Anyone that’s followed the career of Timothy Showalter and his Strand Of Oaks project knows that the music tends to mirror what is happening in his life. His breakthrough album, Heal, came at a time where Showalter experienced a near-death and battled his addictions, while the follow-up, Hard Love, was a picture of an artist experiencing the most successful run of his career. Now comes Eraserland, an album that finds Showalter nearly giving up on his music career, only to be helped by the members of My Morning Jacket to rediscover his artistic inspiration. And the advance singles, first “Weird Ways” and now “Ruby,” show that this could be a career-defining moment.
“Ruby” sounds like it could easily be an MMJ song, featuring warm guitar tones and an infectious, Southern rock-influenced melody. It’s as confident and assured as anything Showalter has ever written, with the pain the imbues much of his work far from sight. Showalter supports this idea in a statement about the song:
“Ruby is the happiest song I’ve ever written. Ruby isn’t a person, rather the concept of time and memory and how with every passing year it becomes non linear. In the past I would’ve dismissed such unabashedly pure optimism, but I’ve been through a lot and I’ve learned to appreciate those rare moments of light. This past year my little brother Jon spent countless hours trying to convert my family’s collection of home movies. Somehow my dad in 1988 got a camera with ‘Buick Points’ and then proceeded to have a side career as world-class cinematographer.””
Check out the video for “Ruby,” which includes these family videos, above. Eraserland is out on March 22 via Dead Oceans.