Singer/Songwriter Tim Showalter (aka Strand of Oaks) had one last warm weekend home before he was off again, doing what he does best — touring the world relentlessly since the release of his 2014 breakout album, “Heal.” “I feel as if I just put my feet up,” says Showalter about being at home after a never-ending tour that slowed long enough for him to record two versions of his brand new album “Hard Love.” “The first take just wasn’t ready,” he says. As depth-defying and mournfully emotional as “Heal” is, “Hard Love” finds Showalter rocking out and battling sadness again, but winning handily while enjoying his marriage and cherishing the relationship with a brother he nearly lost. On March 10, he returns home for a gig at Union Transfer before hitting the road again.
Knowing and loving your first three primarily acoustic recordings, what do you say to critics and listeners who only got to you with “Heal?”
I am my own worst critic, so by the time my record is done it is the past, you know? I was kind-of okay with people getting to me through “Heal” because it did seem like a debut as it sounded so radically different than my first three albums. I probably should have just changed the band’s name.
You really went through the new experience of a press mill. Everyone wanted to talk to you.
I was grateful, and of course there’s usually only one answer to each question, but I was starting to feel as if I should make up some imaginary new answers.
Where does that older material sit in your head as you rarely play any of it?
It was all so introspective and each of their own little world that is difficult putting them into my new sound. I am trying however with this tour, during sound-checks for instance. I would love to be like My Morning Jacket, who we toured with, who can seamlessly pull out anything from their back catalog and make it seem like new. Oddly enough, it was when I had one eight-day break during those shows with MMJ that I recorded the first version of “Hard Love.”