For Canyon, Holcomb teamed with with an incredibly talented team of co-writers such as Natalie Hemby, Bear Rinehart of NEEDTOBREATHE and Thad Cockrell, and the project was produced by Cason Cooley along with executive producer and her dad, Brown Bannister.
"Canyon is a record about a deeper sorrow and a higher hope," shares Ellie Holcomb. "A tornado tore through our neighborhood, Covid-19 shut down our country and canceled all of our touring, racial tension was high in the wake of George Floyd's death, Christmas morning began with a bomb that went off in downtown Nashville, the capital was attacked, and we have had so many family friends lose people they love to the virus. In many ways, writing and singing these songs felt like finding my way through a serious season of suffering and sorrow."
She continues, "We all know what it is for our hearts to be broken, split wide open by the pain and loss and sorrow we encounter here. We know brokenness. We know division, but there in the middle of all the chaos, in the places where the pain cuts a canyon into our very hearts, there is a river running through. There is a current of love that brings refreshment, hope, and comfort. There is a river of love there to carry us if we'll only let it. There is a river to carry us back home, to the place where all of us came from, to the place of belonging to the one who made us, to a place of belonging to each other."
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Moving and Prayerful| Posted June 23, 2021 What You Need to Know I first heard Ellie Holcomb sing with her husband's band Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors when they opened for rock band NEEDTOBREATHE. Ellie is the daughter of legendary Christian music producer, Brown Bannister. So far, Ellie has quite a storied career as a solo artist. First, she dropped two EPs, Magnolia and With You Now. Then, she released her debut full-length album As Sure As the Sun, which features the hit songs “The Broken Beautiful” and title track “As Sure As the Sun,” That album earned Ellie the GMA Dove Award for Best New Artist. Afterward, Ellie released Red Sea Road, a thirteen song album featuring standouts "Find You Here" and “He Will.” That release was one of my Top 10 Albums of 2017. Now, four years later, Ellie is back with her latest release, Canyon.
What it Sounds Like The opening track, “I Don’t Want to Miss It” is an engaging song with Ellie's passionate vocals setting the tone for this exceptional effort. The song is an unashamed declaration of faith based on Zephaniah 3:17 which reminds us that God is singing over us. Ellie hooked me with the lyrics: “No, I don't want to miss it/No, I don't want to miss a thing/I don't want to miss the melody/That You've been singing over me.”Canyon’s songs “I Don’t Want to Miss It,” “Color,” and the title track showcase Ellie's passionate vocals, thus setting the tone for an exceptional album. “Canyon” is a wonderful prayer-song capturing Ellie’s heart for God, allowing us to eavesdrop on her deep thoughts and musings about God. She sings the song with the reminder, “There’s a river running through/My deepest pain/There’s a river running through/Every dream that never came true/Made me a canyon but there’s/A river running through,” which is in essence the thesis statement for this compelling album.
Spiritual Highlights Ellie is an anointed songwriter. She has a profound way of bringing me closer to God with her poignant words, tender singing, and inspirational truths. Ellie has consistently impressed me with her mature faith and sincere desire to serve Jesus. 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 “Color.” Ellie praises the loving and sacrificial attributes of our Savior as she achingly sings, “Am I worthy of the chances that I'm surrounded with/The shame that I am drowning in/The salt in my woundedness/Am I worthy of the pain that I buried in the dust/Of a God who I'm scared to trust/Tell me am I worthy of it.” The album is loaded with that type of profound lyrical truth as Ellie tenderly sings about her source of hope, Jesus. Throughout the song she achingly sings “this world is made of color” which is a worshipful response to her Savior reflecting the blessed hope of someone who understands the Good News of grace.
Best Song on the Record I generally rank my favorite songs based on how they move me emotionally. On this album, that's “Constellations” which I can't listen to without welling up. Ellie’s emotive and powerful vocals take listeners on an emotional journey that gives me goose bumps every time I hear the song and I lift my eyes and heart to Heaven every time I hear the song, filled with truth. Your heart will be moved to sing along with Ellie, “Out here in the dark/Underneath a canopy of stars/Constellations falling from Your heart/They tell me that I'm not alone/I know that I'm never alone/'Cause You find me and bring me back home.” I also can’t get enough of “Sweet Ever After,” which features Bear Rinehart from NEEDTOBREATHE and “Mine” which features Ellie’s husband Drew. You can sincerely sing these prayerful lyrics, and cling to the truth of these powerful songs. Every song will have you hanging on each word that Ellie tenderly sings. Her vocals will soothe your soul, and the vertical lyrics will direct your attention and focus on Jesus.
Final Word This is a Spirit-filled and emotional listening experience filled with profound lyrical truth. All the songs are catchy, worshipful, and biblically inspired. The artist expresses her prayers to God, allowing listeners to eavesdrop on her worshipful offerings and captivating ballads, one of Ellie's strengths. The album tells the story of redemption as each song gives a glimpse of how Ellie offers her Psalm-like prayers to God. 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. Don't hesitate to pick up this great return from one of CCM's top female artists. These songs are all stand-out tracks filled with overwhelming biblical truth and are companions in my personal prayer and worship time. Ellie has captivating and catchy songs filled with inspirational lyrics. Ellie brings sincerity and relatable themes that get deeper with each listen. Canyon is sure to be one of the top albums of the year. This is truly a moving and prayerful album.
One of the Best Albums of 2021| Posted July 01, 2021
I first heard Ellie Holcomb on the song “Elizabeth”, a song she wrote with Kristyn Getty and included on the 2017 album Sing! - An Irish Christmas: Live at the Grand Ole Opry House. Watch a live performance of the song here.
