Rachael Davis, Linsday Lou, and May Erlewine have each other. In “Turn To Stone,” the Michigan singer-songwriter trio–known as The Sweet Water Warblers–deliver a wispy ballad to themselves in lilting harmonies.
“It feels so alone / as long as we’re living / may we hear each other singing / and may we never turn to stone,” they intone in the chorus, joined by Nashville singer-songwriter Maya de Vitry. In the background, spare instrumental parts give off an ethereal glow.
The song—premiering today on American Songwriter—begins with a haunting first verse: “Is someone singing? / I thought I heard a song / Am I hearing things again / from holding my heart open for so long.” The second verse is even more gut-wrenching: “Is someone crying? / I heard it in the night / Am I the only one who hears / the pain that’s hiding out of sight?”
These lines are delivered in a saintly, melancholic drawl.
“This song is about connecting to a deeper source,” Erlewine tells American Songwriter. “[It’s] a reminder that we are feeling hearts moving through this world. Sometimes really living, really loving, really grieving lies in our ability to listen to ourselves and each other.”
For Davis, the song is about finding strength in unexpected places.
“‘Turn To Stone’ is a lyrical, melodic, and harmonic representation of how strength can exist within surrender and release,” she explains. “The sentiment of the song is a message of revolution, while the delivery of that message is a lilting beauty that calms the soul. It is a musical reflection of the idea that a strong wind can topple the strongest oak, while the smallest blade of grass only bends and survives.”
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, Lou is trying to stay focused on the connections that matter most to her–those with her close musical collaborators.
“The capitalist system would have us believe that [Valentine’s Day] is all about buying chocolate and roses, but we think it’s about hearing each other singing,” says Lou. “It’s about waking up to the fact that we feel lonelier than ever the more connected we seem on social media.”
Lou credits de Vitry with getting this collaboration off the ground, and describes their first session together as an especially powerful moment.
“Maya de Vitry brought this song to the table and the four of us finished it,” says Lou. “The first time we sang it together it felt like transcending into the cosmos.”
“Turn To Stone” is the first single off The Sweet Water Warblers’ forthcoming debut album, The Dream That Holds This Child. The trio met at a music festival in 2014, and released their debut EP, With You, in 2017. Though each member has her own music practices and projects, they all draw on roots and country, folk and Americana.
The Dream That Holds This Child is produced by Dan Knobler, whose recent credits include Lake Street Drive, Erin Rae, and Caroline Spence albums. He also worked on de Virty’s 2019 debut, Adaptations.
The Dream That Holds This Child is out May 15.