Songwriting Poet Ellie Holcomb Finds Peace Within the Pain in Breathtaking Song ‘Canyon’ [Exclusive Video]
When the sound of the world became deafening and she could no longer escape the relentless noise, singer-songwriter Ellie Holcomb retreated to the solitude of the Grand Canyon. There, she found peace.
"We camped on the northern rim," she says quietly during a recent interview with The Boot. "We rafted on the river and spent the night on the riverbanks, and it was amazing."
But also within one of God’s greatest natural creations, Holcomb found a song she would later title "Canyon." It's now the title track of her third studio LP, and an acoustic performance of the song is premiering exclusively via The Boot.
“I looked out onto that place, and it was like I was seeing a picture of all of our hearts after this crazy, chaotic year,” Holcomb says. “In the middle of all of that pain and all of that broken, in the very pit of that canyon, there is a river running through. And I just had this crazy realization that I couldn't shake, which is basically that there is a current of God's love that runs deeper than our deepest ache or sorrow. And it is this that will carry us when it feels like we can't carry on any longer.”
All 12 songs on Canyon are delicately laced with that same feeling. The album allows the magic of music soothe the soul.
“I basically wrote a whole record of songs about learning how to sing, even in the pit of the valley,” explains Holcomb, who often performs alongside her husband, Drew Holcomb. “Even in the pit of the darkest night of the soul, I realized there's this presence of love that can hold us when we're falling apart.”
For Holcomb, these pits of darkness not only came as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial and political tensions of 2020, but also via the tornado that hit Nashville just days before COVID shutdowns began.
“It sounded like a train, like a locomotive running right next to your house,” recalls Holcomb, whose home sustained minor damage as a result of the storm. “It just sounded like everything was breaking outside, because it was. It was such a dark, scary night. And we woke up in the morning to see so much devastation. But what was beautiful was watching the community rise up.”
It was this resurrection of good that inspired Holcomb to write the album cut “Sweet Ever After” alongside Bear Rinehart of Needtobreathe.
“It's amazing how though living through something like that does show you what really matters,” she says. “There have been times in my life where I have been afraid to go back to those wounded places in my soul and allow myself to grieve. As I learned how to simply breathe in some of my most broken places, I encountered a presence of love and tenderness and empathy. And I believe that was the empathy of God and the tenderness of God and the peace of God.”
In the songs of Canyon, Holcomb hopes listeners can hear just that.
“I hope the record sounds like that it'll echo from the deepest valleys to the highest mountains," says Holcomb, whose single “I Don’t Want to Miss It” is in Top 30 on the Billboard Christian AC Radio Airplay chart, "to remind every beating human heart that they are beloved and that suffering never has the final word."
Canyons is out now. Visit EllieHolcomb.com for more on the project and the artist's goings-on.