In support of his excellent new album Eraserland, Timothy Showalter bought the latest live incarnation of Strand of Oaks to the intimate setting of The Mothlight in Asheville, North Carolina on Saturday, September 7th.
His tourmates and indeed bandmates on this tour are Los Angeles band Apex Manor, whose perfectly crafted songmanship were a nice opener for the evening. Apex Manor is essentially Ross Flourney, whose new album Heartbreak City was recently released on Merge Records. That album is a loud and fuzzy beast bringing to mind Dinosaur Jr and even a little My Bloody Valentine, and in the live setting Ross and his band did a nice job of replicating the music.
By the time Timothy plugged in and kicked off the show with Eraserland’s opener “Weird Ways”, the Asheville crowd was his for the taking. Utilizing most of My Morning Jacket to make that album invariably brings comparisons to Kentucky’s own, but Timothy’s songs are a different animal, more intimate, personal, and dare I say heartfelt, no less so than on the simply gorgeous lull of the song “Keys”, which had the audience swaying and the couples holding each other a little tighter.
Things get turned up to 11 with the psych rock freakout of “Hyperspace Blues”, which jammed hard and with feeling, his band stretching their legs with a feedback-drenched wall of sound. His glorious ode to recovery “Shut In” sounded rich pouring off the venue’s tiny stage.
After an abandoned solo reading of 2015 album title track “Heal”, he switched to Bruce Springsteen’s “Used Cars” – “when in doubt play some Bruce”. Timothy’s tribute to the dearly departed Jason Molina started delicately but burned quickly and with great intent towards an epic finale featuring stunning guitar work from Ross and Timothy.
Almost the whole venue lined up at the merch table for selfies, hugs and high fives afterward, with Timothy patiently meeting every one of them and thanking them for coming out. His songs touch you where it counts and on this night Asheville felt them.