Strand of Oaks Performs at Redwood Art Space

Bill Thomas, Assistant News Editor

Timothy Showalter remembers many a night when he would travel up Giant’s Despair, the infamous mountain road in Laurel Run, with a six-pack in tow. It was nights like those, with a belly full of beer and a panoramic view of the Wyoming Valley, which inspired much of the music Showalter has created with his band Strand of Oaks.

“I’ve always loved the Wyoming Valley,” Showalter said. “I see it almost as a mystical Middle-Earth place. I hope other people do, too. If they don’t, they’re missing out.”

Though he moved from Wilkes-Barre to Philadelphia in 2009 to support of his wife’s developing career, Showalter said there’s not a day that goes by when he doesn’t miss his former hometown, and he tries to come back whenever he can. True to his word, Showalter will return to NEPA on Friday, Oct. 14 for a concert with Strand of Oaks at Wilkes-Barre’s Redwood Art Space, a venue he’s no stranger to.

“I played the first show that Redwood put on last year,” Showalter reminisced. “I believe in that venue and I believe in what (its organizers) are doing there. It means a lot to me to play there and have my friends and family come out to be there.”

Showalter’s affinity for NEPA, Wilkes-Barre especially, is well-documented. Aside from his spending several formative years living there and being a 2005 Wilkes University graduate, Showalter’s albums are also littered with references to the Sterling Hotel, the Susquehanna River and, yes, Giant’s Despair.

“I have difficulty explaining why,” admitted Showalter. “I moved there from Indiana when I was 20 years old. I became a man there, met my wife there, worked at a professional job, met some of my best friends and had a lot of cathartic experiences there. … You don’t get to choose where you’re born, but I chose to live in Wilkes-Barre.”

Tickets for the all-ages concert are $10. The event starts at 7 p.m. and also features the bands These Elk Forever, Halfling and Traffic Nightmare. For more information, visit