Southern Gospel Shows Up In The Most Unlikely Places

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time at all, you will know that I am a big fan of jazz music.  I was ripping a Buddy Rich jazz LP from 1972 to mp3 when a familiar tune came on.  Sure enough, the song was “That’s Enough” which was recorded back in the mid ’60s by Jake Hess and The Imperials.  Jake later recorded the song with Terry Bradshaw and also with the Talley Trio.  This recording by Buddy Rich and his big band actually features a female vocal trio, led by Buddy’s daughter Kathy.  It’s a pure big band jazz arrangement, and it’s VERY VERY good.  You just never know where a SG song will turn up!

Introducing The Talleys

News broke over the weekend that Brian Alvey, who recently married Lauren Talley, will be joining the Talley Trio on stage, making the trio an unconventional quartet.  Daniel Mount has an interview with Roger Talley that does a good job of hitting the main logistics of the change.  The group will be rebranding itself as The Talleys from the Talley Trio.  While the vocal configuration is not exactly the traditional voicings of a mixed quartet, Roger Talley is a masterful arranger, and I expect him to be able to take full advantage of the voices to create a unique sound.  They are targeting September 1st for the debut of the new sound, and this fall will begin work on a new “quartet” project with the new lineup.  With Roger at the creative helm, hang on folks, this could get real good real quick!

From The World Of Twitter

Sorry for my lack of blogging lately, but things have gotten a bit busy in the real world here recently.  I thought I’d give you all some quick hits from Twitter and Facebook…

  • The Perrys are in the studio cutting vocals for their newest project.
  • Tracking has begun at Crossroads for a new Talley Trio CD.
  • Wes Hampton is continuing work on his solo CD, and has just recorded a choir for one of the cuts.
  • The Lefevre Quartet is recording a live DVD here in the Memphis area on Sunday night.

Hopefully we can return to our regulary scheduled blogging soon, including a review of the Gus Gaches version of Legacy Five’s Just Stand.

Two New Releases Available Digitally On Crossroads’ Site

Though the official CD release dates are not until later on (Aug. 15 for the Kingsmen, Oct. 15 for the Talley Trio), both the Kingsmen’s Missing People and the Talley Trio’s Songs You Know By Heart are now available for download on Crossroads’ site.  Find the Kingsmen project here and the Talley Trio project here.  As the disclaimer states, the Talley Trio project is officially available for pre-order, but the digital version is already there.

Talley Trio Hits #1 In June

According to this comment on AVFL, the Talley Trio’s “Life Goes On” will be #1 in June.  This is the title track to the group’s latest album, and is a great song.  It’s also notable that this makes the 10th song to hit #1 for the group, and the third straight single.  Congrats to the Talley Trio, the Life Goes On project was one of the strongest of the year in 2008.

Top 10 Songs Of 2008

I’ve taken the opportunity to revisit the albums that I’ve personally heard and/or reviewed this year, and compiled a list of the top 10 songs that were released on albums this year.  This list has NOTHING to do with chart action, or albums recorded in 2007 or earlier, but is solely a list of the 10 best songs I’ve heard on albums this year.  I’d dare say this list makes a pretty decent compilation.

  1. “When God Ran” – Kingsmen
  2. “Glorious” – Mike Lefevre Quartet
  3. “Holy Of Holies” – The Dills
  4. “Hallelujah Praise The Lamb” – Talley Trio
  5. “He Loves Me” – N’Harmony
  6. “Welcome To Heaven” – Triumphant
  7. “I Cast My Bread Upon The Water” – Gold City
  8. “The Blood On My Hands” – Skyline Boys
  9. “I Will Sing Of My Redeemer” – Talley Trio
  10. “Love Like The Sun” – Prophets

It’s hard to narrow down these songs, but these 10 have all stood out to me as songs that have knocked my socks off when I heard them.  I could very easily come up with another 5-6 that are probably just as deserving to be in this list, but this is my personal top 10 at this point in time.

Top 5 Albums of 2008

I’ve gone back over reviews and drafts that didn’t see daylight (yet) and have come up with my list of the top 5 albums released in 2008. So without further adieu:

2008’s Top 5 Albums

  1. Mike Lefevre Quartet – Nothin’ But Good
  2. Kingsmen – When God Ran
  3. Talley Trio – Life Goes On
  4. Triumphant – Intermission
  5. Gold City – Moment Of Truth

These are 5 excellent albums, and each has its own merit. You can’t go wrong with any of these projects.

NQC Week Begins

After a fairly busy news week last week, it is time for the NQC madness to begin.  Sadly, I won’t be attending, but will do my best to keep you, dear readers, updated on any and all news stories that happen to come around.  One interesting development already is that fellow blogger Daniel Mount is guest-blogging about the Talley Trio’s NQC appearances on the Talley Tree-O site.

Review: Talley Trio – Life Goes On

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.

Tracks:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  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.

Fan Input Into Artist’s Recordings

A new trend seems to be popping up in the Southern Gospel industry.  Artists are beginning to seek input from their fans when working on a new recording.  The Talley Trio started their Talley Tree-O website for this purpose, and according to their latest e-newsletter, The Dills have started a blog on their site for this same purpose.  I think this is a great idea, because it serves the purpose of reconnecting the artist with their fans.  I recently participated in a conference call with some other bloggers and industry personnel, and this very concept was discussed fairly at length.    It also hearkens back to something that DBM had posted a while back about the concept of 1000 True Fans.  I think this is a great way for artists to develop these “True Fans”, and in turn create music that their fans love, not just music their fans like.  That can’t help but be a good thing for both the artist in question and the industry as a whole.  Be looking for more groups to do something similar.

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