Review Rating: On Repeat (4.6/5)
Few things in life are harder to find than joy in the midst of tragedy. Yet even in the midst of dire times filled with loss and pain, Nashville-native Ellie Holcomb still sings of her Savior's faithfulness. "I have seen God meet us and our community in impossible situations," Ellie Holcomb expressed in a recent interview. Such joy and peace saturate the songs of Ellie's sophomore album release and latest work. With honest and hopeful lyrics, paired with lively and bright melodies, every song on Red Sea Road reminds listeners just how faithful our Heavenly Father truly is.
The album starts with "Find You Here," a bright song that brilliantly sets the stage for the remainder of the collection. Though the acoustic guitar seems to darken in places, the track still emphasizes the light and hopeful melody. It is no surprise how the lyrics fit in, with words that express the peace of God's presence in even the grimmest of times. "I didn't know I'd find You here, in the middle of my darkest fears," Ellie sings, "but You are drawing near, You are overwhelming me with peace." All in all, the opening track is peaceful and enjoyable - an excellent way to start an album.
Shortly after is the title track "Red Sea Road" plays. Taking a gentler pace with a hint of bounce and light percussion, the track confidently pushes forward. The verses balance guitar chords with tambourine and the chorus propels with acoustic and electric guitar, where the drums pick up and the listener feels the urge to boldly march along. Its lyrics focus on God's faithfulness - as He parted the Red Sea and brought His people along a road, so He provides us with hope, so that "we'll never walk alone down the Red Sea road."
A ways along is "Wonderfully Made," a relatable song fueled by raw honesty. Acoustic strumming and long, violin notes make the melody, with a few electric guitar chords to accent the melody. Soft vocals echo in the background while Ellie leads the verses. Drawing from multiple passages in Psalms, she sings of the struggle to see ourselves the way God truly see us, understanding that we are indeed wonderfully made by the Creator of the universe.
Closing the album is "Man Of Sorrows." Quieter and deeper than previous tracks, the tone changes to one more contemplative. The guitar is gentler and the piano notes more predominant, with tiny hints of keyboard and drums scattered throughout. In some ways, the track is a worship song. Focusing on the pain Jesus suffered through the cross, Ellie references countless Scriptures, His sacrifice, our redemption, and ties it all together with His victory over death. The song - and the album as a whole - end on a single, beautiful verse: "You overcame my darkness when You walked out of the grave."
Quite simply, it would have been easy for an album written in the wake of tragedy to lament or rage. Yet across each of Red Sea Road's thirteen tracks, listeners never hear a word of complaint or anger. If anything, it's the polar opposite. Ellie has shown exemplary musical talent and spiritual growth in each song, reminding listeners over and over again that God heals, comforts, walks with us, and shares in our sufferings. Powerful and comforting, Red Sea Road is a must listen for both the hurting and the healed.