Strand of Oaks Takes Us on a Journey Through Miracle Focus

Music Features Strand of Oaks
Strand of Oaks Takes Us on a Journey Through Miracle Focus

Tim Showalter is in a different place now, and his new Strand of Oaks record, Miracle Focus, shows exactly why. The Indiana-born, Austin native’s latest finds is full of introspection and spiritual transformation. Gone, at least for now, are the cathartic, grieving reckonings of old—as Showalter’s focus has been lent to bold, celebratory, transcendent and meditative lyricism wrapped up with joyous, vibrant soundscapes. Miracle Focus is the best Strand of Oaks album yet, pulling influence from musicians like Alice Coltrane and the Beastie Boys.

“Every moment on Miracle Focus is a piece of the architecture that fits together to form a temple of peace in my life. Acceptance of who you are, gratitude of being part of a connected universe, and ultimately I hope it creates one hell of a dance party,” Showalter says of the record. Upon Miracle Focus‘ release yesterday, we asked Showalter to break down every track from the album. He kindly indulged us, and you can read it all below. Tune in, listen to the album as you go and enjoy.

“More You”

Imagine if you will…The Miracle Focus orchestra getting tuned up and the curtains are drawn revealing the mission statement of the record, “A little more you, a little less me,” relinquishing the ego, embracing everything, giving into love. This record is very rhythm based, and I wanted it to begin in a warm and embracing way. Almost like a moment to stretch before you run the marathon. The entire song was written in one take, lyrics and everything. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to channeling something greater than me.

“Communication”

“Focus in the moment, in a peaceful way”…and so begins the dance. My intention for the album was attempting to translate moments of bliss into the audio form. Finding that liberation through FUN, through movement, through nostalgia, taking one step past experiential living and finding that peaceful place beyond. I wanted to make Communication sound like the type of song I called into a radio station and requested in 1990. My creative partner Kevin Ratterman played drums on the record and I feel like this is a shining achievement of his talents. I definitely feel like Miracle Focus is a “drummers” record.

“Ananda”

Over the course of the past few years I was introduced to the music and life of Alice Coltrane. It was the first time in a circumstance/substance I was ever provided a gateway to the divine connection of being. That place of universal bliss (ananda). What I didn’t anticipate was how deeply sensual meditative practicing is. With all of Miracle Focus there is an intrinsic connection between the sensual and connection with a divine energy. Ananda could just as easily be a celebration of passion for my wife or aligning my body through yoga. With the proper intention they live in the exact place. When you begin to acknowledge that you are a result of the miraculous art of creation and allow peace in your life, it’s pretty amazing how sexy it gets!!!!

It’s okay to be quiet, to really feel it
Just to sit and listen, maybe you can hear it

“Future Temple”

Perhaps the greatest source of influence for Miracle Focus came from painting/painters. Hilma af Klint’s monumental work felt like a constant friend while making this record. My own painting is very informed by Klint’s concept of the temple. What we build, our purpose, fortifying yourself in love and creation. After all this brief moment of existence and the body we are placed in is just a temple to hold to beauty of consciousness. I wanted the lyrics of this song to be a beacon for other seekers to find. It’s incredible to put out your intentions and find so many tuned into the same station. Unified under the beat, moving forward together. I hope this song in a small way can provide that.

Take your time, building the temple

“Party at Monster Lake”

“Meet me in that special place.” This song is a strong follower of the “island of misfit toys” theory. It’s so easy to be lonely in this world, I’ve struggled with it my whole life. Party at Monster Lake is for all us misfit toys. Never knew quite where to fit in or wondering how the hell we landed in this body, this point in time, families, identity blah blah blah. I was so blessed by friendship over the course of this record. Truly embracing the love of others and the growth you find through collective support. So many nights spent just getting turned on to new music, new ideas, the sheer wonder of human connection. All are welcome at Monster Lake! Let’s party!!!!

“Switched On”

A recurring theme of Miracle Focus could be referred to as post-identity. The weight of experience gets so heavy as each year passes. It’s incredibly important to find resolution with the accumulation of experience/trauma but at a certain point in my life I just needed to acknowledge the good and bad, embrace it with love, and melt away into the unity of everything. I always thought in order for the journey to be relevant it must be complicated. What a relief it was to discover how it’s just simply being.

LETS GIVE IT UP FOR FASCINATION!!!!!

“Navigator”

Fist up in the air, riding Falcor into the sunset. Forget the rules, amalgamate whatever you need to open the gateway. Collect your joy and filter out the fear. The inevitability that this time we have is finite. It’s not a race you’re going to win. My dear Kevin started this entire Miracle Focus journey by simply stating, “Meditation is just preparation for death.” The relief I felt in my entire being hearing this was life changing. Navigator is an immense song sonically but lyrically I tried my best to simply transcribe my approach to meditation. I truly hope those listening might find their own gateway to bliss. OM SHANTI!!!!

Calm, power down
Hold less tight
Remove the Story
And you don’t gotta be anybody

“Ascend You”

For nearly two years I wasn’t Strand of Oaks. I just decided that life is short and I gave a huge portion of my life into that identity. In that time period I became a painter and an actor. Something I always wanted to do but for some reason thought it was unreachable. The delicious dichotomy between the solitude of painting for days in my garage and then flying out to LA to play a villainous biker on TV was one of the most thrilling periods of my life. Both provided me liberation from my set narrative. I’m well aware of the unique opportunity I was given but at the same time it was an extremely simple metaphor to life. I wrote Ascend You right when I got back from my first time filming. Overwhelmed with a reenergized spirit and after purging so much of myself into my paintings I felt completely new and ready to follow wherever the music would take me. LET’S DANCE!!!

“Fantasy Wranglers”

Bliss is a scaleable concept. I have had moments where I have been connected to what felt like the brain of the universe. I could follow the synapses and connect with everything. Overwhelmingly cathartic moments. But I have also found just as much joy preparing dinner with my wife and watching TV on the couch together. They are all the same. I absolutely adore this song. Fantasy Wranglers is celebration of growing into a domestically cosmic person. The joy and sublime feeling of comfort in yourself and whoever you surround yourself with.

If you do good things, I hope it comes back to you

“Miracle Focus”

The final credits rolling! You’re on a jet ski, riding on a neon comet, jamming through the universe. That’s how I hope people hear this song. Living your life like a painting. “Sharpen your colors, you’re always removing.” The miracles I refer to aren’t asking the universe for anything, it’s just acknowledging and celebrating this complex beautiful moment that we all get to share. It will be gone, it will reemerge as something new, that will be gone, repeat….repeat…repeat. This eternal cycle. My most sincere hope is that whoever listens might through sonic osmosis experience a similar joy.

MIRACLE FOCUS IT’S ALL JUST AMAZING

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