The Beelers are a family trio based in Union County, Tennessee. Members include siblings Cory, Robin, & Tina. "You're Loved" is the trio's third album to be released. Previously, they have had released two records on their own: "Common Ground" and "Follow the Road." "You're Loved" is the Beelers' debut Skyland Records, a subsidiary of Crossroads Records. With the support of a major label, the quality of the album shines in terms of the A-list of songwriters including Lee Black, Kenna West, Rebecca J. Peck, Jason Cox, and many others. And with producer Roger Talley on the helm, the sound is impeccable, crisp, and spot-on.
Q: Thank you for doing this interview with us. Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
We are The Beelers, a trio of siblings. My brother, Cory is 35 years old and is an ordained evangelist. He's a better preacher than singer, but don't say I said that! ha! My sister, Tina who is a few years older, usually serves as the referee for Cory and myself. We asked the audience from the stage, do you believe in miracles? and tell them we are a miracle, for not having killed each other from traveling the country together for the past 8 years! ha! we have learned thru our experiences on the road, we all have big personalities and each of us are always right :)
On a serious note, the man who owned Praise 96.3 in Seymour, TN heard Cory preaching and singing at one of their events and just approached him and asked if he'd be interested in meeting one of his friends in Nashville and possibly doing this for a living. Well, that has been Cory's dream forever. He wants to preach/sing to a stadium full of people. So they arranged for him to meet Beckie Simmons and her husband, Glen Bates at Lee Greenwood's place in Sevierville on the eve of Black Friday 2009.
Our Mother died at 48 years old with colon cancer and my sister and I have assumed the role of his Mother and are protective over him. Cory was also born triplets (3 little boys). One baby didn't make it through delivery and our other little brother had an aneurysm when he was 5 years old and died. Our home was so sad. And now Cory is the only one left. We say he has the talents of three! As he can do almost anything. He can play almost every instrument, yet none of us can read music!
So we go with him to Sevierville that night (only for support, we were on our way of town to Nashville for the biggest shopping day of the season) and after he plays the piano and sings a couple for her. Beckie tells him..."you're too contemporary...you need parts/harmony". So Cory kindly offered us and said "my sisters can sing." We go down to meet with them, thinking we were just going to say goodbye and thanking them for their time (mind you, Mr. Chris White was also standing right there beside them) and they asked us to sing. We refused! As this was not in my plans! the thought of traveling and singing did not entice me in the least, nor my sister!
So after they keep begging, we sing one song...the rest is the beginning of the story of the past 8 years. we were in Beckie's living room within 3 days listening to songs to record. We have had many doors open for us and meeting some of the greatest people that's ever stepped on the earth throughout this experience. We have been on TBN with Jason Crabb as our host (who humorously pointed out how funny it is when God manipulates your steps...when you think you're going shopping, but wound up forming a group that night).
We have been on Daystar in Texas, hosted by Guy Penrod. We were on the roster for Dollywood for 6 consecutive years. Now, fast forward to last year. We just started feeling like maybe we were to the end of the journey, thinking maybe God had other plans for us. We received a call from a friend in GA who asked us to "fill in" for a group that got sick. It was an annual event to benefit the Shriners and he was in a panic. Our dad is a Shriner, so we agreed.
Knowing full well, we weren't getting paid, our hotel, gas,etc. would come from us, but it was for the Shriners and they were down a group. So we all agreed we would go...expecting absolutely nothing in return (I think God likes that). And that's the evening we met Roger Talley. The Talleys were the featured group. Our sound was terrible! so many things went wrong that night! But we noticed Roger standing at our table while we were on stage and the second we came off the stage, he approached us. I personally thought he was going to tell us we needed to find another job and that we were an embarrassment to the industry. But he was so kind and compassionate. He said we "inspired him" on stage. That made us so happy.
We instantly felt a connection to him and felt a friendship blossom. After about 2 months of meeting him, we received a letter from him. He said "I don't know what God has in store for your family, I just know I want to be a part of it". That just about killed us. So we met up with him for supper and the rest is history. another little tidbit is that my husband, Steve who owns a successful pool company here in Knoxville, is our manager and actually owns The Beelers. He does it all, he's the soundman, the money person, the IT person who runs the website, the booker of events, the keeper of the dates, etc. I never would've believed that my husband who is so backward and shy can dress up like a million bucks and shake hands with everyone saying "Hi, I'm Steve with The Beelers" its a beautiful sight!
Q: How did you get to work with the people at Skyland/Crossroads for the release of "You're Loved?"
Although we feel there's some irony in the fact that after we sang for Beckie and Glen that night in Sevierville, Chris White handed us a card and told us to call him sometime. But we came to Crossroads/Skylande through Roger because that's who he uses. They've treated us like family!
Q: Did you approach the making of "You're Loved" any different compared to your previous two albums?
The different approach on You're Loved vs anything we've done in the past is that Roger came to my house and brought us songs to listen to and let them "speak to us" giving us the privilege to choose our own songs. That is so very important to us. It's hard enough to sing the songs 10,000 times at 10,000 places, much less them not really appealing to you in the first place. So that's the advantage we have with these new 12 songs. They already live in our spirits. We would sing them at the White House!
