three musicians you should know

Written by Sandra Heska King

PRAY EDITOR "Once a nurse, always a nurse," they say. But now I spend my days with laptop and camera in tow as I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. I'm a Michigan gal, mom to two, grandmom to two, and wife to one. My husband and I live on 50 acres in the same 150-plus-year-old farmhouse he grew up in. I love this quote by Mary Oliver, "Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." That's how I want to live. And I'm still learning how to be. Still.

November 26, 2013

I’m trying to come down from a Frio River high after four days at Laity Lodge in the Hill Country of Texas with members of The High Calling.

On second thought, I don’t want to come down.

I want to immerse myself in the sounds of running water and a crackling fire, the clatter of dishes, quiet whispers and holy laughter, soft prayers in corners where two or three had gathered, and voices raised in worship. And I can do that virtually because Facebook is virtually exploding with photos.

I met three new-to-me musicians there–Christopher Williams along with Drew and Ellie Holcomb.

Christopher is a songwriter and storyteller from Nashville. He helped our group load suitcases at the airport, which to me spoke straight up of a spirit of humility.  He’s got a fun sense of humor and loses himself in the rhythm and message of his songs, while he accompanies himself with guitar and African djembe hand drum. He supports Blood:Water Mission, whose heart is to empower communities to work together to end the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa. He also has a heart for International Justice Mission, a human rights agency that works to rescue and support victims of trafficking and abuse as well as work for appropriate action against perpetrators.

Drew and Ellie, also of Nashville, arrived with their sweet baby, Emmylou, who “challenged” her mom for the microphone. They ooze Jesus joy, and it’s  contagious. I read that Drew collects books, speaks French, and has a Master’s degree in divinity. Way cool. “Each of us has a story,” he says, “and it is the only one we can tell.” Ellie also tours with their band, “The Neighbors,” although she plans to step back to part-time in order to focus on some of her own music and mother their daughter, who also travels with them, from home. She supports the Mocha Club, a community of people that give up some mochas to help make a difference in Africa, as well as FashionABLE, whose goal is to create sustainable business in Africa–to create opportunities for vulnerable women.

Anyway, I think you’d like them and their music.

Here’s just a taste of it.


“Praise the Lord, O my soul

Oh and all my inmost being

Praise the Lord, O my soul

Don’t forget His love.” ~ From Psalm 103

video by David Rupert

“So come and find me

In the darkest night of my soul

In the shadow of the valley

I am dying for you to make me whole

For you to make me whole.”

video by Sandra Heska King

“Carry me to the gate called beautiful

Let the door swing open wide

You might see me as a broken vessel

But to this body I am not tied.”


  1. Ann Kroeker

    I’m so glad you pulled this together and highlighted these amazing, talented, earnest singers and songwriters. That concert was the best concert I’ve been to in years–of course, the small, intimate setting made it super fun, like we were all just a bunch of friends hanging out. And yet, it wasn’t pretend. I think we did become friends and we were hanging out.

    Anyway, I’m going to point people to this so that they can get a taste. Thank you!

    • Sandra Heska King

      We did all become friends, I think, all just resting by the river. I think we can get so caught up in “celebrity” when we’re all just flawed folks trying to find and point the way. It was so much fun!

      Oh, BTW–speaking of celebrities, Christopher signed one of his CDs… to me… personally… 😉

      • Ann Kroeker

        He likes you way better than me (maybe because I didn’t buy his album while I was there).

        • Sandra Heska King

          Ha! I’ll let you touch it next time I see you. 😉

  2. SimplyDarlene

    Oh wow. Thanks for sharing these vids.

    I’m terribly sad that I didn’t get to join you all, but so thankful you had such a blessed time. Hearing some of the beauty that you experienced makes me remember that we are all His — and when united by that sorta love, there ain’t nothing to be sad about.


    • Sandra Heska King

      I hope one day you can come, Miss Darlene. And yes, when we’re united by that sorta love, there’s no sadness. Just an aching to, as someone said, smell each other’s breath. 😉

  3. Megan Willome

    So good, Sandy!

    • Sandra Heska King

      They were so, so good. I’m glad I got to be with them with you.

    • Sandra Heska King

      Thanks, Sam! Now let me go find that photo of you and Christopher…

  4. Patricia W Hunter

    Oh, my…that music…the lyrics…all of it. How I longed to be there… with all of you…and yet there is no way that this “broken vessel” that is me could accomplish it. What words of comfort in those lyrics: “You might see me as a broken vessel…But to this body I am not tied.” So grateful for all that the LORD accomplished in that place.

    • Deidra

      I have that song on repeat in my head. It won’t go away, and I’m not mad about that.

    • Sandra Heska King

      Those lyrics won’t leave me alone, either. And I’m still in awe of how he can sing and drum. It’s like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time.

  5. Deidra

    Weren’t they wonderful? Just. Wow.

  6. pastordt

    What fun you all had! I am so glad. Love these samples, Sandy. Thank you.

    • Sandra Heska King

      I’m glad you like them, Diana. Next year, though, I hope you can come.

  7. Nancy Franson

    Still getting caught up from the many excellent posts written about our time together at Laity. Thanks so much for including these videos–so good, watching and listening again. I think I need to ask Santa for some of their recordings 🙂


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three musicians you should know

by Sandra Heska King time to read: 2 min