Husband and wife duo Drew and Ellie Holcomb perform at the School of Music Concert Hall Feb. 8

“Oh, what would I do without you?”

Husband and wife duo Drew and Ellie Holcomb brought their Tennessee-rooted acoustic sounds to the School of Music Concert Hall Friday night, Feb. 8.

After a six-year break from being on the road, Nashville singer/songwriter Ellie Holcomb together with her husband Drew of Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors decided they missed the stage. They launched their acoustic tour February 2018, then the You and Me Tour that October. 

The couple released their original single “You and Me” in January of 2018, adding a cover of Sting’s “Fields of Gold.” A year later, the Holcombs released three more singles, including “Love Anyway.”

For the audience at Liberty University, the artists combined hits and hidden gems from their albums and introduced new songs from an album yet to be released — such as a song titled “Family,” which Drew Holcomb considered appropriate for the occasion. 

“We feel like if you’re at a Drew and Ellie Holcomb concert, then you’re family,” Drew Holcomb said. 

The audience sang when they knew the words and caught on when they did not, with an occasional “Y’all sound good, Flames,” from Ellie. 

Many of the couple’s songs are about love. But their single “Love Anyway” was made sweeter to the audience as the couple described the inspiration for the song, a friend of theirs named Jeremy Courtney. Founder of international relief organization Preemptive Love, Courtney moved his family to Iraq in 2004 to provide front-line medical care in the midst of war. The title of the song sprung from a headline of a Washington Post article written by Courtney in 2015, challenging his audience to “love anyway” in the presence of fear. 

“This song is for Jeremy,” Drew Holcomb said as he began the song.

It was no surprise that Drew Holcomb and the Neighbor’s “What Would I Do Without You” was included on the set list. Of all the songs he’s ever written, Drew Holcomb considers this song, which he wrote for Ellie, to be his favorite. 

Christian music fans in the audience recognized Ellie Holcomb’s “Red Sea Road,” which was inspired by a season of suffering. The title was inspired by Christian author Ann Voskamp’s phrase “we believe that an unseen hope makes a Red Sea road,” according to Ellie Holcomb. 

“And that is what we saw God do for us and for our people, he made a way for us to not have to bury our hope,” Ellie Holcomb said. “Because hope himself — Jesus — was buried for us and he walked out of the grave.” 

Ellie Holcomb took a break from her grown-up tunes to present “Sing” from her children’s album, which was created to accompany her children’s book, “Who Sang the First Song?” According to Ellie Holcomb, the melody came to her when she was driving her minivan around Nashville because she’s “a rockstar like that.” 

Ellie Holcomb welcomed her younger sister Carly Bannister to the stage, who delighted audiences with her gentle melody “Who Cares,” which reminded listeners that they “have the freedom to fail.”

“We wanted her to come sing because she is one of our favorite singers and songwriters,” Ellie Holcomb said. 

Drew Holcomb strummed his guitar to begin the “pretend last song” “Here We Go,” the crowd erupting with cheers as the couple moved their feet across the stage in perfect time. 

For the encore, Drew and Ellie Holcomb moved away from the microphones, stepping to the edge of the stage toward the audience, and concluded their performance with Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again.”

More information about tour dates and tickets can be found on Drew Holcomb’s website

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