Music Reviews
The Oaks

The Oaks

Our Fathers & the Things They Left Behind

Rising Oak

In the midst of a controversial war in the Middle East, a musician in Orlando packed up his belongings and shipped off to the mountains of central Afghanistan. Living amongst newly returned Afghan refugees, Ryan Costello worked as part of the humanitarian organization, Global Hope Network. He learned Farsi, taught agriculture and nutrition development – all the while the seeds of a new musical adventure were being planted.

Meanwhile, back home in Florida, his writing partner Matthew Antolick was finishing up a Master’s degree in Environmental Ethics and teaching undergrads philosophy. When Costello returned to the States after two years overseas, he brought with him the experiences and influences of that life-altering experience in the form of melodies and words.

The Oaks have produced a uniquely moving debut, Our Fathers & the Things They Left Behind, that is reminiscent of the ’60s folk songs of Simon & Garfunkel, but updated for a generation living in the midst of a new Vietnam. The Middle Eastern vibes play themselves out in the form of mandolins, the marimba, vibraphones and bell sounds.

That’s not to say The Oaks are just another folky protest band. Layered on top of the folk foundation are layers of textured atmosphere a la Radiohead, or more accurately, The Album Leaf. What’s really special about this band is their commitment to their cause, “to inspiring us to wake up – to introspect and to look with new eyes at how we can change the world around us.” Putting their money where their mouth is, 50% of the profits from every album sold will go directly to benefit widows and recently-returned refugees in the mountains of Afghanistan. The album can be purchased through the band’s website.

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