Strand Of Oaks (real name Timothy Showalter) called “Ruby,” off his upcoming record Eraserland, “the happiest song [he’s] ever written.” That sunny energy is infectious, hitting everyone who listens to the song with a dose of serotonin and an optimistic perspective.
Showalter recorded Eraserland with an all-star band, including all the non-Jim James members of My Morning Jacket and country-folk superstars Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires. Showalter brought all those guys out for his performance of “Ruby” on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. The stage packed with a half-dozen of the greatest musicians working in the genre today, the performance is unforgettable.
Despite the very large, very famous crowd onstage, Showalter doesn’t get lost. He’s got as much charisma as he does talent (a lot!), smiling through the song’s optimistic lyrics and up-beat melody. He also manages to make the sterility of a late-night performance, with dozens of camera shoved in the performers’ faces and the audience on mute, seem warm and intimate. Showalter lights up any stage he performs on, regardless of the star power of the folks backing him up.
Strand Of Oaks’ Eraserland is out on March 22 via Dead Oceans. Pre-order the album here, and watch the performance of “Ruby” on Colbert above.