the first time strand of oaks’ “end in flames,” i was smitten. then there’s the rest of timothy showalter’s debut, leave ruin, to say it moved me in ways most records dont, is an understatement. it was beautiful and honest, something my life needed 5 years ago, and well it still does. the next year brought me, pope killdragon, which was definitely a darker departure, at least musically, but timothy’s cut to the bone lyrics remained, and again, i found solace in them. i dont really care to know the backstory of songs, cause i make up my own interpretations, and ill be damned if whatever timothy was going through, at that time, didnt fit whatever i was dealing with at that my own personal juncture. this cycle continues with dark shores… so i wont beat a dead horse. the past 5 years havent been particularly easy for me, ive prob drank too much, didnt pay enough attention to my family, had my anxiety rule my world, etc… granted i wasnt an asshole, but i couldve been a much better person than i was, and i suspect timothy was in the same boat. its now 2014, in case you didnt know, and my life is better, still struggling, but better, and after listening to heal for about the 100th time, i can only gather timothy is in a better place too, and we as listeners/fans can only be thankful for that. heal is nothing like any of his previous 3, its loud as hell and glorious as shit. j mascis plays the geetar on the opener, “goshen 97,” for crying out loud! lyrically, he’s just as honest, just as beautiful, and i thank the world for artists like timothy showalter. his ode to jason molina, “jm,” is probably the best tribute i have heard, btw….