Allison Speer: I have always wanted to sing in a group and nobody ever asked me to join them. I then went begging to be in every group and they all said “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” So when Brian woke one day and began talking about singing the old Speer Family music, I immediately applied for the job of singing Mom Speer’s part. I nearly did not get it. They really wanted Lauren Tally, but she was booked!
SC: Having grown up on a farm as a child, how has your humble beginning influenced you in your position at this time?
AS: I do think being raised on a farm has its benefits. You learn early in life what hard work is and how to pace yourself. You learn the importance of prioritizing, responsibility, and patience. The farm teaches you reliance on God for all your provisions. Brian and I have just moved to a farm in Kentucky where we now are pursuing that connection with God and the land in our lives. I learned honesty and reliability early in life and that has given me a work ethic and a Biblical worldview. More and more I see those things diminishing in our culture and I am thankful for the Godly underpinning I had as I grew up.
SC: How do you feel the Lord has prepared you over the years to be in the ministry that you are in today?
AS: God has placed in my life mentors and teachers to guide me. Squire Parsons was the first real mentor who brought me into the world of Gospel music. Then Maurice Templeton began supporting my musical journey. Lois Jane Wallace and Gloria Gaither were both instrumental in changing the course of my life. God has also grown me with my Liberty University education in Theology. What a wonderful Lord we serve and what an awe-inspiring Word He has given us. The ministry I participate in stems from that Word. If it doesn’t, then I am clueless about how to help people. The Spirit gives us an understanding of people’s needs, and the Bible gives us words of Life to share.
SC: In what ways are you preserving the legacy of The Speer Family, and in what ways are you leaving a new legacy?
AS: We are not so much trying to create a new legacy as to just add to the existing story of the Singing Speer Family. Three generations have passed since this music began and it has lasted because it is full of eternal truths. Eternal truths are worth singing over and over. They are always relevant to listeners. We are only recipients of the great, good news put to melody and allowing those songs to be boxed up and put on a shelf seemed an inappropriate thing to do. So, we will sing them again. Dad and Mom Speer had a vision of what community looked like in heaven. We yearn for that same unity with people. Their songs projected the benefits of that great throng of believers and how we can win souls to Christ by unadulterated love! That is their legacy, and we live in the light of it as their grandchildren.
SC: What person in gospel music has had the greatest impact on you and why?
AS: Maurice Templeton, the former owner of the Singing News Magazine and NQC Board member, called me at my former job at a bank and asked me if I wanted to sing Southern Gospel Music. I said yes, and he helped put me on the road sharing my faith in Jesus through music. He taught me the sanctity of the calling on my life and how to grow in that calling. He told me he would assure that I never made less a month than what I made at the bank. I know there were times that he sent money to churches where I sang to make sure that I had enough. He denies that, but a Godly man would keep that to himself, and that is what Maurice is. I never worried about money while Maurice was my booking agent. He had a calling on his life to support young people who ministered. I am a different person because of him.
SC: What is your favorite song to sing?
AS: Oh, that changes on a regular basis! The favorite song for me to sing with the New Speer Family is the Dad Speer classic, “He Is Mine and I Am His.” It was the last song he ever wrote, and Gordon Mote captured the lyrical depth in his musical arrangement. Other than that, ask me today and it might be “I Then Shall Live” by Gloria Gaither and tomorrow it might be “I Don’t Want to Get Adjusted”. That is the beauty of music. It goes with you in every transition of life with songs that soothe the traumas, strengthen the backbone, quiet the emotions, and rouse the soldiers.
SC: It seems you always have such an amazing impact on the audience no matter what you are doing. What do you think is the key to communicating to the crowd?
AS: Well, thank you for that compliment. Honestly, this is the key….BE YOURSELF! You can teach people music. You can teach a person to communicate and move on stage. You can teach a person to memorize jokes or segues. You cannot teach a person to be himself. That comes from an internal decision to allow yourself the room to fail. Once you see that failure is informative and instructive to what you are doing, you become vulnerable to the possibility of a connection to the audience as a comfort zone. That takes time, contemplation, prayer and practice.
SC: Tell us about your ministry outside of singing and speaking — your jewelry.
AS: My art of glass work is a continual joy to me. I put a small chip of red glass in each design to represent the completed work of Jesus. Each thing I make with my hands is astounding to me that I could create a thing of beauty. Painting, sculpting, gardening, are all a comfort and relaxation to my life. It is unbelievable to have another person say “Oh! I like that enough to pay you for it.” God has allowed me to be able to rejoice in the work of my hands. Lots of people are creative but they never get to the place where it is okay to consider what they make and rejoice in it. God has taught me to giggle with childlike humility at what I create.
SC: What is the most important thing you have learned so far in your life’s journey?
AS: First – I have nothing to lose. Second – There are no real comfort zones. That is a made-up expression that keeps us tied to the ground when God has given us not only wings, but planes to soar. There are so many things to try and do and experience in life. Learning new things feels risky but it really isn’t. Trying a new art or taking a class, singing a new style of music or making a new friend seems like you must put it all on the line, but you don’t lose when God is in your heart. He does not sponsor flops! 3. Be holy as He is holy. This brings peace and serenity.
To find out more about Allison Speer, go check out her website: https://allisonspeer.com/