Fans of The Talleys know that Roger Talley, his wife Debra, and daughter Lauren have been singing together since the mid-1990s. Roger & Debra also sang in the prior decade with Roger’s brother Kirk filling the third part. Some fans may even be aware that the group can trace their roots all the way back to the late 1960s when Roger, Kirk, and their sister Diane sang in the original Talley Trio.
I didn’t realize until I checked the date, but it’s actually been three years since The Talleys last released a mainline CD of fresh material (not counting God Is Able, which was more of a table project). The next CD on the horizon for The Talleys is titled Finest Hour. It’s worth noting that Finest Hour represents the first time Lauren has been credited on a Talleys CD not only for singing, but also for co-writing five songs and sharing producer duties with Roger. Look for Finest Hour in retail and digital outlets on March 30.
Finest Hour begins with the anticipatory “Look Up,” which includes solos and spoken bits by all three group members over a driving rhythm bed that is heightened by Milton Smith’s soaring orchestrations. This is an inviting opening track. The pace slows for “Jeremiah 28:11 (You Have Plans),” a song co-written by Lauren, Kenna Turner West, and Lee Black that features Lauren on the verses. “When The Answer Is No” is in a similar reflective musical vein and features Debra’s comforting alto vocals.
“Joy” is a fun arrangement that showcases Lauren’s vocal flexibility. She and West co-wrote this song along with Tony Wood. The same songwriting team combines for “We Are Witnesses,” which describes the events of Christ’s life from the perspective of his followers. In the first verse, Lauren hits a few notes in what could fairly be called a mid-baritone range, and by the end of the song, she’s touching notes that are two octaves higher. “Grab Your Umbrella” is a lighthearted arrangement featuring Roger that is centered around Elijah.
That’s just the first half of Finest Hour, and the remaining six songs are just as good. The closing track, “Begin Again God,” has a memorable hook and an excellent message. It’s another Lauren/Kenna co-write and my personal favorite track on Finest Hour.
As with past releases by The Talleys, Lauren carries a majority of the solo features on Finest Hour. That being said, Roger and Debra are both featured more this time around than they were on some previous CDs. Ten songs are generally the minimum expected, and I’ve always considered twelve to be a bonus as long as the quality is maintained and no songs sound like “filler.” As such, Finest Hour is both a great deal in terms of song quantity and a pleasing listen from start to finish in terms of song quality and consistency.
My rating for Finest Hour is 4 1/2 Stars on a scale of 1-5 Stars.
Producers: Roger Talley and Lauren Talley
Song Titles: Look Up; Jeremiah 29:11 (You Have Plans); When the Answer Is No; Joy; We Are Witnesses; Grab Your Umbrella; Death Was Arrested; That’s What The Teacher Taught; Get Me There; Home at Last; He Restoreth My Soul; Begin Again God
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars (on a scale of 1-5 Stars)
Release Date: March 30, 2018
Label: Horizon Records