Williamsburg, $12.