It’s probably easier to explain what Strand Of Oaks’ latest project Harder Love isn’t than to definitively describe what it is. It’s not meant to replace Hard Love, the record Oaks dropped in 2017. It’s not a scraps collection or a re-imagination of that previous effort either. It’s an album, yes, but it’s not fully finished either. Hell, the tracks themselves weren’t even mixed and mastered. Harder Love wasn’t even Oaks’ mastermind Timothy Showalter’s idea. His label came to him several months back and asked whether he’d like to re-package a batch of songs he recorded back in 2015 and get them out into the hands of the people. “It took like, two emails,” he said.
Outside of this interview, and a few social media postings, he’s done almost nothing to promote it. That didn’t stop the vinyl print from selling out almost immediately. Still, for as nonchalant as he was about the process of releasing Harder Love, it’s pretty obvious that simple act of putting it out has freed up a lot of emotional baggage that Showalter has been carrying around over the past year. The relief in his voice throughout our nearly two-hour chat, which he calls a “Harder Love exit interview,” is palpable. The future is bright.