Strand of Oaks is Timothy Showalter, an Indiana Mennonite turned Pennsylvania Hebrew Dayschool teacher who even drives the school bus for extra cash (and has sing-alongs with the pupils as they ease on down the road). It's like a scene from "Behind the Music" if the weed-soaked Tom Petty was your busdriver, and in this case the metaphors, spread throughout nine tracks, are to be taken quite literally.
Leave Ruin is Strand of Oaks' hometown deathbed-confession hymnal, the soundtrack of an Exodus. It's been back roads and parenthetical side streets for Showalter since he left his ruin of small town America. As a Hoosier transplant, he landed in the fertile musical soil of Northeastern Pennsylvania with a few key twists of fate that would turn his tragedy into trajectory.
While escaping a relationship gone worse, Showalter returned home to a house burned down, leaving all of his earthly possessions charred in flames. Spending nights in downtown hotels and on park benches with a borrowed guitar, he began to face the proverbial demons. Like any good roller coaster ride there came an upside, as inspiration grew like weeds within the rubble; songs led to shows, which led to tours of the US and UK with Jason Anderson and Kimya Dawson. Leave Ruin took shape shortly thereafter while touring and collaborating with Lou Rogai (Lewis & Clarke).
Taking cues from such luminaries as Neil Young (On the Beach era) and a burgeoning Springsteen, Showalter extends his musical gesture and searches to find modesty in the midst of confusion, addressing insecurities and settling existential debt with a simple and beautiful delivery. The personification of a Midwestern Grandfather's advice, his songs smack with hard truth and poignant severity, from child-like naivete to heart worn wisdom... sparse guitar, hammond, rhodes and wooden instruments support an atmosphere that is tender and raw, at times uncomfortable, shockingly candid, and unforgettable.