The Stone Road Band improvises with ‘Breakdown EP’

Posted 2/9/22

It’s been examined numerous times, but it can’t be overstated how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected collaborations. During the heat of it in 2020 and into the following year, artists, …

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The Stone Road Band improvises with ‘Breakdown EP’


It’s been examined numerous times, but it can’t be overstated how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected collaborations. During the heat of it in 2020 and into the following year, artists, musicians and creative people of all backgrounds relied on virtual platforms to get projects done. While this approach has been out of the ordinary, it has opened possibilities for how to make various works of art going forward. For Providence rock act The Stone Road Band, this is how they made their Breakdown EP that came out on January 7. Guitarist & vocalist Kevin Horan, drummer Brian Lowe, who is from Warwick, bassist Phil Smith and lead guitarist Mike Horan, who is Kevin’s cousin, each recorded their parts remotely to create a unique joint effort.

While recording in this fashion, Sammy Wags from The Koop Studio in Irvington, NY handled the production. The whole project was done spontaneously after it became clear that live music wasn’t coming back for a while after the pandemic changed everything in March of 2020.

“I wish I could say the EP was planned, but it really wasn’t,” Horan says about the making of the record. “When the pandemic hit we didn’t have a lot of options to play together so we started messing around with virtual recording. I would record the vocals and rhythm guitar to a click, put it in a Dropbox and let the rest of the guys have their way with it. Since we don’t all live in the same area anymore, this project started mostly out of necessity and became an experiment of whether or not we could make a ‘long distance’ relationship work. I wrote the songs that were on our first live album, ‘Alive at Dusk’ and then we would get together and hash them out in rehearsal and at shows.”

“I still write the initial framework of the songs, but in a way this felt like our first cohesive writing experience as a band,” he adds. “It’s great to get in a room and work things out, but this gave each member the opportunity to get to know the songs better and experiment with different approaches. Once we had a couple songs laid down, we started to think about taking the next step with the recordings we had done. The initial plan was to record and release a new single every month of last year, starting in March, but life takes over and we couldn’t keep up with that pace. We ended up getting a few tunes out for the summer and left it at that, but then in December we redid a Christmas song I put out in 2020 and that pushed us to finish up the last single we recorded, which is the title track of the EP.”

Soon afterwards, the band realized that the song would fit with the other four tracks they released that summer and decided to make a record out of it. It was a couple years since they put out their live album so they figured it was a good time to get a studio release out to the public.

“It was really a last minute decision that organically grew out of this virtual experiment we started about a year and a half ago,” Horan mentions. “The project as a whole was very collaborative and was done 100% virtually. This was also our first time working with Sammy from The Koop Studio. He has an incredible ear for music and brought more to these tracks than I could have imagined. He really got our band and the sound we were going for, I think we’re all really proud of the final result.”

Within the EP and on the cover of it, Horan and the gang enlisted some folks from the Providence music & arts scene to offer their talents to the project. Amanda Salemi from the gypsy blues act Consuelo’s Revenge, who also fire dances during the summertime, lent her vocals to The Stone Road Band’s dedication to their hometown, “PVD”. Chris Mitchell from the multi-genre band They Were Robots plays keys on “Cricket” and the title track. Singer-songwriter and artist Nate Cozzolino made the artwork for the cover of the EP which compiles the artwork he did for each single release. To give the Breakdown EP a listen, look it up on the streaming platform of your choice and press play.


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