To create the unique combination of sounds heard throughout Hills And Valleys, Wells, a two-time GRAMMY® nominee, collaborated with a variety of seasoned producers from the musical worlds of R&B, funk, pop, Gospel, urban and AC. Working alongside Chuck Butler, Jordan Sapp, Casey Brown, Colby Wedgeworth and Bernie Herms, Wells also partnered with the production team of Chuck Harmony and Claude Kelly (Rhianna, Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson) for the deluxe edition bonus track "Supernatural."
The deluxe edition also includes Wells' original demo version of "God's Not Done With You," along with his rendition of the 1970's hit "September," originally recorded by Earth Wind & Fire.
"I am so grateful for the opportunity to release my first album as a solo artist," Wells shares. "These songs have been inspired by God and my relationships with people. My hope was to write songs people needed to hear with lyrics we can all carry into every moment of life. The process of getting to this place was a path filled with many hills and valleys but I've seen the faithfulness of God in it all."
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Pop and Soul| Posted June 22, 2017
In 2011, the four-man pop band Royal Tailor emerged on the Christian music scene with their hit debut album Black and White. Led by frontman Tauren Wells, Royal Tailor brought fresh, genre-bending skill to Christian radio. The band released their self-titled sophomore album in 2013 before making the difficult decision to disband two years later. But the end of Royal Tailor was by no means the end of Wells' music career as he set out to make music and perform shows at his own pace.
Hills and Valleys marks Tauren's first full-length solo album, a collection of songs covering themes of grace, unconditional love and divine providence that beautifully captures both Tauren's songwriting and vocal skills.
The album starts off with "When We Pray," a poppy installment about the world-changing power of prayer, followed by "All About You," featuring the soulful vocals of Gotee artist Hollyn. Tauren and Hollyn harmonize seamlessly in a song about using their talents to bring glory to Christ. In "Never Gonna Let Me Go" Tauren expresses his desire to step out in faith and let God take care of the details: "I wanted to see behind the scenes, but now I'm letting go / Cause the safest place that I could be is in your great unknown."
The title track and hit single "Hills and Valleys" takes on a bit of a worshipful tone with lyrics to match. When expressing the heart behind the song, Tauren said, "No matter where we're at, we're standing in God's grace. And no matter what we have, his grace is enough." The song captures that message well.
Featuring a cameo by rapper Davies, "Nothing But You" focuses on chasing God rather than fame. Accompanied almost entirely by acoustic guitar, "Known" is beautiful and comforting, like a long hug from a loved one as it offers a simple reminder of God's amazing love. This song is about God seeing us and knowing us completely, and loving us fully despite our flaws. "It's not one or the other, it's hard truth and ridiculous grace to be known, fully known, and loved by you."
Stepping on the gas, "Love is Action" speeds up the pace with a dance track reminiscent of Royal Tailor's pop-meets-R&B style. Another dance-heavy track, "Undefeated" incorporates a tantalizing mix of EDM and hip hop. "Undefeated" was the first single from Tauren's EP of the same name last fall.
"September" delivers an old school taste as Tauren utilizes his silky vocals and ability to deftly hit high notes in a cover of the classic from 70's funk group Earth, Wind & Fire. "Supernatural" makes a great follow up to the classic song with its funk/techno feel.
The deluxe edition of Hills and Valleys features three extra songs: a demo and two remixes. The original demo version of "God's Not Done with You" is a stripped down, acoustic form of the song. Next we have the Hills remix of "Hills and Valleys." It has a slightly heavier beat, but overall is mostly indistinguishable from the original. Lastly, the Valleys version is an acoustic, piano-driven version of the song. Given the fact that Tauren first thought of the lyrics and chords for the song while playing on his church's piano, the acoustic sound feels very fitting.
The Bottom Line: With offerings of pop, funk, electronic dance and rap, Hills and Valleys continues the musical diversity we saw from Tauren in Royal Tailor. Whether you're looking for encouragement in your spiritual walk from the rich Biblical themes on the album or you just need some positive dance music, Tauren Wells has you covered.
Song to Download Now:
"Undefeated" (Get it on iTunes here.)