Ellie Holcomb – Sing: Remembering Songs

Full Heart Music

Release Date: February 21st 2020

Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre

Ellie HolcombSing: Remembering Songs (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Forget to Remember
  2. Wherever I Go
  3. God of All Nations
  4. Light of Your Love
  5. Always
  6. Don’t Forget His Love

Ellie Holcomb is no stranger to Christian music. Since making her debut album in 2014 titled As Sure as the Sun and receiving the honours of being the New Artist of the Year at the Dove Awards in October 2014; Ellie’s honest approach to writing music in a similar vein to that of either Brooke Fraser, Sara Groves and Nichole Nordeman has led me to appreciate much of her previous work. Ellie has joined, in my opinion, a group of artists that have somehow been able to present to us songs of lyrical ingenuity and poignancy, creating moments where vulnerability is not only celebrated but brought to the fore in a variety of the songs, along us to feel encouragement, hope and a whole lot of emotion, as Ellie’s music is one that ought to be listened by anyone who can appreciate music with artistic depth yet never shying away from God being at the centre. With As Sure as the Sun funded through kickstarter, she then unveiled to us a followup to the 2014 album with Red Sea Road in 2017 with standout songs like ‘He Will’, ‘Find You Here and ‘You are Loved’, to name a few. Now here we are in 2020, and Ellie’s new EP just released not too long ago this year. But for a little context for this brand-new EP, we have to travel back to 2018, when Ellie embarked on something new and unique. As shown through my brother’s review of Sing: Creation Songs way back in 2018, we see that Ellie released a picture/children’s book in 2018, titled Who Sang the First Song, alongside the accompaniment CD that my brother reviewed- you can read the review of it here. Now in 2020, Ellie released yet another picture book for children, Don’t Forget to Remember in March 2020, also alongside a companion CD in Sing: Remembering Songs. With these songs being children’s melodies that you would probably have heard or even sung when you were younger in Sunday School, Ellie’s new EP (a follow-up from her 2018 one) is a must have if you have young children and want to give them something that will strengthen their faith, or if  you love joyous anthems with a children’s edge- songs that build the foundation of the children’s faith whenever they hear these songs.

‘Don’t Forget to Remember’, the title of Ellie’s children’s book as well as the song on this EP, is a reminder of us always remembering God’s faithfulness and love to us, to never forget no matter how difficult this life can be, that God’s love is deep and wide, high and long, as we delve into the intracicies of remembering on a constant basis, the goodness of God in such a world where good is as relative as any other word. While the book Don’t Forget To Remember may not be in my target range in terms of who the book is projected to (I reckon children under the age of 12); I do appreciate the level of skill that is taken to create a children’s book (and an accompaniment CD) to show kids the accessibility of God’s love in their lives as a whole. As Ellie belts out the lyrics in the chorus of how we ought to ‘…don’t forget to remember you’re never alone, no matter if you are up high or down low, and as sure as the sun will keep rising above, don’t forget to remember that you’re dearly loved…’; we as even adults are encouraged of God’s faithfulness to us, even in our unfaithfulness and forgetfulness of His unending love. This is the gospel for children, and Ellie has done a great job in delivering in a way they would understand through not only the book Don’t Forget To Remember but also in this EP as well.