Q: On this record you have Roger Talley on the helm. What was it like working with him?
Each of us has referred to our summer and working with THE Roger Talley and Crossroads as a "vacation". He is so mild and easy to get along with. When you have siblings like us, it doesn't take much to pick a fight, ha! Roger has become the missing piece to The Beelers. We went to eat one day and all rode together, after laying a few tracks and Cory drove, I said "Cory! Roger barely has room to get out of his door, you parked too close to the other car"...Roger just kindly spoke up in his sweet voice and said "Robin, Cory parked his car perfectly, I have just enough room to get out" HA! He is a pure joy. From start to finish, he made this transition easy and comfortable. He is now a Beeler :)
Q: One of the standout tracks is "Those Memories of You (Ringing of the Hammer)" which is a re-writing of Alan O'Bryant's "Those Memories of You," which was a Top 5 hit for the Trio (Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris). Tell us the story behind this song.
There is definitely a story behind "Ringing of the Hammer". That song was very popular around 1987, the year my little brother died. My Mother was 38 years old when he died and she was never the same afterwards. She would smile and be kind, but it was like her world turned "gray". Every time that song would come on the radio (and back then you were at the mercy of the radio and what they played, not like an MP3 or Pandora today) she would just light up! she would make everyone be quiet and she would listen with her hands over her face! it was so sad but on the other hand, it seemed to make her happy to grieve when that song came on, like she was giving him reverence. It was a beautiful thing.
So when that song went off the charts and started to die, my Dad put Godly lyrics with it and started singing it at church. There was a local group here in Knoxville called The Joyful Sounds. This was 3 ladies, two of which are my aunts (Dad's sisters). They took off with "Ringing of the Hammer" here in Knoxville and on the Mulls Singing Convention but never knew how to go about getting rights/permission to sing it and record it, so it died down.
When Roger was coming to the house and bringing songs, he said "We really need one more. Can y'all think of anything that we could do? We really just need one more". So I just spoke up and said what about "Ringing of the Hammer" ? We, the Beelers, have never sung that song in our lives. And we were just sitting in front of the fireplace and started singing it, the parts fell perfectly into place and was one of the easiest songs we've ever sung in our lives! Roger said "I'll take that". It was so sweet and it thrilled our hearts.
We still didn't know how to go about getting permission, but Roger said just leave that to Jeff Collins and Greg Bentley. We saved that track for last just in case we didn't get permission and the day was lingering on and getting late and Greg came flying through the door with the fax in his hand, saying that said "sure!" We were elated! Timing means so much to us. We felt that was a God thing and to us, that musical track stands out more than any of the others to me. There is so much history with that little tune, it's deep in our souls and like a raging fire. Can't wait to share with the world!
Q: In my review of "You're Loved," I raved about the ballads. What were looking for in a song when you were choosing songs for this record?
Well as for the ballads and what we're looing for is something that speaks to us. The words have to have meaning and depth. Each of these songs that Roger brought to us, spoke to us. We immediately said "yes" to the ones that were chosen.
There's a little story behind "Heaven Knows" (which is where we got the title "You're Loved").Before Roger, a couple of guys had approached us (Ken Harding and Michael Sykes) saying they'd heard about us and wanted to meet and talk. We had met with them a few times and actually had chosen a song from them called "Heaven Knows" by Kenna West. One thing after another happened with that intervention. Either we couldn't agree on songs, or we couldn't agree on this, that or the other. They are both fabulous guys and we still have a great relationship with them but just chose to do differently.
After meeting Roger, we were sitting at The Chop House in Sevierville and I thought to myself...if Roger can still get me that song (which spoke to my heart in a mighty way AND I normally don't like to lead songs) but if we can still record that song that was brought to us by Ken Harding...Then I will know this is the right road we're on and we're doing what God wants us to do. So I just spoke up and asked him, "what are the chances of us getting one of the songs they brought to us" he asked what was the title and who was the writer. I told him and he just picked up his phone and sent Kenna West a text. She immediately responded with "Absolutely and I'm honored they remembered the song"...so there you have it...that birthed the song "Heaven Knows" which gave us our title "You're Loved".
Q: How do you wish this record would impact the lives of our listeners for the cause of Christ's kingdom?
Our goal is to lift heavy hearts and remind people to be encouraged. Life can get so hard. I'm reminded of our home when our little brother died, or a few years later, when our Mother died and Cory was only 15 years old. During that time, we would've taken any type of encouragement. A smile, a handshake, a hug and definitely a song. We learned through the past 8 years none of this is about US. This has never been my plan. I get stage fright, I get nervous feeling like people are judging me and like I'm taking an upper hand to the crowd.
But a sweet little lady named Lauren Talley came to my house in the past few months and shared some of her heart with me. She explained that in a dying world, where people are hurting, depressed, sad, angry, overwhelmed that they just need to be encouraged. They don't care if you have on pretty earrings or if your shoes match! This is the work of the Lord that he's entrusted you with, now go help him! Greatest advice I've ever received as a singer. Seems like my worries have subsided since. I just get up there and do my best. We just want to do our part and remind the world that thru the good Lord, there's a better day.