This record celebrates the Hope we have in Jesus, and the powerful & personal ways Ellie has seen Him make Red Sea Roads through some of the most heartbreaking times of her life.
"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.'"
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Moving and Prayerful| Posted January 26, 2017
I first heard Ellie Holcomb sing with her husband's band Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors when they opened for NEEDTOBREATHE. Ellie is the daughter of legendary Christian music producer Brown Bannister, so for her music has always been a family business. After two EPs, Magnolia and With You Now, Holcomb's debut full-length album As Sure As the Sun featured the hit songs "The Broken Beautiful" and "Marvelous Light," earning Ellie the GMA Dove Award for Best New Artist. After a three year wait, she returns with a thirteen song sophomore album titled Red Sea Road.
Opening track "Find You Here" is an engaging song with Ellie's passionate vocals setting the tone for this exceptional album. The song is an unashamed declaration of faith based on Philippians 4:4-7, which reminds us that "the peace of God transcends all understanding." Ellie hooked me with the lyrics "but You're asking us to lay our worry down and sing a song instead," which is essentially the thesis statement of this redemptive, biblical and catchy album.
"He Will" has a contemporary pop musical feel. Ellie trusts in the Lord throughout the song, offering her melody and her life as a living sacrifice as she prays boldly with confidence: "He'll bind up the brokenhearted, oh He will, oh He will, / He'll set captives free from darkness, oh He will, oh He will." In this song Ellie references her devotion to the "Man of Sorrows," which she revisits with the stirring closing track by that name.
God promises us in His Word that His mercies are new every morning. Whatever situation you are facing you can know that God is with you, always. That truth is tenderly portrayed in "Red Sea Road." Ellie praises the loving and sacrificial attributes of our Savior as she achingly sings "we'll sing to our souls, we won't bury our hope / where He leads us to go is a red sea road / when we can't see the way, He will part the waves / and we'll never walk alone, down a red sea road." Throughout the song she achingly sings "You are faithful," which is a worshipful response to her Savior reflecting the blessed hope of someone who understands the Good News of grace.
I can't get enough of the upbeat song "You Are Loved." Ellie proclaims "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," praising God for giving us the love that sometimes we don't feel we deserve and paving the way for righteousness.
"You Love Me Best" sings of God's unfailing love. The song is loaded with lyrical gems for Christians looking for words to express their deep feelings, knowing that there must be more than the broken relationships we see in this world: "when darkness hems me in, You'll be right where You've always been / closer than the heart within my chest, because You love me best." "Living Water" keeps the vertical praise going with the words "Spirit fill us with living water, we know Your well will not run dry."
"Man of Sorrows" is a gorgeous closer. Ellie achingly sings this tender and prayerful ballad about God's faithfulness. I love the closing words of the album, which acknowledge our need for Jesus: "You overcame my darkness when You walked out of the grave." Amen.
The Bottom Line:
This is a Spirit-filled and emotional listening experience filled with profound lyrical truth. All thirteen songs are catchy, worshipful and biblically inspired. Ellie expresses her prayers to God, allowing listeners to eavesdrop on her vertical offerings and captivating ballads, one of Ellie's strengths. Ellie is an anointed songwriter, and she has a profound way of bringing me closer to God with her poignant words, tender singing and inspirational truths. I get welled up singing along with several of the emotion-laden songs, especially "Find You Here," "Red Sea Road," "You Love Me Best" and "Man of Sorrows." I've been yearning for more "gourmet" songs like these since As Sure As The Sun. Don't hesitate to pick up this great return from one of CCM's top female artists. Ellie brings sincerity and relatable themes that get deeper with each listen. The truly moving and prayerful Red Sea Road is sure to be one of the top albums of the year.
Song to Download Now:
"Find You Here" (Get it on iTunes here.)