Victoria Bowlin: Tell us a little bit about the new project. What’s the title, and how many songs are on it?
Lauren Talley: The newest release by The Talleys is called Finest Hour, released in March 2018. It features twelve songs, five of which were co-written by myself.
VB: Who are some of the songwriters on your new album?
LT: Finest Hour features five songs that I co-wrote with Lee Black, Kenna West and Tony Wood. Dixie Phillips, co-writer of The Talleys’ 2015 Dove Award winning “Hidden Heroes,” shows up on “Grab Your Umbrella,” and the first single, “Look Up,” was contributed by Aaron Wilburn and Lee Black.
VB: What’s your favorite song from it?
LT: Well, most songwriters are partial to their own songs, (HAHA!) but one of my favorites, “Begin Again God,” came about in a roundabout way. We were recording our tracks, and the night before our last session, we decided we needed another fast song. I went back to the hotel, wrote the second verse and the chorus, and sketched out enough of the song’s basic structure to cut a track the next day. Kenna West and I finished up the lyric over the phone. I remember her singing lyrics to me over the phone while trying to pump gas!
VB: Is there a song on the album that really ministers to you personally?
LT: “Jeremiah 29:11 (You Have Plans)” is a very personal song for me; it really describes my feelings and conversations with the Lord during some hard seasons in my life. I like an honest lyric. I think sometimes we’re uncomfortable with unresolved issues and prayers that haven’t been answered yet, and I think sometimes we are afraid to ask questions because we don’t want to appear as if we’re lacking in faith. “You Have Plans” is one of those songs that helps me remember that it’s ok to not have it all figured out.
VB: Who produced your new album?
LT: My dad (Roger Talley) and I produced the album together. This is the third time we’ve shared the production duties, I think. We work together on most all aspects of it, from arrangements to deciding the direction, to the actual recording and mix. We swap the responsibilities of producing vocals while each one is singing, because it’s very difficult to produce your own vocals while singing. You need an objective ear to get the best results.
VB: What do the fans seem to like best from the project?
LT: “Grab Your Umbrella” is a fun song that really grabs people’s attention quickly in concert. We can see them trying to sing along, even on the first chorus! “Begin Again God” has been named by many reviewers as an early favorite, and “When The Answer Is No” seems to be the song that is really ministering to people. The first night we sang it, a lady told us her husband had passed away two weeks earlier, and that song had finally helped her begin to accept his death.
VB: Who are some of the musicians that played on the album?
LT: The same players have played on most of our records for the last 20 years: Tony Creasman on drums, Jeremy Medkiff on bass and electric guitars, and David Johnson on all things acoustic. Jonathan Brown played piano and keyboards on this record. We had never worked with him before, but he is one of the top musicians in Nashville today and it was immediately clear to us why he’s in such demand. We love when the players bring ideas to the songs and don’t just play the chart without any inspiration. Those guys always take a song to another level and make it more than it was at its beginning. A song may be extraordinarily written, but if it’s poorly arranged and performed, it won’t be as effective.
VB: Have you sent out a radio single from it yet?
LT: “Look Up” is the first radio single. Aaron Wilburn called my mom out of the blue one day and said, “Debra, I’ve got a song for you.” He and Lee Black were still in the writing room finishing it up. He sang it to my mom over the phone, and she knew it was something we wanted to sing. I love the fact that it has a recitation; that isn’t very common anymore. In the middle of all the chaos in the world around us, it’s a very encouraging reminder to keep our focus on Christ where it belongs.
VB: How can people get a copy of their own?
LT: You can find our recordings wherever you get your music! You can order a CD or download it from www.thetalleys.com, iTunes, Apple Music and all other platforms. And of course, we’d love for you to come to a concert and get it there too!