In December, 2017, the indie-folk group Penny & Sparrow was featured in a session for World Cafe Nashville. Hosted by Ann Powers, the duo of Kyle Jahnke and Andy Baxter, were celebrating the release of its fifth album, Wendigo. On Aug. 2, just a month shy of two years since the release of that album, the duo return with Finch. It's a collection of new songs that showcase the duo's celestial harmonies, songs with stories that unfold like wild, vivid dreams and shimmering.
Together since 2011, Jahnke and Baxter met at the University of Texas. Baxter writes most of the lyrics, Jahnke many of the melodies. Together, they've got a Simon & Garfunkel-meets-Bon Iver musical vibe. Throughout the duo's songs, they match both somber and shadowy musical qualities with ambitious instrumental and vocal cadence. Finch was co-produced by Penny & Sparrow and Chris Jacobie, and recorded mostly at Curlwood Studio in San Antonio, Texas. Along with Jacobie on guitars and various instruments, Jahnke and Baxter handle most of the instrumentation and vocals.
Today, World Cafe premieres "Don't Wanna Be Without Ya," from Finch. It's a lilting song about reincarnation with the rhythmic drive of Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard."
On the song, Baxter and Jahnke sing:
Say...What if we reincarnate
And whatever god said, "it's your turn for choosing"
Would you rather come back, be born in a circle?
See the oldest garden, the crescent is fertile.
Or would you prefer to see life underwater?
Only knowing oceans, have hundreds of daughters
There's a part of hope that is sewn in this theory
Give me any species and keep yourself near me
Make it easy
"Don't Wanna Be Without Ya' is a romantic look at reincarnation," Baxter shared via email. "The song imagines being so enamored with someone that you make a promise: No matter what form you take in the next life, I want to be a part of it. Whatever species you become, whatever phase of matter you shift into, whatever new beliefs and habits you adopt ... I'm in. It's an ode to being in love with every past, present, and potential iteration of a person. Telling someone you 'Don't wanna be without' them means you recognize the alternative: Life devoid of them is something you want to avoid."
Finch is due out Aug. 2 via Thirty Tigers. Penny & Sparrow is currently on tour through June opening for Josh Ritter. From July to November, the duo will be doing a headlining run across the U.S.