Ellie Holcomb

As Sure as the Sun

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Gripping from start to finish, As Sure as the Sun launches Ellie Holcomb's solo career in earnest, building on the momentum of her time in Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors (Drew being her husband) and her debut EP, Magnolia. Here, her voice is still that sweet and slightly weathered strand of silk that perfectly complements the modern folk or triumphant, modern worship music that surrounds it, but the material is a non-stop emptying of the top-shelf this time out. Highlights are hard to discern since there are just so many, but check the delicate title track for how easily love pours out of this album, or march along with the Mumford & Sons-like "Marvelous Light" as it approaches something utterly epic. Late album wonder "The Valley" can lift the heart on any given burdensome day, but when it comes to moving performances, the award goes to the closing "I Want to Be Free," a full-bodied, bluesy numbers that suggests Holcomb has been taking in plenty of Billie Holiday and Alabama Shakes. A superb, often stunning, debut.

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