When Ellie Holcomb creates music, she prays her songs feel like a warm hug; a reminder of home — and most importantly, serve as a bridge between the Gospel and an increasingly secularized culture.
“Politically, things are so divided. In the Church, things are so divided,” the 39-year-old Nashville resident told The Christian Post. “Jesus is the ultimate bridge builder. … Love always builds a bridge. And so what does it look like, even if I disagree with this person, to love them, and to listen and to find common ground, because we certainly all have it. I think there's a longing for that and a stirring for that.”
The Dove Award-winning singer pointed out that there’s a whole generation of young people who have left the Church — and though the statistics have caused much hand-wringing across the evangelical world, God, she said, “is not worried.”
“I am so curious to see what God is writing in them, and how He will pursue them. God's faithful to His Church,” she reflected. “I just want to pay attention and listen to what He's doing, and then to lean in and build bridges to people … who don't believe in God at all. What does it look like to build a bridge to somebody who's on the total opposite end of the spectrum as I am? Who doesn't see the world like I do? How do I love that neighbor?”
Now, through Coming Home: A Collection of Songs — the recently-released EP from the songstress and her husband, Drew, the Holcombs are once again building bridges and proclaiming hope through song.
The album features nine tracks: a mix of new songs (“Coming Home”), reimagined old tracks (“Hung the Moon”) and covers (“On the Road Again,” “Fields of Gold"). The husband-and-wife team seamlessly cross genres with impactful, whimsical tunes, reminiscing on young love on one track and reflecting on the beauty of “home” in another.
Holcomb told CP that the album is a collection of songs that are personal to her and the Drew Holcom and the Neighbors frontman; songs they simply loved singing together.
The album was released weeks ahead of their longest tour to date. In February, the duo — and their children — are kicking off the "You and Me Tour," starting in Jacksonville, Florida, and ending in Dallas, Texas.
“For a long time, I was in my husband's band, and then I quit to be a stay-at-home mom and accidentally started another music career,” Holcomb shared. “So for six years, we didn't tour together, whereas we had been in a car touring together every day of the year almost for eight years before that. … We were like, ‘We miss singing together. What if we did like a little tour, just the two of us back together again? And if we’re going to do that, we might as well write a couple of songs for it. And so we started writing together, just for songs to sing with each other.”
When the pandemic hit, the Holcombs, like millions of other Americans, were confined to their home — so they did what they do best: They sang together.
“Drew was like, ‘You know what? Songs have always helped us, they’ve always helped us process and move through joy and sorrow,” Holcomb shared. “And so we are going to sing through the sorrow in our kitchen.’ And so every single night, I think for 64 nights in a row, we sang a cover in our kitchen, at home, and it was such a gift. … I think it also deepens this gratitude for the work that we get to do, the fact that we get to bring our little home, a piece of our soul and our take on the world via our songs, all over the country.”
The mother-of-three said she hopes Coming Home “sounds like home,” adding: “It feels like you’re in our living room with us. … I think I hope it feels like a warm embrace, like a reminder that we all belong, and reminder that none of us are in this thing called life alone.”
A successful author and artist in her own right, Holcomb released her solo album, Canyon, in 2021 as a follow-up to her critically acclaimed album Red Sea Road, which peaked at No. 3 on Billboard's Top Christian Albums chart in 2017. Though her songs aren’t always explicitly Christian, Holcomb stressed that “God’s in all of it.”
“Beauty matters,” she explained. “I think even in a song that's not written by somebody that comes from a perspective of faith … truth is truth. There are times when I listen to an artist who, to my knowledge does not come from a Christian perspective, but I listen to it, and I'm like, ‘Oh, what's God doing in your heart? Because you're onto something there. That's true, what you're singing. You might call it something different. But here it is, right here in Scripture, and it matters. And it's beautiful.”
“I think it brings nourishing to people that don't even know that they might need, and they might not even know what it is. But I just love the bigness and mystery and the beauty of that.”
During the pandemic, Holcomb also felt God calling her to listen more intentionally to those of different faith perspectives, backgrounds and nationalities — a practice she found both eye-opening and convicting.
“The Gospel became wider and higher and deeper and more wonderful and more colorful and more powerful for me, and I'm just so grateful. I have so much gratitude for that,” she shared.
Amid widespread division, Holcomb said God also gave her a "new empathy and compassion for people;" an understanding that when people lash out, it's often because they're scared.
"I get that. I know what it is to be scared. I know. I know what that looks like in my little kids. This is the grownup version of that. We're just scared," Holcomb said. "Thankfully, because of who Jesus is, we don't have to live out of fear. ...[God] hasn't given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and a sound mind. So I'm like, 'Okay, do everything in love. What does that look like? As I respond to this Instagram comment? I'm grateful for that and continue to be convicted over and over again."
The songwriter is excited to bring what God taught her throughout the pandemic to audiences around the country. Still, entering 2022, Holcomb said she believes God is calling her to “rest” — something she acknowledges sounds ironic given the two-month tour she’s about to headline.
“I'm a ‘midnight-most-nights’ kind of gal because there's too much to be done. There are too many people to see. There's too much dancing, there's too much songwriting to do or books to read or whatever,” she said with a laugh.
“I'm learning, even in my parenting, unlike part of resting looks like not trying to carry … all the things of ourselves, of our kids, of our families, extended families, neighbors, friends — and it's been so beautiful for me,” Holcomb continued.
“My verse to go along with that ‘rest’ word is Matthew 11:28: ‘Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ In the moments where I feel overwhelmed as a mom, like I'm like, ‘Oh, Lord, I don't know how to parent in this moment.’ I'm starting to ask Him for help. Which is sounds crazy. I know that I can do that. I just don't do it. … It's just been so beautiful. I'm so grateful for it.”
Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: email@example.com