Strand of Oaks, The Lexington, gig review: Timothy Showalter sings with painful honesty

At times his songs about his past border on nostalgic obsession

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The Independent Culture

‘Goshen ’97’, named after Timothy Showalter’s hometown in Indiana, is filled with intricate details of being a kid trying to write music for the first time.

Those euphoric choruses are deceptive: Showalter is almost painfully honest, singing about his past with a nostalgia that borders on obsession.

This is the mood that runs throughout his performance as Strand of Oaks at The Lexington. ‘JM’ – Showalter’s tribute to Jason Molina – lifts into a devastating riff that conveys all of his own regret in its stark notes.

Although Showalter’s music is rooted in folk-rock, synth-heavy tracks like ‘Same Emotions’ suggest that his 2014 LP HEAL is an attempt to recreate the sounds of his youth as a musical memoir: with hints of pre-grunge and occasional shredding thrown in for good measure.

He opens up to his audience – made up almost entirely of men – as he recounts details of his childhood, his wife’s affair, and his struggles with himself in a John Grant-esque confessional.

As the encore draws to a finish, Showalter throws himself off-stage and into the arms of the first men who catch him, tumbling through the crowd. ‘Thank you so much,’ he says to each one. ‘Thank you.’