Stone and Snow: We were made for these times
You might think the titular song, "We Were Made for These Times," on the new album from Bloomington-Normal based singer-songwriter duo Stone and Snow would be a nod to the pandemic. You’d be only partly right. The song, and the rest of the songs on the new offering from Karen Bridges and Clint Thomson, was written in 2017, along with the material for their last album.
A lot of the songs had a long development period, said Bridges.
“And then when the pandemic hit, we kind of knew that that song was gonna be the song, based on what we've all been through,” she said.
Bridges acknowledged you can take the lyrics a couple different ways. One would include a sense of powering through, we got this; we were, in fact, made for these times. The other feeling the song evokes suggests the singer is hanging on and will make it even though they are struggling.
“And actually, the chorus, we rewrote in the pandemic. The original chorus was more, we're in the shadows, we're in the underground, we're grassroots, we're ‘gonna get through, more like political times back in 2017. And I just felt like that just wasn't relevant anymore. So, the chorus is new and in a way the lyrics are new,” said Bridges
In songwriting, there's a tension between the technical and the artistic, the nuts and bolts and the flourishes you put in to really put a stamp on it. Bridges and Thompson said they put their stamp on it with time and reflection
“I know a lot of artists spent this pandemic like writing. And I felt a lot of pressure to do that. And I didn't, I didn't give in to that pressure. It felt like too much. I can't always write while I'm going through things, I have to give it time and process that before I can actually say what I want to say about it,” said Bridges.
“And writing about it in the moment could have made a lot more angry songs. A lot of dark material isn't necessarily what we wanted to go for,” added Thomson.
The two share a lyric journal online in which they collaborate and develop ideas. They have done that during the pandemic, but those things will be on the next album as they go back and make them into fully formed thoughts, the two said.
Another of the songs, "Walk Away," does have an angry feel to it, an anthemic telling someone off.
“Yeah, it's a song for the haters, I guess. It feels like the, I've been called worse by better. I've been bullied at times in my life growing up, and there sometimes a feeling of something to prove, but also just like, whatever, like, I'm just gonna do my own thing, and you're just gonna have to deal with it kind of a thing,” said Bridges.
Thomson said "Walk Away" is about saying goodbye to toxic people in your life, or toxic situations.
“And sometimes that's the best thing that you can do, right? Because you're not going to change the other person's mind or their point of view. And you can continue to stay in that field of negative energy, or you can just, you know, walk away if you want, man,” said Thomson.
Instrumentals are not songs, but they bring their own kind of satisfaction. Stone and Snow have that in "Darkness is Delicate and Wild."
“It just kind of started as something that I would just play while I was hanging out and noodling around,” said Thomson. “I live near a small lake and so there's just tons of frogs and toads and lots of wonderful noise happening all the time. And we had the idea to record some of those sounds and put them on the album.
He said the songs served as inspiration with the calls of toads and cicadas welling up, subsiding, rising again until it became chaotic. It's a toad-rich song. They even called it the toad song before finding a full title for it.
The album is with a band, though the two said they will continue to tour as a duo, as much for logistical reasons. Bridges said they remain versatile enough to strip down arrangements to an acoustic set as the venue requires. Stone and Snow said the next project will be an all-acoustic album.
There will be a vinyl release show for “We Were Made For These Times” on Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Hangar Art Gallery, 105 W. Jefferson St., in downtown Bloomington.