Beth Hazel Farris releases her debut EP No.1 on April 15, 2014.

No. 1 is a culmination of a year of preparation, prayer, and planning that started in church.

“The very first time I ever performed on a stage was for the student ministry on a Wednesday night,” says Beth in an email interview from her home in New Orleans. “Most of the students didn’t even know I played guitar let alone wrote songs. Mark asked me if I could play “Follow Me”. On the stage!!! I was so nervous!!!!! I had already led some worship with the girls’ ministry but not on a stage.”

“Mark” is Mark Hall, lead singer/songwriter for the Grammy Award-winning band Casting Crowns and youth pastor at Eagles Landing First Baptist Church, where Beth’s husband Reagan once served on staff. The youth group stage led to an opening spot on select dates of Casting Crowns’ Acoustic Tour in the Fall of 2013. “Follow Me” is covered by Casting Crowns’ vocalist Megan Garrett on the band’s recently released Thrive CD.

“Follow Me” is also on the new EP; this time recorded by Beth although arranged in a stripped-down, bluegrass style similar to Garrett’s version. The song is inspired by the Biblical stories of Peter at the Sea of Galilee, the woman at the well, and the thief on the cross.

Produced by Jason Hoard (Third Day), No.1 is a musical journey through Beth’s life, a life full of observations and discovery.

Born in the South, Beth’s family moved throughout the country as her father accepted various assignments with the Navy. Her early years were spent in a home new to faith in Jesus.

“My parents are first generation Jesus Followers,” says Beth. “They were introduced to the love of Jesus and the idea to follow Him when I was a toddler by a young couple who reached out to them. My parents lived in a trailer park, and it was there in our singlewide that they got down on their knees to surrender their empty lives over to Jesus. I grew up learning about Jesus right alongside of my parents.”

She met Reagan at Liberty University, and the couple’s path has led through youth ministry to his current position as a church planter in New Orleans. She homeschools their four children.

This is the well from which her songs spring.

“I’m Gonna Marry Him” is a folksy tune to a future husband, presenting plans and promises for their life together. She wrote the lyrics “we’ll buy the little ole house on the edge of town… or we’ll travel the world spreading the Good News,” as she and Reagan were about to embark on their move to New Orleans.

“Backyard” is a contemplative ballad, a compilation of stories of people living their lives in the backyard when life is meant to be so much bigger than what we are willing to accept. It’s a song that reminds us that our lives are “covered in grace we didn’t work for.”

Along with “Follow Me,” this first, four-song EP rounds out with “Stars in the Sky,” a finger-snapping, toe-tapping ditty that acknowledges life’s uncertainties are undeniable, but God’s love is always constant.

No.1 is the first of a series of EPs scheduled to be released over the next year. While church planting and homeschooling will limit Beth’s touring schedule, she has recently become a regular among the singers/songwriters performing at beths album coverNeutral Ground Coffee House in New Orleans.