Singer/songwriter Jillian Edwards’s voice is laced with joy even as we talk about how different life has been during quarantine and what it’s like to debut her EP without the conventional publicity events such as touring and in-person interviews. Her schedule is just as packed however, staying at home with her husband (Will Chapman of indie rock band Colony House), a growing and active toddler, and fielding questions about her life and new project, Meadow.
It is crazy times. It’s my first release of music in a handful of years and the timeline for it kept getting kind of moved around for reasons out of our control. And now it’s getting released in the middle of this crazy time in the world and it feels right, honestly. I’m glad that I am not ultimately in charge of all that. The Lord has been so gracious in His timing.
The elements of Jillian Edwards’s story are like the description of a Hallmark movie of the week. A gutsy move to Nashville from her native Texas in order to follow her dreams might sound like a leap of faith, but Jillian didn’t dive in without vetting the Craigslist apartment and gaining full parental approval.
I just felt like home. I dunno, it felt so clear to me. This is where I needed to be.
After graduating from Baylor University and settling in Nashville, Jillian spent time crafting her songwriting skills and making music. Years of dedication started paying off as others took notice, and several of her songs appeared in commercials and popular television shows including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Nashville,” and “Pretty Little Liars.”
I loved making music. I was playing shows and recording and writing all throughout college. I guess I released one record during college and through that record I made connections with some really wonderful people. That’s what got me interested in Nashville because they were based there. So, I went back and finished my senior year at Baylor. A few days after graduation I drove back to Nashville and had a house lined up and was just ready to be there. There’s a lot of Texas people in Tennessee, actually. They feel similar in some ways, Dallas and Nashville, kind of like sister cities. There was never really any fear attached to the move. My mom and dad are just incredible. I had this clear calling and desire to do music forever. They were a huge piece of me feeling so comfortable to make the move, and I had some wonderful friends here with me. It was pretty much the stereotypical “load up my car and bring my guitar and drive to Nashville.”
Her project Meadow, she says, is a deeply telling collection of melodies and lyrics which attempt to give voice to the state of her mind and heart. I was privileged to be able to preview it before speaking with Jillian, on a night when insomnia took hold and my brain refused to settle down. The choice of title, Meadow, truly exemplifies the EP’s atmosphere. The movements of the music ushered in a feeling of peace and rest. The track “Whisper Hymn” is a perfect example.
All of the songs I really wanted to, just like you’re saying, usher in peace. The EP is called Meadow because meadow is the name that I’ve given this secret place of abundance that we have in the life of Christ within us. We have access to full peace that surpasses all of the circumstances we deal with.
“Whisper Hymn” – that very first song, is really just a little stream of consciousness. It’s not very long, but it felt like the first step onto this path of peace and of proclaiming God’s promises. Experiencing what it is to be His child and be totally cared for, to be safe to ask questions, and walk through scary and confusing times and feel taken care of by Him.
I asked Jillian about a post she shared on Facebook where she stated “What if I’m so hungry for affection because God desires to fill me with himself? So now this hunger is a blessing rather than a burden.” It’s a recurring theme on the EP.
It’s a recurring theme in the songs because it’s a recurring theme in my life! I want to be all about surrendering myself to be kept by Christ and to fully live in what He has done for me, to let Him speak for me and who I am and embrace my weaknesses. Because His strength lies there. Instead of trying to muster up all my own strength – that’s just exhausting. It’s not my nature to sit back and release control and give my consent to someone else to take over. But it is the divine nature to do that. So, I’m trying to live in that place. “Abide” is a big word in my life and sort of encompasses that theme as well.
Another song from the EP, “But I Know You,” was released as a single. The lyrics question the purpose of struggle, but also affirm belief in God’s lovingkindness:
I don’t know the mystery of your ways
I don’t know the purpose of the pain
But I know You…
…I am held in Your love and You won’t let go
I know you and that’s all that I need to know
“But I Know You” is a song that I wanted to use to speak truth to myself and to anyone who’s in the middle of the questions of life – when something happens in your life that makes you feel out of control and have no idea what’s going on. God is still who He says He is and His promises are still true. Faith – it’s being sure of what we hope for. By faith, I do not have to know the answers. All I have to know is my heavenly Father because I know who He is. He is good and He’s for me. “But I Know You” helps me remember that and hopefully it can help someone too.
Check out Meadow on any streaming service and the video for “But I Know You” below!