Holcomb has spent the past seven years traveling and performing alongside her husband, Drew, as part of Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors, having left a promising career teaching behind when the band’s success was keeping Drew out on the road for the larger part of the year. A one year musical experiment together has morphed into seven, with no signs of slowing at this point with the band continuing to garner success and placement on shows like “Parenthood,” “Nashville,” and even “Oprah.”
Along the course of that journey, Holcomb took to putting her own thoughts down in songs, inspired by those they’d met along the way as well as through Scriptures she’d been studying. Eventually, she’d written enough to justify recording and the Magnolia and With You Now EP’s were born, racing to number one on the iTunes Christian/Gospel charts. Buoyed by that success, Holcomb turned to Kickstarter for her full-length recording, and the fans responded, helping her to hit her campaign goal in just three days and actually doubling her goal by the end, charting as one of the top Kickstarter projects ever.
And rest assured, Ellie Holcomb does not take her fan support lightly, laying it all on the line on As Sure As The Sun and delivering what may very well be one of the year’s best records.
Following a similar theme as her scripturally based EPs, As Sure As The Sun also draws from Scripture, capturing elements of vertical worship together alongside plaintive cries for forgiveness and healing along the way. In short, these are honest songs, songs that echo the heartbeat of the Bible while also staying true to the artist herself, which is very much a powerful songwriting feat.
Holcomb couches these songs in warm, tender singer-songwriter blankets, acoustic elements grounding the overall feel while touches of steel guitar and more provide color and lightness along the way. And truly stealing the show is Holcomb’s effortless voice, rich and resonant and pure, carrying these songs effortlessly along.
The title track springboards things forward, a persistent piano tone pressing the track ahead as the artist invokes that most basic of Christian tenets, “that you are loved” and that “His mercy will not end.” It’s a simple and subdued track but there’s a sweetness to it that hammers home the song’s message straight to the heart, making it a soulful listen.
Album closer “I Want to Be Free” is another clear standout, Holcomb’s voice raw and emotional as she sings, “Take away this fear/Take away this doubting/Let me know that You’re here/And You’re not going anywhere” as a resonant guitar line swoons throughout. It’s a simple declaration but Holcomb delivers it in such an unassuming, natural way that truly drives it home.
But the bookends aren’t the only stars here as Holcomb brings her questions together with answers on the perfectly poppy “The Broken Beautiful,” recalling some of Regina Spektor’s playful arrangements or the Psalm 71 inspired “Only Hope I’ve Got,” gentle notes framing Holcomb’s passionate vocal that celebrates the grace and love of God. “The Valley” echoes honest prayers of every believer who’s walked the journey through suffering, a rousing arrangement offsetting the heavy lyric as “Night Songs” plumbs a two-step shuffle to deliver similar cries for forgiveness and healing.
Ellie Holcomb’s As Sure As The Sun is not an album that sets out to recreate the wheel or to press to deeply into avant garde artistry. Rather, what Holcomb has crafted here is an album that is warm and honest in every way, from the faint strum of a guitar to a mournful note sung by the artist. These are songs that are real, offering up thoughts and ideas not only inspired by the Scriptures but also loved and lived in by the artist herself. It’s evident in each and every note and you won’t want to miss a one.