Album Review :
Holly Spears - Heartache to Hope

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Artist: Holly Spears
Title: Heartache to Hope
Girl on a Mission Music, LLC
Release Date:
Cimarron Hatch
Buy The Album:
iTunes / Big Cartel


  1. Just Another Love Song
  2. A Beautiful Mess
  3. Identity
  4. Hard to Carry
  5. A Small Voice
  6. Where’d You Go
  7. Fairytale Dreams
  8. Even Flowers
  9. Looking for You
  10. Watch Over You
  11. Learning to Love
  12. Heartache to Hope

Holly Spears, a native of Wana, West Virginia, now located in Cincinnati, Ohio, released her second full-length album earlier this year through her own label—Girl on a Mission Music, LLC. Spears, like so many other singers, got her start in a church choir. She eventually began taking piano lessons, but she had the desire to move around and dance while she played music. That led to buying a guitar and teaching herself to play. While interning at a radio station, Spears met Eliot Sloan, lead singer of Blessid Union of Souls, who liked her sound and wanted to begin developing her as an artist. Together they released Redemption Road in 2009. That brings us up to her second full-length album, Heartache to Hope.

First up on Heartache to Hope is “Just Another Love Song,” a laid back tune about wondering if someone in a relationship is for real or not. Next is “A Beautiful Mess.” The intro to this song has a lot of cool drum sounds and then an awesome guitar riff. Unfortunately, I feel that this song was a letdown due to Holly’s voice. If she were a male singer, or had a gravellier voice, the song would likely be a hit. But her voice is just too light and airy for this instrumentation that has a darker sound. “Identity” talks about a girl who changes everything about herself just for a guy, and then he doesn’t even appreciate her. “Hard to Carry” is a song about forgiveness and has beautiful guitar work throughout. “A Small Voice” reminds me of every CCM song ever sung by a female singer. But Holly’s voice sounds way better when she’s hitting long notes like on this song instead of rushing through the lyrics. “Where’d You Go” has a great intro and the guitar tone is awesome, but once again, Holly’s voice hurts the song. Her vocal is just much too plain for such amazing instrumentation.

The second half of the album includes “Fairytale Dreams,” which is exactly the type of song you’d think it would be from the title—as long as that title made you think of a big pile of clichés, that is. The lyrics of this song actually made me cringe. This is a song that might work for Disney, but I’m not sure it has a place in CCM. The album closes with 5 more mediocre songs, with the title track, “Heartache to Hope” coming last.

Overall: While this album has some absolutely incredible instrumentation on some songs, the vocals and lyrics are extremely lacking. For the most part, the album seems more like a teenage demo than a second full-length from a fairly well established artist. I just really don’t think Holly Spears has the right voice for some of the songs she’s trying to perform. Her voice is more likely to work on country style ballads. I do think there’s potential in this artist, but this album didn’t do much to showcase it. However, this is only my opinion.