Glass Oaks
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Glass Oaks

Lynchburg, Virginia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013

Lynchburg, Virginia, United States
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Indie




"Glass Oaks"

Last April the band Glass Oaks hit the music scene by releasing a video of their song “Middle of It”, which quickly sent them on their way to recording and releasing an EP.

Jon Smalt, Taylor Thompson and Ben Anspach decided to pursue music together a year and a half ago by moving into the same house in Lynchburg. Smalt plays the drums and sings backup vocals, Thompson plays the bass, and Anspach plays electric guitar.

The same day Thompson confirmed he would join Smalt and Anspach in Lynchburg, the band discovered its’ fourth member and lead singer Joel Kaiser.

There’s just this amazing synergy…we understand each other really well
Kaiser had recently finished recording his first record as a solo artist, but still needed a band to play with. That summer the four musicians teamed up and started playing Kaiser’s music.

Eventually the band began producing new material together, combining Kaiser’s solo sound with the sounds of Smalt, Thompson and Anspach. The result was a new, cool sound, different from their separate styles.

Their songwriting efforts are communal as all members contribute and feed off each other. The band members tend to feed off each other’s ideas. Smalt commented on the writing process of the band.

“There’s just this amazing synergy…we understand each other really well,” said Smalt.

Glass Oaks became the official band name on April 6. After posting the “Middle of It” video the band immediately created a Kickstarter to raise money for recording. By May Glass Oaks was recording their EP while still raising funds.

Since then the band has played many shows including favorites Jammin Java in Vienna, Virginia near Washington D.C., and fooBar in Nashville.

Glass Oaks is currently focused on writing new music and getting enough time in the practice room. Future plans include releasing a full album and moving to Nashville or Austin to pursue their music full-time.

Glass Oaks’ EP is available to download for free at The band’s music can also be found on iTunes, Amazon, or Spotify. - Flames Daily

"Crate-Digging: Glass Oaks – Glass Oaks EP"

“Suppose you’re thinkin’ about a plate of shrimp … suddenly somebody’ll say ‘plate,’ or ‘shrimp’ or ‘plate of shrimp’ out of the blue, no explanation!”

These famous words of Miller from Alex Cox’s Repo Man have resounded throughout the human heart since the dark, dark time of the early 1980s, and to me, it put a name to a phenomenon as strange and troubling as deja vu or missing socks: the “lattice of coincidence!” For the first time in your life, you discover the beauty of cheese fondue. Suddenly, within the next 24 hours, six unrelated people you know mention the word fondue under different circumstances. The nature of this “lattice of coincidence” will forever be uncertain, but it’s a comforting thing to know that I’m not the only person in the world who’s experienced it.

Does anyone remember that internet fad of EARLY 2013? Kick-goer, I think it was called? Well, anyway, purely by coincidence (…eh? eh?), I pledged ten dollars to a decent-looking music project by a band hailing from Lynchburg, Virginia, by the name of Glass Oaks. Had I thought to finish the video, I might’ve caught this sooner, but the bassist for the band, Taylor Thompson, is an old family friend and former high-school band-mate of my older brother, Paul (what’s up, Taylor? the beard is looking pretty Norse-god-like.). Well, after waiting a month or so and then downloading the early-release kickstarter EP, I listened to it earnestly. It was over too soon; five fairly short songs don’t give you a lot of time to soak it in. So, I re-started the EP and listened again. And again.

The debut recording from Glass Oaks is more than passably engaging. It may be a little on the lean side, but I’m happy they didn’t try to fill it out with throw-away songs that would’ve bogged down the experience. I’ve recently discovered how to use a miraculous device known only to the most masterful chefs—a “slow-cooker.” So, I’m going to compare the Glass Oaks record to something that’s been weighing heavily on my mind: pot roast. See, a good pot roast is made by taking essentially good ingredients, throwing them all together and letting them stew for a very long time on low heat. You throw in some potatoes and carrots, a few cloves of garlic, whatever. The point is, all these ingredients are left in nearly boiling water; slowly developing the perfect level of softness, soaking up the juices while fat melts off the meat, leaving it tender and succulent. Fat is essential to a good pot roast, you don’t want to make one with meat that’s too lean; the meat may be what we come to the table for, but the fat in which it’s stewed is what makes us stay past the first bite. It gives the meat flavor; style.

In a similar manner, Glass Oaks, is made up of a series of top-notch ingredients—excellent songwriting, great musicians, a sense of relaxed professionalism—which have simply been left to interact with one another until they finally came together in the perfect combination; like Shakespeare’s monkeys or some such. And as for the album itself; that is a perfect pot roast of an EP if I ever saw one! Each song is more meaty than the last, but none is so packed with substance that there’s not room for at least a little bit of stylistic flair; be it a great bass riff, a few impassioned shouts from the singer or a gut-busting guitar solo the likes of which Jack Black would be proud.

The opening track, “Middle of It,” is an excellent straight-up rock song, featuring a great guitar solo, and perfect tone from singer Joel Kaiser. It grabs you right from the beginning, with a fun guitar riff and a catchy beat that doesn’t let up for fear of losing the listener’s interest. It’s a very powerful note for a band to open its debut with, and sets a pretty high precedent for the next four songs.

Track #2, “Spirit Man,” is essentially the band’s way of telling us “Yeah, that was fun, but we’re not just a rock ‘n’ roll party band. We’ve got stuff to say.” I respect that. I really do, but “Spirit Man” is such an entertaining song that I can’t summon up the strength to care how heartfelt the lyrics are or how passionate Kaiser’s voice sounds. It’s just a really good song. It’s very summer-soundtrack-y too. Another good performance from Kaiser accompanied by a rhythm guitar, with a second guitar meandering in the background on a couple of pedals, just in case you get tired of listening to the main melody. It sounds very simple, but it’s just so well-executed.

