Back in March, Tim Showalter released his sixth album as Strand Of Oaks, Eraserland. Recorded with the assistance of his friends in My Morning Jacket, Eraserland is of his strongest works yet, and ranked on our list of the best albums of 2019 so far. One of its key tracks sits as a centerpiece of the album, the funky, seemingly stream-of-consciousness “Moon Landing.” And, appropriately enough, Showalter has chosen today, the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, to share an alternate take of the song.
The original “Moon Landing” is a feverish rush. The new alternate take is a more restrained, acoustic-based reading that allows the lyrics to come through a bit clearer. In each version, Showalter touches on various aspects of his life, including the fact that he shares his birthday with Chris Cornell and the anniversary of the moon landing — being born on that day then becoming some unifying symbol for all the loose pieces visited throughout the song, the pieces that formed his identity.
Here’s what Showalter had to say about “Moon Landing,” and sharing this new meditative iteration on his birthday:
If Eraserland is a place, “Moon Landing” is the door to get there. There is no chorus or even riffs. It is a glossary to help define who I was when I wrote the record and help piece together all the loose ends. On record it is a career highlight for me probably because my only contribution was vocals. When it came time to play this live, it was bittersweet, missing Jason Isbell’s guitar, Carl’s sax, Kevin’s insane sonics, and really just everyone who was on that recording. It’s meant to be a document and not to be duplicated. I was trying to unlock the song, and I sat on my acoustic strumming three chords and found a totally different song. What I couldn’t recapture was the frenetic energy of studio production, but what I found was the emotional waterfall of lyrics that I honestly never paid a lot of attention to. Then the added weight of 50 years since the Moon Landing, 37 years since I was born, and the beautiful gift that I got to share my birthday with Chris Cornell. I feel like even the date of my birth sums up my life and musical career, the cosmic mixed with musical admiration. I hope you enjoy listening and do me a favor after you do put on “The Day I Tried to Live” and let it flow over you.
Check out the new version of “Moon Landing” below.
Happy birthday Tim!