“Ancient Voices In The Modern World: ‘Sunland’ The New Album From Sherry Cothran

'Sunland' The New Album From Sherry Cothran

Seamlessly blending the worlds of ancient text and modern music, singer/songwriter, Sherry Cothran, has revived extraordinary stories of some of the more obscure female characters from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament through her stunning new album ‘Sunland’. Combining over 15 years of experience as a musician (best known as the lead singer for the award winning band The Evinrudes) with her current profession as pastor/preacher of a multi-cultural, urban congregation in Nashville, Cothran brings a fresh perspective to the practice of creative and thoughtful religion in the 21st century.

Produced by Cothran and featuring the incredible talents of Andy Hull (Woody Bradshaw, The Evinrudes) on drums, Ethan Pilzer (Big & Rich, Jewel) on bass, Brian Reed (The Evinrudes, Smilin’ Bobby and Hidden Charms) on guitar, Jonathon Hamby (Carrie Underwood, Amy Grant) on keyboard, Conni Ellisor (Nashville Symphony Orchestra, New York Ballet) on violin, and Cathy Chalmers (Phil Keaggy, Kyler, Muriel Anderson) on percussion, brought ‘Sunland’ to life through it’s unique subject matter but also its signature sound.

Cothran received her Masters of Divinity from Vanderbilt University and it was during her studies that she dug into the Old Testament texts and started to write songs based on the lives of these ancient women. “These women were familiar to me,” states Cothran. “Of course I had heard all of their stories growing up in Sunday School but I had not really encountered them deeply or listened intently to their voices in the wind of the text. Perhaps I was afraid to go there before. I was always taught that the Bible is a living word, I never quite knew what that meant until I engaged the voices of women like the Witch of Endor, Rahab, Deborah, Jael, Jepthah’s Daughter and others as they began living in me, changing me, writing me.”

She goes on by saying, “I found the voices of these courageous women hidden in the corners of an ancient text I had heard all my life. Their stories have the power to resurrect hope and healing through an honest encounter with their world, the world of the ancient text, a wilderness of possibility.” 

Cothran is not only noted for her incredible musicality but for her deeply poetic and spiritually innovative lyrics.

“‘Sunland’ is the best way imaginable to become immersed in the stories of these Biblical women. After reading the Biblical text and hearing Cothran’s song and creative interpretation we experience each story woven into the very fabric of our lives. We are not merely taught these stories, our lives are re- scripted by them and the truths they so vividly express,” shares John McClure, author of ‘Mashup Religion: Pop Music and Theological Invention’. 

“’Sunland’ recasts the stories of lesser-known women of the Hebrew Bible who opened themselves to the transcendent and accomplished extraordinary things. Working with a folk, rock and at times jazz-inflected palette, Cothran infuses her arrangements with Latin, Middle Eastern and Eastern European modalities as haunting as the lives of the courageous women she so vividly reimagines,” states Bill Friskics-Warren, author of ‘I’ll Take You There: Pop Music and the Urge for Transcendence’. 

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