The rest of the EP has Ellie singing song after song about us remembering God’s love for us, in a way that little kids can understand these concepts, but also in such a way to deliver her own trademark sound so that us adults who may find ourselves being slightly intrigued by this album, aren’t necessarily bored all the way through these songs. ‘Wherever I Go’ has a call-and-response element to it to increase participation from the kids themselves, as Ellie incorpates an often overused technique of repetition to bring in the kids in such a boppy melody, with a message of God going with us wherever we are, that we carry the presence of God in situations and circumstances in our lives where we find ourselves in; while ‘God of All Nations’, a song that sounds the most CCM-esque, contains lyrics that we adults can often find ourselves being drawn to, as this melody encourages us all that ‘…from the dust we were created, alike, but not the same, in the image of the living God, who has called us all by name, every language, every color, you and I are sisters and brothers, we’re all children of the Father, praise to the One who created us all…’ This track is by far my favourite on this EP, and is a great reminder of who we are in Christ and what we know we can claim as our inheritance in His name. ‘Light Of Your Love’ is a catchy repetitious pop-driven track that presents to us a theme of rest, and resting in Christ in particular- laying down our burdens that we carry, resting in God’s grace and love that we can draw upon for our own inspiration and source of strength; while ‘Always’ brings the instrumentation of acoustics to the fore, as Ellie presents this track as one sung from the POV of God Himself, as children understand a love of a Father (and Mother) to his children, an understanding that can often be warped because of our own earthly relationships we have with our own parents. The EP then ends with ‘Don’t Forget His Love’, a track with just the acoustic guitar and Ellie’s vocals, to as to allow this 2:38 track to delve into some heavy themes discussed- sin, disease, redemption of life, satisfying desires, heart renewal, things that maybe kids may not fully understand as of yet- thus this song strips back the instrumentation so the lyrics can take life, and parents can explain to their kids, to the best of their ability, the themes discussed in this track.

Coming off the heels of quite possibly one of the most underrated full-length albums of her whole career thus far (Red Sea Road) and her first children’s EP in Sing: Creation Songs; Ellie’s second children’s album is also one to behold, as with her first children’s one released in 2018. Moving and encouraging, emotive and powerful, Ellie’s songwriting has allowed me to continue to assert her inclusion within a group that I reckon has become some of the pinnacle of singer/songwriters within the CCM industry- Bebo Norman, Andrew Peterson, Nichole Nordeman, Jason Gray and Steven Curtis Chapman, to name a few, and now enter into that group, Ellie Holcomb). Music is not a stranger to Ellie- her father is well known producer Brown Bannister, so I guess music has been in her blood for a while. But to see her flourish and deliver such honest music (especially honest music within the confines of a children album!) has made me enjoy Ellie’s music all the more. Sing: Remembering Songs is not your typical children’s album, rather it is more of a CCM album geared towards children with a few heavy topics sprinkled throughout, and that’s ok. From the first song ‘Don’t Forget to Remember’ to her most radio friendly track ‘God of All Nations’; this is a must have if you enjoy singer-songwriters, or if you enjoy children’s music, or both. Even fans of Ellie’s previous material or lovers of CCM (like myself) ought to check out this album at least love, and understand that there is a place for children’s music in society, especially songs that instill positive and life-giving values to the younger generation, as what this album showcases. Well done for this album, Ellie; looking forward to another full-length album and a follow-up to Red Sea Road, whenever that arises!

As a mom of three, there are so many things I forget…and it’s not just lunch boxes or backpacks…a lot of days, I forget to remember what’s true.  On the days I’m at the end of myself, on the days I’ve lost my patience and my car keys, on the days I didn’t make a dent in the to do list that seems to endlessly grow, I need to remember the truth of God’s mercy and love for me. I wanted to write a book that would help my own forgetful heart and my children’s precious hearts remember what is true. Psalm 19 largely inspired this book. It says that the heavens declare the glories of God. I hope Don’t Forget To Remember will help children and the adults in their lives pay attention to the song that creation is singing each day. There are countless clues that point us to the truth, and my hope is that this book will be like a treasure map to help us all discover and remember the wonders of God’s love for us. At the end of the day, what do you want your kids to remember is true? My hope is that Don’t Forget To Remember will be like a map that children and the adults in their lives can read to find their way back to the treasures of remembering the wonders of God’s love for us.

Inspiration behind the book Don’t Forget to Remember

3 songs to listen to: Don’t Forget to Remember, God of All Nations, Light of Your Love

Score: 4/5

RIYL: Psalty the Singing Songbook, Quigley’s Village, The Donut Man, Seseme Street, Mr Rogers’s Neighbourhood

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