There are a lot of acoustic singer songwriters making music today, so to find Holly Arrowsmith‘s sweet and genuine EP The River was exciting. Her voice reminds me of a cool summer breeze and the hug of a long lost friend. Arrowsmith’s writing style is almost straight folk with a healthy dose of endearing vocals and strum patterns. This American-born girl living in New Zealand offers us a short EP sure to make a lot of readers happy.
The first track “The River” is about searching, friendship, and doing life together. The folk acoustic guitar and Arrowsmith’s wonderful voice blend together for a very comfortable sound. The ending image of “never thirst again” reminds listeners of an almost religious type of song. It’s well done and replayable.
“Diamonds” is about brokenness. Her playing style reminds me of a campfire troubadour. She conjures images of humanity, darkness, and loneliness. “Our debt has already been paid… we don’t have to be slaves to a world…” At this point I was sure that the religious imagery from the previous song was certainly intentional. “Diamonds” carries a deeply theological overtone of the reality of sin and the path to salvation. It’s written in such a way that is sweet, genuine, and comforting – just like the rest of the album.
“Spring” is about, well, the exciting season that ushers in new life. Beautiful natural imagery points to creation, both plants and animals, “it’s like they’re all waiting for a lover’s return.” It’s a delightful track certainly. It’s a reflection on the timeliness of God’s provision and reliance on him. It’s a really wonderful sort of earthy track that works well with the sound on the rest of the EP.
The final track “Wolves and Moons” is full of more scriptural references, ultimately a story of walking a faithful life. “I used to wander these hills afraid and alone with no home to go to, but a light dawn over the ridge and I saw it for the very first time. Now your stars are my guide…” It’s very much the anthem of the wilderness types. It’s beautiful, reflective, and powerful.
Holly Arrowsmith created a wonderful, theologically-rich and personally-challenging short EP that is sure to win a lot of fans. It reflects deep truths about the human experience and the depth of life. Besides that, it’s just really easy listening music. This album could easily be the theme album for wilderness camps and folks who enjoy time spent in nature. Consider sharing this review and this album with your friends that enjoy the ’round-the-campfire music. Arrowsmith gives us that iconic campfire folk music with deep affection and great joy.