Reviewed by: Brian Roser
It’s amazing the effect that pain can have on art. Would Shakespeare’s Hamlet have been as masterful if he had not lost his son, Hamnet a few years before? Could Dylan Thomas have written his masterpiece “Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night” if it were not for the terminal illness of his father?
This album, and the eponymous song “Heal” in particular, is a catharsis. Timothy Showalter wrote this music from a place of pain. He was on tour and away from home. His marriage was dissolving and he suffered from a crisis of identity, both personally and professionally when he couldn’t take any more. He returned home and purged his demons through music. It shows. This album comes from the heart and soul. The lyrics tell of his process of climbing out of depression.
“Take it even further back to darker times
When I drank too much and I took too much
I lied to all my friends about who I was
But can you listen to me now I’m all grown up”
Healing is not easy. It’s painful and emotionally draining, but it is also necessary. Don’t get me wrong, there is more here than just a therapy session. The opening song describes how he first fell in love with music and the lengthy “JM” is a tribute to the late Jason Molina. This album is also one of the few times where the guitar dissonance is earned. It is the scream that rips from your throat when the tears just aren’t enough. You can hear the sincerity in every note, even the discordant ones.
This is music. This is art.