Track #4, “One Word,” sounds like a song that might be passed around a campfire with some friends, led by one guy who kind of plays guitar. Not the lyrics maybe, but the music itself has the same sort of convivial existentialism that every teen has experienced while warming himself around hot flames on a cool summer night with a few good friends. “One Word” also contains what have become my favorite lyrics on the entire EP; very introspective and touching.

It’s only five tracks long, but each song on the Glass Oaks EP is incredibly strong, showing an impressive level of discernment from the band. The musical style is nothing new, and they don’t even bother attempting any sort of indie-rock gimmickry or genre-fusion; they take a gamble on their strength as musicians and songwriters, and in my opinion they made the right decision. No frills, no distractions, just really well-executed music from a very promising new band (thanks, kickstarter!). There’s plenty of meat in here, and plenty of fat to chew for flavor, but they left out all the bones, serving up a beautiful, entertaining and thoroughly palatable experience. The EP is currently available for free download (with an optional donation button you can feel free to exercise at your discretion). Please, share and enjoy. - Critical Masses Media

"Lynchburg quartet Glass Oaks salutes generations of rock"

Brent Wells
After a whirlwind tour in the mid-1960s that redefined his career, folk pioneer Bob Dylan invited an obscure group of Canadian musicians who were later dubbed The Band to hang with him in New York State's rustic town of Woodstock and record what became known as the legendary "Basement Tapes."
This idea of lounging around a house together — staying up until the wee hours of the morning writing music and fleshing out material for a new album — is precisely what Lynchburg’s Glass Oaks envisioned for themselves when they opted to rent a place a year ago and began the fastidious task of crafting a collection of tracks for their first EP.
"We wanted to be like The Band was to Bob Dylan," drummer Jon Smalt, 23, says of his outfit's ambitious plans. "We wanted this house to be a place where we could work with songwriters."
Right around the time Smalt, guitarist Ben Anspach and bassist Taylor Thompson, both 24, had come to that decision, Thompson went out and bought a sound system for the basement.
With the necessary gear wired and ready to go, all they were lacking was one very important element: a repertoire. In their case, this crucial piece of the puzzle came in the form of 21-year-old singer/songwriter Joel Kaiser a couple of days later.
He'd just completed work on his own LP and needed a few musicians to help back him up, which solidified the serendipitous moment as one the group won't soon forget.
"I immediately called Taylor up and I was like, 'Dude, I don't know what's happening, but I just ran into Joel,'" says Smalt, who'll perform alongside his bandmates at Rivermont Pizza on Saturday. "'Do you remember him?' Taylor said, 'Yea, I remember Joel. Yeah, we played with him a while ago.' Within a week, we decided that we were gonna go for it."
They spent the last several months fashioning their sound into an eclectic mix of classic rock homages, alt-country sing-a-longs and guitar-driven melodies that bring to mind early Radiohead, and are now gearing up for a string of shows in Lynchburg over the next few weeks.
"Middle of It," a Doobie Brothers-inspired number, evolved out of Kaiser's desire to pen a searing guitar riff that belied his typical approach to songwriting, which consisted of some "wacky" chords and a seed of lyrical inspiration.
The band took just a portion of what Kaiser had worked up and turned it into a nearly six-and-a-half minute infectious jam that blends the churning fury of 1970s psychedelia and the rugged soul of vintage R&B.
It's the type of arrangement that suggests that, in just the short amount of time they've been playing together, the boys in Glass Oaks are fearless improvisers who take their cues from the freewheeling refrains of the Woodstock generation.
"Something that's kind of surprised us all about that song is that a lot of the people who have been complimenting it are people at least 45 years old," Anspach says with a laugh. "We never planned that."
Regardless of what demographic ultimately responds to their music, the quartet plans to head into the studio next month to record their debut CD.
The disc also will include "Pray," one of the first songs collectively written by the group, which Smalt describes as a pivotal time in Glass Oaks' existence because it signified a transition from simply covering Kaiser's compositions to the more unified, creative process they’ve embarked on as of late.
"That was like the song we walked away from and were like, 'Alright. We can do something with this band,'" Smalt says. "We were sitting in that basement and explosions were going off. We were just looking at each other like, 'What did we just do?' It was so exciting."
"Pray" builds out of the bridge into an impassioned crescendo, complete with a thumping bass line, pounding drums and swirling guitar fuzz, characteristics that could assure Glass Oaks a spot in the pantheon of indie rock’s D.I.Y. elite.
They just have to figure out how to capture that raw magic on their forthcoming EP.
"The difficulty of any band is taking those moments where the hair is standing up on the back of your neck and translating that to a little disc that someone is going to pop in their car," Smalt says. "I think that's probably our main goal right now." - The Burg


Still working on that hot first release.



Forged in Lynchburg, Virginia, Glass Oaks is four musicians devoted to authentic and creative expression of the human experience, which is both permanent like an oak and fragile like glass. Influenced by diverse musical backgrounds, which range from Gospel to Alt-Country, their music is united by bold experimentation and eclectic songwriting. These elements, they believe, create a unique composition, which one reviewer describes as a mixture of Indie Rock and Americana with the “churning fury of 1970s psychedelia and the rugged soul of vintage R&B.” They are four guys who live according to one very rooted principle—love for each other and love for music. They know that as long as they stay true to these principles they have already achieved success.

Band Members