Ellie Holcomb releases new album, shares how God meets His children in darkest places

Ellie Holcomb
Singer Ellie Holcomb releases her third studio album, "Canyon," on June 25, 2021 |

Award-winning Christian singer Ellie Holcomb released her latest album Canyon this month and said the music is a reflection of how God meets His children in the lowest and darkest places of their lives.  

After garnering massive success as an independent artist, Canyon marks Holcomb’s first release on a major record company, Capitol Christian Music Group. The award-winning artist birthed the new record after walking through a season of instant healing for herself. 

"I went through a season of ... a counseling journey of visiting some of the deepest wounds in my own story. That's not my personality. I'm a seven on the enneagram. [For] sevens, the main motivation is avoiding pain at all costs,”

In an interview with The Christian Post, which can be watched below, Holcomb said she was “ ... so grateful to ... learn how to grieve and lament. I had acknowledged a lot of things in counseling before — I'm a big advocate of counseling — but I learned to actually go to the places, to the wounds of my story, the places that I thought would kill me to visit, and just learn to grieve and to breathe there.”

It was in those places that the bestselling children's author said she encountered the “tenderness and the empathy of God.” That revelation from God is something Holcomb says she will never be able to shake.

Before Canyon, the singer-songwriter had written a whole record about her healing journey. Then, unexpectedly, a tornado tore through her Nashville neighborhood last March, followed a week later by nationwide lockdowns spurred by COVID-19. With political divisions and racial tensions rising to the surface in 2020, compacted by the magnitude of the loss of life from the novel coronavirus, the artist began to think that there was another message God wanted her to share with her music. 

Once the COVID-19 cases began to drop, Holcomb and her husband went on a trip to the Grand Cayon, and that is where the new album was born.

"We camped on the Northern Rim, and then we went down into the canyon and rafted on the river; [we] camped on the riverbanks and then rafted out. I will never forget our guide. I don't think he was necessarily a person of faith, but he was talking about just that that creation declares the glory of God. He was explaining that the canyon walls tell a story. It's really a story of disaster upon disaster, landslide, mudslide, earthquake, volcano. Then in the midst of this, there's this huge divide,” Holcomb explained.

"I just thought, ‘Man, what a picture of where our hearts are right now in this season — loss upon loss, then a sense of feeling divided and isolated.’ I was just like, this feels like crazy timing to be here,” she continued. “We all know that to be human is to be broken. And we all know what it's like to have our hearts kind of split and break wide open, like a canyon. But there, in the very deepest pit of the canyon, there's a river running through. 

"We just had all these floods in Nashville, and as it turns out, water always moves to the lowest place; it will go to the lowest place in your house,” Holcomb illustrated. “As it turns out, there is a current of living water. There is a current of God's love that runs deeper than our deepest ache or sorrow that will carry us when it feels like we can't carry on any longer. It will carry us back to a place where we know and can remember that even when we're broken, we're beloved, and we have a place where we belong. It'll carry us to a place where we know that we belong to each other.”

Her trip to the Grand Canyon revealed all of that to her in a way she had never thought of before. The “Canyon” singer said she shoved a pile of 35 songs off her desk and decided to start over with her new revelation.

"I think I had known God's tenderness in my own story. It felt like I understood the Gospel to be like this beautiful, necessary raindrop. When I went to the Grand Canyon, it was like God was saying, 'No, it's not just a raindrop, it's the whole ocean, it's all the water,'” she detailed. “This is really good news, so I wrote the record from that place.”

Holcomb encouraged everyone to allow themselves to grieve in order to experience healing on a deeper level.

"I know that God is real, not in spite of the pain and the suffering in my life but almost because of, and in the midst of [it]. I think I learned that it was OK to grieve and be sorrowful and come as I was into the presence of God. And because of that, I sang songs of sorrow. But also, I learned to rejoice in the valley because I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, you're here too,'” she testified. 

Ellie Holcomb
Singer Ellie Holcomb releases her third studio album, "Canyon," on June 25, 2021. |

Holcomb explained that just as the Grand Canyon has a water supply that comes from a natural spring located approximately 3,500 feet below the North Rim, God also moves to the lowest places. The mother and wife noted that in Scripture, believers see Jesus over and over again stoop down low to help Creation.  

“The very fact that the God who made the whole Earth stooped down and gets put in flesh held in the arms of a teen mom, you're like, this is backward and upside down,” Holcomb noted. "I would just say, if you're scared to go low — I know I've been there — I can just say that God is also in whatever scary, lonely, low place that you've been in before. He's there too.”

On her new album, Holcomb also penned a song titled “Bridge,” which points to the importance of racial reconciliation. 

"The combination of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and a forced stop on the business and the hustle [of the world], something was shook in me,” she said. “My experience is so different than that. So I started intentionally reaching out to my black and brown brothers and sisters, and really just intentionally listening.”

“If people don't believe that this is real, I would really encourage you to just sit across the table from someone who looks different than you and humbly ask them to share what their experience has been like because I was undone,” she added.

Holcomb and a few of her friends have since launched a small group of diverse women, which she described as “a bridge-builder group.” She highlighted a book by Latasha Morrison titled, Be the Bridge that she said helped her understand the heart of God concerning race issues.

"The heart of God for unity and racial reconciliation is all throughout Scripture. It's very near and dear. It's pretty central, actually,” the singer insisted. “I think this is something that I have missed. I just didn't know because ... if it's not your experience, unless you're really intentionally listening, how would you know that that's some other people's reality? So it has been such a beautiful process to acknowledge the truth, to listen to the truth and to other people's stories, to lament.” 

"I think I learned how to lament personally. And then, this past year, I was lamenting on really a global scale. To repent, and then to begin this work of rebuilding,” Holcomb added.

When describing her favorite song on the album, Holcomb said “Paradox” is the song that she most resonates with. While touring the Grand Canyon, she was encouraged to wake up in the middle of the night and look up at the sky.

“When the moon sets behind the canyon walls, you're actually going to be further away from the stars than you'll ever be in your whole life because you're over a mile into the surface of the Earth. It will actually be darker; you'll be in the darkest place you've ever been because there's no ambient light. But because it's so dark, the stars will shine brighter, and they will appear to be closer than they ever have before,” she described. 

“I think 'Paradox' tells that story. I think God meets us in the midst of our lowest places, the darkest nights of our soul,” Holcomb concluded. “I think the darker the night, the brighter the stars shine, and He's the light of the world, and so that song, it hits.

“It's hard to go to the deepest places, but He resides even there. So that song right now is a good reminder for me. Sometimes I write the things that I know I might forget later into songs to help remind my forgetful heart of what's true. The next time I'm in a really deep valley, I think I'll probably play ‘Paradox.’”

Canyon is now available everywhere. For more information on Holcomb, visit her website.

Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic

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