Ellie Holcomb’s gentle, worshipful music brings to mind Audrey Assad’s Fortunate Fall album of last year due to its simple sincerity. Much like Assad, Holcomb sings her honest, vulnerable thoughts to God using melodic – yet uncomplicated – musical arrangements.
At her best, Holcomb can sound like an old school country singer. This trait is best exemplified by “I Wanna Be Free,” which glides lazily to a warm country groove. It sounds a little like Loretta Lynn or the late Tammy Wynette -- albeit either of them going contemporary Christian -- and it’s beautiful. “Roll away this sorrow,” Holcomb begs at one point during the song, much the way Lynn and Wynette might have begged their men to please come home sober. In Holcomb’s case, though, she’s singing about spiritual doubt and entreating God to take all that doubt away.
The piano-driven title track is where Assad comparison fully comes into view. It’s the opposite of the doubt expressed with “I Wanna Be Free,” as Holcomb sounds sure – as sure as the sun – that God keeps all his promises.
Holcomb’s approach, when she’s not approximating an old time country singer, comes off like early Jesus music. There’s innocence about her love songs to Jesus that is refreshing in an age when Christian artists seem to be trying much too hard to sound overly worldly wise. When she sings about the joy of experiencing the contrast of God’s bright light with the world’s deep darkness on “Marvelous Light,” her happy spirit is infectious.