I was attracted to this album by a tweet from NEEDTOBREATHE indicating that lead singer Bear Rinehart had teamed up with Holcomb for “Sweet Ever After”. I’m glad I checked out the album, as it’s one of my favorites of 2020.
The album was inspired by a trip Holcomb took to the Grand Canyon last summer. She has said that the songs, born out of a season of a lot of personal and global (COVID-19, racial tension, etc.) loss, feel like a soundtrack to healing and hope. Canyon, produced by Cason Colley, is Holcomb’s follow-up to her 2017 Red Sea Road album. Holcomb’s father, Christian music veteran Brown Bannister served as executive producer.
Here are a few brief comments about each song: I Don't Want To Miss It - This upbeat song was written by Thad Cockrell, Cason Cooley and Ellie Holcomb. The song features drums, bass, piano, backing vocals, and banjo. She doesn’t want to miss God’s voice and touch.
Key lyrics: I don't want to miss a thing So I climbed up in a sycamore tree
'Cause I don't want to miss a thing
And I don't want to miss it
I don't want to miss a thing
I don't want to miss the melody
That You've been singing over me Canyon - This hopeful song was written by Thad Cockrell, Cason Cooley and Ellie Holcomb. The song features, banjo, backing vocals, drums, piano and bass. She found the Lord in the desert. Holcomb has said that this song, and the album, is about a deeper sorrow and a higher hope. There’s a river running through her deepest sorrow and pain. There’s a river running through every dream that never came true.
Key lyrics: I walked into the desert and I found You You set a table for me in the presence of my enemies
To share with my enemies
No longer my enemies Color – Holcomb sings of stone-cold lonely nights when she built her house on sand. She thought the truth was black and white, but now sees it is made of color. The song, which builds powerfully, features keys, finger snaps, bass, guitar, drums and backing vocals.
Key lyrics: In the broken sanctuary light I'm surrendered, I am hypnotized
I can see You even though I'm blind
This world is made of color Bridge - This song was written by Jordan Reynolds, Ellie Reynolds, Ellie Holcomb, Carly Bannister and Alexandria Mowry. The song features piano, guitar, bass, drums and backing vocals. The song is about racial reconciliation, rebuilding what has been broken, repentance and forgiveness.
Key lyrics: I wanna listen, I wanna repent It's time to rebuild what's been broken
Teach me to love, help me learn to forgive
And when hate melts it down, we'll rebuild it again
Paradox - This song was written by Natalie Hemby and Ellie Holcomb and features Hemby. She thought see would see God clearly from the top of the world, but now that she is in the valley looking up God has never felt so close. The song features piano, keys, backing vocals, bass and drums.
Key lyrics: And now I'm in a valley, looking up You have never felt so close
Canyons all around me, stars above
Meet me in the depths below
Where the lost is found
Where the broken is crowned
Where the souls rise up
From the ground
You got me in the valley, looking up Brand New Day – This song was written by Jeremiah Dunlap, Matt Wertz and Ellie Holcomb. We all fall down and get banged up. There’s a storm, but you’ve not going under. It’s a brand-new day. I really enjoyed the musical arrangement on this song, featuring guitar, hand claps, bass and backing vocals.
Key lyrics: Mercy new, don't miss the way it shines It's a brand-new day Sweet Ever After – This song was written by Bear Rinehart and Ellie Holcomb, and features Rinehart of NEEDTOBREATHE. The song references the tornado that struck Nashville in March, 2020, and features banjo, bass, backing vocals, drums. The sun is coming up on the stairway to Heaven in the sweet ever after.
Key lyrics: Got a lot of bad days still coming our way But a sweet ever after
Wind and waves breaking over our walls
But the ship, it don't shatter Stronger - This song was written by Nicole Witt, Ellie Holcomb and Christa Wells. The encouraging song is about being stronger than your fear. It features piano, drums, guitar and backing vocals.
Key lyrics: Go fly away my dear, up to the golden sun Don't build your home right here, you were made for love
Worry whispers lies but let the truth be clear
You are stronger, love, you are stronger than your fear Mine - This song was written by Ellie Holcomb and features Drew Holcomb. It’s a beautiful piano and strings driven song for their children.
Key lyrics: Before I held you, I knew I loved you Before I saw you, I was sold out for you
I was writing lullabies
Before I ever heard your cry
I've been here the whole time
You always have, you always will be mine I Will Carry You - This song was written by Ben Glover and Ellie Holcomb. The song could be addressed to a friend who is tired, hurting and full of anxiety. It features piano, guitar, banjo, drums, and backing vocals.
Key lyrics: I will carry you Through your darkest night
When you're terrified
I will carry you
When the waters rise
When your hope runs dry
I will carry you Gold – This song was written by Ellie Holcomb and features Carly Bannister. It sounds like a love song to Holcomb’s husband Drew, as she sings that she learned to sing so she could sing right next to him. The song features acoustic guitar, pedal steel guitar and backing vocals.
Key lyrics: You are wonderful, you are kind You are patient, you are humble, and you are wise
You don't see it with your own eyes
But you are gold to me and I love the way you shine Constellations - This song was written by David Leonard (Christian), Ellie Holcomb
and Jon Guerra. The piano driven song features a passionate vocal from Holcomb
as she cries out to God to promise her that she is not alone.
Key lyrics: 'Cause out here in the dark Underneath a canopy of stars
Constellations falling from Your heart
They tell me that I'm not alone
'Cause honestly I'm so alone
But promise me I'm not alone Best Songs