Strand of Oaks opens up with new single "Keys" - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Strand of Oaks| photo by Alysse Gafkajen | courtesy of the artist

Strand of Oaks‘ frontman Timothy Showalter has released another single off his upcoming album Eraserland this week. The single is called “Key” and is dedicated to his wife, Sue. Showalter says that he has struggled to “properly write” about the love he has for Sue but he endeavors to do just that in this poignant new track.

Following the release of two other singles from the album, “Weird Ways” and “Ruby”, “Keys” is markedly stripped back. It opens with echoing guitar, electric organ, bass, and drums that take a moment to lock into strict time. The whole song feels akin to walking the train tracks or staring out a cab window while contemplating one’s life until this point. Showalter says it best with his lyric: “Then the train pulls up / And there you are / The reason why I write my songs.” “Keys” is a tribute to enduring love, the kind that sticks by you during the tough times and gains perspective through the years.

On Facebook, Showalter writes: “But ‘Keys’ is a song about the future and realizing with more years the aspects of life that truly matter and what seems so important in the moment just slips into dust. If you listen to the second chorus you will hear the best and only take we could find where both me and my producer Kevin could get through without tears. ‘I’ll buy us a trailer down in the Keys,’ may be the most honest and true realization I’ve ever expressed to my love. I truly hope anyone listening is loved by someone like I have.”

He’s right. If you listen closely, you can hear his voice warble on the first line of the second chorus but it feels only right on an exposed song like this. With this track, it feels as if Showalter has put the folk back in folk-rock and built a song that is musically robust but still manages to open its heart to the audience.

“Keys” ends with one minute and thirty second instrumental section. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than surely Strand of Oaks’ instrumental break is worth a million. The reverberating guitar (very reminiscent of Mazzy Star’s classic “Fade Into You”) melts into the click of the high hat while the bass plucks underneath. In its final moments, the sounds swirl together and create a serene, polyphonic cloud. This is the kind of song that we all hope someone will write about us one day. It’s not the brassy declaration of passion or the smooth jams of desire, but a vulnerable portrait of love and loving.

Check out Strand of Oaks’ new single, “Keys, below. The band headlines Union Transfer on Friday, May 10th. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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