The first slow strum of a guitar in “Turn To Stone” establishes a tone that promises listeners a thoughtful journey, with some mystery as to whether it will end on a low or high note. The single from the trio of Lindsay Lou, May Erlewine and Rachael Davis, collectively known as The Sweet Water Warblers, is the opening song on their forthcoming debut studio album, The Dream That Holds This Child.
The single was initially conceived of by singer-songwriter Maya de Vitry of Nashville, who is also featured on and produced the track. “We finished the song together,” Lou says. “The first time we sang it, we felt like we were transcending into the cosmos.”
The opening lyrics are gutting. “Is someone singing / I thought I heard a song / Am I hearing things again / From holding my heart open for so long?” At face value, this paints a picture of stark loneliness, of someone who has taken beating after beating and feels the last shreds of hope withering away. Yet the verse isn’t from a single voice, but rather layered harmonies from each Warbler. These women may feel alone, but they have an inherent connection with one another and through their shared ethos.
“This song is about connecting to a deeper source, a reminder that we are feeling hearts moving through this world,” Erlewine says. “Sometimes really living, really loving, really grieving…lies in our ability to listen to ourselves and each other.
The second verse doubles down on the approach and sentiment of the first. “Is someone crying / I heard it in the night / Am I the only one who hears / The pain that’s hiding out of sight?” The only-ness here heightens the sense of desperation that comes from being alive, desperate for anyone else to acknowledge they’re experiencing the same crushing pain that comes from being so exposed to feeling
Simply put, the chorus makes everything ok, especially in its closing. “May we hear each other singing / And may we never turn to stone.” It’s a tacit acknowledgement that if given a moment The Warblers can hear each other overlapping to lament and interrogate the same feelings and perceptions that come with being human, with growing and evolving. It’s a promise that maintaining this awareness will keep them living and loving, that their humanity will never turn to stone.
The Dream That Holds This Child is due out May 15.