CD Review: Talley Trio (Rise Above)

RATING: 4 Stars

Horizon Records
Producer: Roger Talley

Song Titles: “I Cannot Tell It All,” “Red Letter Day,” “Truth Is Marching On,” “His Hand In Mine,” “He Came Through,” “My Help/My Tribute,” “Speak The Word, Claim The Name, Plead The Blood,” “That’s Why I Believe,” “Orphans Of God,” “A Promise Made,” “I Will Sing Of Your Faithfulness,” and “Moutain Mover”

Don’t let the blah cover art fool you…peeling the cellophane wrapper off Rise Above by the Talley Trio reveals a nice twelve-page booklet, complete with excellent photos shot on location at the Grove Arcade in Asheville, NC. Older fans should especially appreciate the included lyrics which are printed in a simple all-caps font that’s large enough to actually read.

The black gospel intro of “I Cannot Tell It All” entices you to spend some time in the Talley Trio’s musical world. It quickly settles into an easy pop groove, punctuating the praise oriented lyrics with layered and overlapping vocal phrases, especially near the end of the cut. “Red Letter Day” has a driving Country feel. “Truth Is Marching On” is a slower anthem featuring Debra on the first verse and Lauren on the second. The song builds to a big climax at the end. Mosie Lister‘s classic “His Hand In Mind” hearkens back to the Big Band era with a Jason Webb orchestra arrangement featuring Debra. It’s my favorite cut on Rise Above…simple and nostalgic in delivery, yet very effective.

The pace quickly changes with the next selection, an upbeat cover of Russ Taff‘s “He Came Through.” Lauren does a good job with it, but falls shy of the energy level found in either the original Taff solo version or the Taff/Gaither Vocal Band version. “My Help/My Tribute” is a slower worship song blending Andrae Crouch‘s classic chorus from “My Tribute” with more recently written lyrics by Jackie Farris. It should go over well in a concert setting. “Speak The Word, Claim The Name, Plead The Blood” is the first track on the CD to feature Roger…by the second verse, Debra takes over. The lyric is a bit generic on this one, relying on phrases that have been used often in the past. “That’s Why I Believe” returns to the driving feel of “Red Letter Day,” which helps tie the CD together stylistically. “Orphans Of God” is a well written anthem by Joel Lindsey and Twila Labar. “A Promise Made” features Roger and has a modern pop feel.

“I Will Sing Of Your Faithfulness” opens with the second movement from Beethoven’s Sonata #8…a simple piano with a bit of string orchestra support. The Talley Trio wrote this song along with Rebecca Peck. I like the way the sonata is incorporated throughout the song rather than just being used for an intro. It may be outside the scope of Southern Gospel radio in terms of style, but this is an excellent arrangement. The NSync inspired “Mountain Mover” is a bit more aggressive than the other pop styled tracks on Rise Above. It catches you off guard after the relaxing “I Will Sing Of Your Faithfulness” with a “put the mic in a paper cup” vocal effect on the intro. “I Cannot Tell It All” combines with “Mountain Mover” to provide effective, memorable bookends to the CD. I’m glad to see that some thought went into the order of songs on Rise Above.

Talley Trio fans will enjoy Rise Above, especially if their favorite group member is Lauren. Roger and Debra get a few featured spots and provide background vocals. Rise Above has some great moments that stand out. It’s possible that the CD could have been strengthened further if one or two of the weaker cuts had been removed. On the other hand, the Talley Trio appeals to a variety of fans both old and young, so including all twelve tracks was probably the best decision.

Category CD Reviews

David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both and David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

MusicScribe Comments

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1 Comment

  1. Daniel J. Mount
    Reply June 20, 06:04 #1 Daniel J. Mount

    David, I was slightly amused to see this comment: “Talley Trio fans will enjoy Rise Above, especially if their favorite group member is Lauren.”

    This struck me as amusing because I had been thinking that the cover art subtly suggested the same thing. When the title is Rise Above and the cover art depicts Lauren front-and-center, above her parents, isn’t that sending a subtle message?

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