CD Review: Life Goes On (Talley Trio)
Average Song Rating: 3.8 stars (of 5)
Producer: Roger Talley.
Song List: Realms of Glory Bright; I’ve Never Been Loved Like You; Winds of This World; Calvary and Amazing Grace; I Will Sing of My Redeemer; My Hope Is In the Lord; Comfort Me; Jesus You Are; Hallelujah Praise the Lamb; Life Goes On.
The Talley Trio’s upcoming release Life Goes On is somewhat unique, perhaps more for the process than the result. The trio’s label, Crossroads, started a website intended to create an online community to offer input on the project’s recording process. This website was a success. [EDIT, 3/16/13: Broken link removed.] Hundreds of fans signed up for email notification of new posts and came back to offer input as the project progressed.
The group also sought input from the typical sources (others involved in the recording process, record label staff, other industry types) and didn’t always go with the consensus on the website. (Case in point: Album Cover.) [EDIT, 3/16/13: Broken link removed.] But they ended up adopting several suggestions from commenters, even including a production idea I had. In the song “Realms of Glory Bright,” the second chorus closes with the words “And there was silence as the cross was lifted high / In the realms of glory bright.” In the initial tracking session, orchestration was brought in to create a musical crescendo at that phrase. I posted a comment suggesting that decreasing the number / volume of instruments might better accompany the idea of silence in Heaven. To my astonishment, Roger Talley agreed, and changed the soundtrack to reflect that idea.
For me, the highlight of a Talley Trio recording is typically their ballads, and this project has a strong selection. “Realms of Glory Bright” and “I Will Sing of My Redeemer” are the two strongest new ballads; they also brought back the Talleys classic “Hallelujah, Praise the Lamb,” altering the soundtrack just enough to give it a new feel without ruining the song.
The title track, penned by Marty Funderburk and Gina Boe, has a catchy melody and provides a strong finish to the album.
Finally, a word about the rating. I will probably include an explanation each time I give a 5-star rating, explaining what set the project apart from the rest. Based on personal taste alone, I would have given the project either 4 or 4.5 stars. But I try to base ratings on comparable projects, comparing an Inspirations album to other Appalachian Gospel recordings, and a Dixie Echoes album to other Traditional Quartet recordings. Comparing this Talley Trio project to other comparable projects, I concluded that it hits its mark. It contains the typical stylistic mix expected on a Talley Trio album, but the songs selected from each style include some of the best the group has found over the years.