As I expected, Ellie Holcomb has offered another delightful album to her dedicated followers as well as to those whom she may be a new discovery. Ellie’s voice has lulled, soothed and encouraged my soul in her previous work and Red Sea Road follows suit without disappointment.
With three years separating her last and highly successful album, As Sure as the Sun (2014) and Red Sea Road (releasing January 2017), it is apparent that this album was a work of heart. The lyrics of each song are thoughtful and it is apparent that each song’s message came from a personal and deep place in Holcomb’s story.
“The past two years for our community have been heavy, full of suffering and loss,” shares Ellie Holcomb. “Red Sea Road is a record full of songs about how I’ve seen God show up in the middle of all the pain. I know now more than I did two years ago that He is faithful, no matter what we are facing, & I’ve seen Him continue to draw near to our broken hearts. My friend Ann Voskamp wrote a blog post that inspired the title track, where she describes it like this, ‘…we believe that an unseen Hope makes a Red Sea Road when there seems to be no way.'” (Merge PR)
The first track on the album, Find You Here, will bring hope and encouragement to those in pain. Holcomb reminds us that God hasn’t left us. He is faithful to join us in our pain and see us through it.
Here in the middle of the lonely night
Here in the middle of the losing fight,
You’re here in the middle of the deep regret
Here when the healing hasn’t happened yet
Here in the middle of the desert place
Here in the middle when I cannot see Your face
Here in the middle with Your outstretched arms
You can see my pain and it breaks Your heart
~Ellie Holcomb, Find You Here
“I wrote ‘Find You Here’ to remind myself that God shows up in the middle of our most desperate and broken places,” Holcomb describes. “This song is about the profound peace my family and I experienced in the face of a cancer diagnosis for my dad, and it tells the story about God drawing near to our breaking hearts, bringing comfort into our chaos & covering our deepest fears with His faithfulness. It comes from that beautiful promise in Philippians 4, Rejoice! …The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Merge PR)
My personal favorite track on the album is You Are Loved. In a culture that pressures women to believe we need to measure up to an unattainable image of perfection. The messages we hear from the world, our peers, ourselves is often that we’re not perfect or we’re not wanted. Ellie Holcomb gently reminds us that no matter who we are or what we’ve done, we are chosen and we are loved. As I listen to this song, the message of love sings over me with a volume level that reaches above the noise of the world.
He chose you, He sees you,
He knows you, oh, oh, oh,
You are covered, forever, beloved, a daughter
And you are loved
Not because of what you’ve done
Even when your heart has run the other way
Nothing’s gonna change His love
And you are wanted
Not because you are perfect
I know that you don’t think you’re worth that kind of grace
But look into His face you’ll know
That you are loved.
~Ellie Holcomb, You Are Loved
Holcomb’s latest album is clearly written for the heart of the woman. Although there are songs that could easily reach across gender lines, Red Sea Road seems to be a calling from the delicate places of Ellie’s heart to the hearts of women who are in need of hope and healing. If you have a “Hope and Healing” playlist, as I do, you will want to add this album to it. Allow the love-filled and comforting melodies of Ellie Holcomb to accompany you on your journey across your very own Red Sea Road.
I’ve had the pleasure of worshipping with Ellie Holcomb a few years ago. It was one of the most inspirational and intimate evenings of music I’ve experienced. Consider attending one of her shows if ever you can. Click here for her tour information.