STRAND OF OAKS – ” Eraserland “

Posted: February 13, 2019 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , ,

Kevin Ratterman and I first met when his incredible band Twin Limb opened for us on tour. Instant friendship. But the real kicker came about a week into tour and I asked him about previous bands he’d been in. He said a few and then mentioned off the cuff that he was the drummer of Elliot. My mind was completely blown. Not only did I love the music but it was at an Elliot show where I first saw Sue. At Kevin’s concert, 15 years ago I saw who was going to be the love of my life. If that doesn’t align the starts than nothing will. From there we talked music and recording and I just continued to discover how talented Kevin was in the studio. So when everything came together to make Eraserland, it was Kevin who truly brought it all together. We would get up every morning and have coffee and map out our day, then work about 14 hours, then after everyone would leave we stay up till about four in the morning just talking, laughing, planning and just really growing so close as friends. I’ve spent a lot time in the studio but I’ve never seen someone work harder but somehow float on air and make everyone involved feels so relaxed and inspired. I think everyone would agree, that Kevin was the boss, in the best of ways. When we would finish a live take all together (sometimes a nine minute song), there would be a stillness in the air of all us waiting to hear over the headphones if we got the take. That 15 seconds felt like a lifetime, especially when Kev would casually say “Let’s get another one”. Partnerships like this don’t come around often, or maybe ever, and for the first time in my life I was smart enough to recognize that and appreciate every second I got to spend with Kevin, and be around his magic.

Eraserland is the first record I’ve ever written where the majority of the songs started with a bass part. I needed to switch a lot of stuff up in my life and writing songs on a different instrument really proved beneficial. I feel like Oaks was becoming a “shred” band and at the time I wanted to be as far from that as possible. If you build songs from a bass line you start from an extremley centered and structured place, and that is exactly what my chaotic mind needed. Long story but all that work was then put into the hands of Tom Blankenship. Hanging with Tom was like going on a spiritual retreat so much thoughtfulness, kindness, observation, listening or to put it simply the ingredients that make a PERFECT bass player. When we recorded Eraserland, we tracked all the parts live together. Even with my songs which definitely aren’t prog anthems, it can be tough to get a complete take out of five individuals. But Tom NEVER messed up, I’m serious, NEVER messed up. Just quietly in the zone and constantly coming up with something fresh that somehow worked in the arrangement even better than his last take. It was amazing to talk with everyone and quickly find out that this is just Tom, he is the rock that holds everything together.




“Weird Ways” off Strand of Oaks’s new album “Eraserland” out March 22nd on Dead Oceans

This record wasn’t supposed to be here. I had thought for a moment Strand of Oaks might be over until a text from my friend, Carl Broemel, changed all that. Unbeknownst to me, four members of My Morning Jacket and Kevin Ratterman booked studio time to record songs I didn’t think I’d ever write. But they believed I could and pulled me back from the brink. At last, the songs came–and quickly morphed into everything I’ve ever worked toward as this band. These ten songs are about existing and continuing on, a testament to the hope that even if we feel like we are disappearing, there is that glimmer of light. You may not come out the same person you started as, but that’s okay. I’m glad this record is here now for whoever chooses to find it. Welcome to Eraserland, where we all can start again. ~tim


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