The latest album from XPN favorites Strand of Oaks is centered around connection and joy, even when it deals with more somber themes.

Take “Jimi & Stan,” the uplifting new single from In Heaven, which released on Friday. With a robust guitar jangle and a soaring vocal delivery from Oaks frontperson Tim Showalter, it’s difficult to hear it without your spirits being raised. It also comes from a place of loss, of celebrating life, and wanting to give a cherished companion a proper sendoff.

As Showalter described on the Oaks Facebook page:

Stan was my beloved cat. In 2018, Stan got cancer right around the time Sues mom was killed in a car accident. Our home was filled with immeasurable sadness. I believe Stan held on as long as he could just to be there for us until finally saying goodbye. In my grief I tried to imagine a Heaven that Stan so rightfully deserved. And that Heaven is Stan hanging out with Jimi Hendrix going to shows and having a warm spot to look at the galaxy. I wanted the song to be a joyous sendoff for my sweetest buddy. It’s also a song for all of us who have lost and can only dream that those that we love can live in our hearts forever. I cry every time I hear this song but I know it’s all from love.

Listen to “Jimi & Stan” by Strand of Oaks below, grab your preorder In Heaven, and to quote Showalter, “call the people you love and hug your pets.” Strand of Oaks will appear at the 2021 XPoNential Music Festival next month — tickets and more information at the festival website — and just announced another Philly show, at Union Transfer on Wednesday, October 13th. Tickets and more information can be found at Union Transfer’s website.