It is not uncommon to hear an Ellie Holcomb song while listening to 98.5 HD4, especially with her release of Canyon this summer. This album features twelve folk songs that praise God in the midst of the canyons of life.
Now, if you have been a Christian for a while, you probably have heard people refer to the journey of faith as mountain tops and valleys. When life goes well and God is close, we tend to call those times being on the mountain top. On the other hand, when life is rough and God seems far, we deem those times being in the valley. But have you ever heard people say they are in the midst of a spiritual canyon? I hadn’t before Ellie Holcomb!
In an interview with American Songwriter, Holcomb said her inspiration for Canyon came during a family trip to the Grand Canyon during COVID. Holcomb explained that their guide told them “that the canyon walls really tell a story, and it’s a story of disaster upon disaster” (American Songwriter, 2021). As she surveyed the canyon walls, she reflected upon the disaster of COVID and the state of people’s hearts. She shared, “To be human is to be broken. And we all know, especially after the last year, what it feels like to have our hearts wide open like a canyon” (American Songwriter, 2021). Holcomb didn’t stop at the brokenness: “But there, in the very deepest part, a river was running through it. From personal experience, as it turns out, there is a current of love that runs deeper than our deepest sorrow or longing that will carry us when we feel like we can’t carry on on our own” (American Songwriter, 2021). This message of love greater than the brokenness flows through each song in Canyon.
In “Constellations,” Holcomb’s “poetic lyricism” and “imagery-rich themes” (ellieholcomb.com) shine through. This song, unlike any song she had written before, reaches new depths lyrically and vocally. Holcomb credits God’s healing work in her life for the brilliance of this song.
“Constellations” highlights God’s presence in the dark–the times in our lives when we feel alone:
“Out here in the dark
Underneath a canopy of stars
Constellations falling from Your heart
Tell me that I’m not alone, I know that I’m never alone,
Cause You find me and bring me back home.”
Another song from her album, “Brand New Day,” contrasts “Constellations” in tone but certainly not in message. It fills listeners with hope and joy in God’s redemptive work in the world and in our lives. The lyrics exhort us to proclaiming God’s good news no matter where we are in life.
“Lift up your voice you got something say
It’s a Brand New Day!”
Check out her full album on Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music. Or see her live in Minneapolis on February 25th, 2022!
American Songwriter. (2021). Ellie Holcomb ventures deep into her new LP ‘Canyon’ to deliver collective hope. https://americansongwriter.com/ellie-holcomb-ventures-deep-into-her-new-lp-canyon-to-deliver-collective-hope/
Ellie Holcomb. (2021). https://www.ellieholcomb.com/