On the heels of her debut single “Dear Juliana,'' Carley Arrowood is quickly becoming a consequential new voice in bluegrass and Americana music. With a vocal delivery that contains sincerity and power — and musical ideas that cover territory beyond the assumed landscape — Arrowood shows depth and insight.
For her new single on the Mountain Home label, Arrowood delivers a heartfelt “The Ballad Of Calvary,” memorably framing the sacred story of the crucifixion in a setting that reaches through the sounds of her Appalachian musical heritage to find their Celtic roots.
Surrounded by tin whistle, guitar, electric bass, percussion, and her own fiddle, the singer’s voice recounts the familiar tale in a rising, cinematic arc that leads from hushed contemplation to the bold assertion of faith in the song’s closing line: “the story doesn’t end at Calvary.”
For Arrowood, who wrote it, “The Ballad Of Calvary” is a gift.
“All I really know to say about this song is that the Lord gave it to me. Three years ago I was messing around on the guitar while watching a movie called ‘Son Of God,’” she recalls. “And in the scene where Jesus is carrying His cross through Jerusalem to Calvary, the first line of the song just hit me: ‘He’s the beautiful Savior.’ I played some minor chords and came up with the progression, and I knew right then it was going to be an emotional, Celtic-sounding song. After that, my heart rate went up. I prayed, ‘Lord if you want me to write this song, give me the words. I don’t want to mess this up.’ Five days later, the night before our homecoming service at church, I was tweaking the last chorus and it was like God said, ‘Stop, Carley. It’s done.’ I got chills and started crying happy tears, and I sang it at church the next morning.”
“I hope this ballad helps listeners know that God truly does love them, so much that He sent Jesus to Calvary to die for them,” Arrowood continues. “But more importantly, as they’ll hear in the last line, the story doesn’t end there, because He was raised to life again so they may have new life in Him.”
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