This is the latest release from the Talley Trio, and is a bit groundbreaking, as the group solicited opinons from their fans through the Talley Tree-O blog. From opinions on songs to cover photos, and now even to picking the first single, the Talley Trio has sought the opinions and advice from their fans, in what is an interesting experiment by the group and their label, Crossroads.
- Realms Of Glory Bright – This is a great opener, a mid to uptempo anthemic tune that features some nice use of unison and two part harmony in addition to the group’s signature trio harmonies. 8.5/10
- I’ve Never Been Loved Like You – This is a nice smooth, acoustic country sounding ballad. Good vocals and smooth harmonies highlight this cut. 7/10
- Winds Of This World – Familiar spiritual that will hearken fans of the group back to their early hit “Searchin’.” Lauren Talley really shines with these type of songs. This wouldn’t be a bad choice to single. 9/10
- Calvary And Amazing Grace – Debra Talley takes the first verse on this powerful ballad. This song has some great lyrics. Lauren takes the lead on the subsequent verses. This is the type of ballad that plays to the strengths of this group. This song sounds like it would fit on a Brian Free and Assurance album as well. This is not a bad thing. More on the BF&A connection later. 9/10
- I Will Sing Of My Redeemer – This song starts with the first verse of the hymn “Redeemed” acappella with some nice cascading harmony. The song then kicks in with a very progressive edge. The Talley Trio has done of a lot of P&W inspired tunes recently, and this song is the latest entry. To me, this is one of the highlights of the project, and is the Talley Trio at its absolute best. Not sure if it is SG radio-friendly, but it is a great song. 10/10
- My Hope Is In The Lord – Very moving, powerful lyric on this ballad. Roger Talley performs the lyric brilliantly, his interpretation on the end of the second verse and first couple lines of the chorus perfectly accentuating the lyric. This probably won’t be a radio hit, but should be a song that moves audiences for years to come. 8/10
- Comfort Me – Very tender acoustic guitar driven ballad sung by Debra Talley. This song really fits her voice perfectly. Nothing flashy here, but I like the way the song starts as a solo, then Lauren enters for some two part harmony for a while, then finally Roger enters to complete the trio. Solid song with good lyrics. 7.5/10
- Jesus You Are – Uptempo progressive number that is actually a bit reminiscent of the old Point of Grace tune “Shall We Gather At The River”. This is a really nice cut, and actually, I think would be a good choice for a debut single from the project. Good lyrics and a nice performance by the group make this another high point of the recording. 9/10
- Hallelujah Praise The Lamb – Wow. One of the songs that has been most requested for the current Talley Trio to recut finds its home here. Lauren sings the lead and does a fantastic job, as expected. I mentioned more about a BF&A connection, and here’s what I mean. When she is in her higher registers, like in several places on this song, Lauren Talley has a tendency to sound a bit like Brian Free. I’d never noticed it before, but someone posted the comparison on the SN forums recently, and I can hear the comparison on this song. This is not a bad thing at all, just something that I found a bit interesting. Incredible song, and an incredible performance. Can I give this a 12? 10/10
- Life Goes On – Midtempo progressive song. Another very solid performance with the lead alternating between Lauren and Roger on the first verse before Lauren settles into the lead line. Nice arrangement, with much of the song in a minor key. Several commenters on the Talley Tree-O blog have mentioned that they’d like to have this as the debut single. I really don’t have an argument here, this is a very catchy song and would probably do well. Lauren’s sustained note leading to a key change for a last chorus and tag is especially nice. 9/10
Overall: 9/10 This is a fantastic CD by the Talley Trio. The arrangements range from acoustic country to inspirational to progressive with a contemporary flair. The vocal arrangements are very good as well, with a lot of use of unison and two part harmony interspersed with the normal three part trio harmony. I’ve always thought that this group had a great sound, but for some reason I’ve never really gotten into the group. That may change on the strength of this project. The concept of the Talley Tree-O blog is a very good one, and if it continues to lead to CDs that are this strong, they need to keep it up, and more groups should follow suit. A definite “must-have” CD, that is comparable to the latest from the Kingsmen in terms of overall quality.