Strand of Oaks put on an excellent show at the Mothlight in Asheville supporting this year’s album Eraserland (which I highly recommend).
The night started with openers Apex Manor, who I was totally unfamiliar with but was impressed by. They seemed to land somewhere between Wilco and The War On Drugs, not a bad place to be. We got to see more of them too because all three musicians playing for Apex Manor also played in Strand of Oaks.
Strand of Oaks is really just one person, Timothy Showalter. This was my fourth time seeing him and I think he’s had a different backing band each time. This time around he had a good problem to solve. Eraserland is his best album to date in my opinion, and one reason for that might be that his backing band on the studio recording was My Morning Jacket (minus singer Jim James). This meant he had to have a good band with him for this tour and he definitely did. Adding himself and a keyboardist to the Apex Manor set up he played a set centered around Eraserland with some highlights from 2014’s Heal and 2017’s Hard Love throw in for good measure.
This included throwing out his most well know song Goshen ’97 third. The faithful renditions of songs were good but the band really shined on the extended versions of songs like Ruby, JM, Rest of It, and most especially the set closer Forever Chords.
At one point he started playing the song Heal solo and stopped a couple of times, saying his guitar didn’t sound right before switching to a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Used Cars. This might have been planned though, as when the band returned he cheesily joked that something was still wrong and that he had the blues, before playing the song Hyperspace Blues.
After Rest of It, they had literally the shortest fake encore break I’ve ever seen. They were gone about 15 seconds before returning to play Forever Chords, a song I was hoping for all night and not expecting anymore since they hadn’t played Radio Kids the single from Hard Love.
Strand of Oaks is another band I feel is really under rated and I’m surprised they are still playing places as small as the Mothlight but it makes for a great show being that close to a band this good.