State Street: Chuck Berry, Strand of Oaks, and Fuzjn

The Rock Legend Passes, plus New Music about Living On

Strand of Oaks' Tim Showalter likes to live and love hard. "It’s how I love my wife; it’s how I love my family, my friends, my passions. I don't do anything subtly," he said.
Courtesy Photo

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA: Chuck Berry has passed on, but if anything is left of our civilization by the end of this century, his music might be one of the few. His music now floats in space for eons on a golden record, waiting for extraterrestrial listenership. Hopefully, vinyl is making a resurgence in that corner of the galaxy, as it is in ours. After the previous year, which struck down many of the mightiest trees in the rock forest, that ecology has now lost some of its foundational roots; the year 2017 will no doubt see further reminders of the mortality of even the eternally young. But legacies live on, and even if Berry may no longer walk the earth, people will be rocking to his music so long as there are people to populate this place. Thanks for the good times, and for changing music forever.

LIVE FREE, LOVE HARD: Of course, for the many of us not yet crossing that finish line, there’s a whole lot of living left to do. The sturdy indie rock of Strand of Oaks, who play with Heather McEntire (of Mount Moriah) and classic rocker Jason Anderson at Velvet Jones (423 State St.) on Tuesday, March 28, at 8:30 p.m., show a frontman standing like an oak after many years of weathering too much hard living. “I have a new phrase called ‘Pick Your Party,’” said Strand of Oaks’ Timothy Showalter, who has a notorious enjoyment for the perks of the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle. “The universe sets up nights when it’s time to party and live in the moment; the problem I’ve had in the past was the party was every night, and that’s when it gets kind of depressing.”

He’s rid himself of the illusion that creativity needs constant conflict. “It’s that common artistic struggle I often face — unless there’s deep conflict or some kind of massive problem, the creativity can’t have integrity to it. But that’s not the case. There will still be those conflicts in my life, and I’m trying to feed off the joy a little bit more.” The title of his new album, Hard Love, is about loving and living intensely and passionately. “I don’t do anything subtly,” he said. “If you’re gonna miss, miss big. If you really go for something, you’re setting yourself up for the largest failure or the greatest of joys, and that’s what this record is.”

For those who like to party with a purpose, Strand of Oaks have partnered with Arcade Fire’s charity, Plus 1, so that $1 from every ticket sold will go to support Planned Parenthood.

ALL DAY, EVERY DAY: S.B. music producer Fuzjn is living each day to the fullest, and as far as musical legacies go, he’s already building quite the one. With his Project 365, he’s releasing a song a day, every day, for a full year on Spotify, iTunes, and other platforms. The largely new-age project offers easy-listening moods — some quite gorgeously produced, with other explorations in tropical house and even singer/songwriter-type pieces — in a multigenre effort to break molds and break records. Guinness World Records has its eye on the project; the producer said: “I’ll have more songs out than Eagles or Lil Wayne in one year.”

In some respects, it’s an exploration in breaking down business models and modes of recording. “The album in today’s day and age is not a physical form,” he said. “It’s a project that’s an ever-evolving art piece, an open-ended album of open-source material. I want to demystify the stigma that it’s hard to create and put it out there,” said the prolific producer. “I’ve done it on a shoestring budget, working relentlessly and working smart.”

CAMINO CIELO: In other musical reasons to savor the best of life, Spanish guitarist Chris Fossek is celebrating the release of his new album, Camino Cielo, at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore (1260 Channel Dr.) on Thursday, March 23, starting at 7 p.m. and featuring a specialty eponymous cocktail, plus wine and beer on tap. Sip, savor, and enjoy the experience of living.


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