Joseph Habedank Leaves The Perrys

In what is surely shocking news to many, The Perrys have announced Joseph Habedank’s departure from the group after 10 years as lead vocalist.  This from Joseph:

Dear Friends,

After 10 years of having the great privilege to serve with the Perrys, I have decided to step down as Lead Singer at this time. Libbi and I talked earlier this week, and while I would never want to abandon her in such a great time of need, sometimes The Lord has other plans. There aren’t enough words for me to express how truly grateful I am for both Tracy and Libbi giving me the opportunity that they have. They are like parents to me and I love them dearly. I will miss them.

To the Gospel Music community, thank you all for loving and accepting me over the years. I never dreamed that The Lord would allow me to feel so loved by the fans of Gospel Music. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

As for my future, only The Lord knows what He has in store. I am confident of this one thing tho; I am absolutely nothing without Him and I only want His perfect will for my life. My wife, Lindsay, and I both covet your prayers in this time of transition. We love you all.

With a grateful heart,
Joseph Habedank

This from Libbi:

While it saddens me that Joseph is leaving, we definitely respect his and Lindsay’s need to reevaluate their lives and future. He has been like a son to me and Tracy. Although he is leaving our group, we will always consider him part of our family.

As for the Perry’s, we will continue on. It is my plan to be back on the road as soon and as much as possible. I don’t have all the answers right now, but God is in control. Thank you for your love and prayers for me, Tracy, Jared, Bryan, and Leah; and your continued support of the group.

In His Grip,
Libbi

This is a huge blow to The Perrys, as Habedank has really anchored their sound for the last several years since moving from the baritone spot to the lead spot.  His vocal interaction with baritone Bryan Walker was magnificent, and really gave the group an extra oomph to their live sound and arrangements.  Additionally, Joseph had been contributing some very strong songs as writer. An interesting possibility would be for Leah Page to remain with the group when Libbi returns and the group to reorganize with Bryan, Libbi, and Leah (and Tracy upon his recovery, prayerfully!).  It could make for some powerful sounds.

Prayers to Joseph and Lindsay as they seek God’s will and direction in their life, and for The Perrys as they look to make some major changes with a new lead vocalist.  Joseph, you will be missed!

Concert Review: The Perrys

Thursday night, February 21, my church hosted The Perrys in concert. The weather was absolutely horrible, with rain showers and temperatures in the upper 30s, and the weather had a definite impact on the crowd, as probably 100-150 showed up for the concert. The folks who did show up, however, were treated to a fantastic night of Southern Gospel Music. As most of you know, Leah Page is currently filling in the alto spot for Libbi alongside lead singer Joseph Habedank and baritone Bryan Walker. Leah is 19 years old and is from Florida, and was hand picked by Libbi to be her replacement while she is out with Tracy.

Set List:

  • Blue Skies Coming
  • This Old Sinner Testifies
  • I Got A Hold Of God This Morning
  • Call to Libbi
  • Through The Night
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness
  • Royal Descendant
  • One Of These Mornings
  • Did I Mention
  • If You Knew Him

Intermission

  • He Is Good To Me
  • The Blood And Its Power
  • Almost Morning
  • When He Spoke
  • I Wish I Could Have Been There

Though the crowd was small, The Perrys sang their hearts out with just as much energy and effort as if the auditorium had been full. That effort was not lost on those in attendance, as there were many times during the evening that the crowd hit its feet. “Blue Skies Coming” is a great concert opener, and the performance was energetic and spot on. I was surprised to hear them start into “This Old Sinner” with Tracy having the second verse as a solo, but Bryan Walker took the verse and made it his own. Bryan has really found his niche with The Perrys. The group’s latest radio single is “I Got A Hold Of God This Morning”, and they sang the fire out of it! They paused the concert at this point, and Bryan placed a call to Libbi from the stage then held his mic up to the speaker on his phone. Libbi was able to give us an update on Tracy’s condition, and expressed her gratitude for everyone’s thoughts, prayers, love, and concern for she and Tracy. She also expressed her gratefulness for the support of Joseph, Bryan, Leah, and Jared as they were out fulfilling dates. After the call ended, Joseph called Leah Page up to sing a fantastic ballad that serves as the title track to the group’s latest CD, “Through The Night.” Let me let you readers in on a little secret that is starting to get out…this young lady is a fantastic singer! It is very evident why Libbi picked her to be her replacement, and Leah did a terrific job on this song. After Bryan wowed the audience with his acappella rendition of “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”, the group dusted off one of The Perrys early hits and sang a tremendous version of “Royal Descendant.” This song gives Bryan Walker a chance to show off his range, as his harmony part is stacked above Joseph Habedank’s melody, with Leah soaring on the top harmony part. Another surprise call was “Did I Mention”, but once again Leah proved to be up to the task. She took one of Libbi’s sugar sticks and didn’t try to copy Libbi, but performed this gem of a song with the respect and quality of a seasoned professional. The first half of the concert ended with the audience on their feet by the tag of “If You Knew Him.”

The second half started with a couple of songs off of the latest CD, “He Is Good To Me” and “The Blood And Its Power” before Joseph sang what I consider to be his finest song, both as writer and performer, in “Almost Morning.” I’ve always loved this song, and it is custom made for Joseph’s voice. He always nails this song, and this night was no exception. The new version “When He Spoke” followed behind. I have to admit I’m torn. While the new arrangement is very good, and it was sung extremely well by the trio on this night, I can’t help but remember the power that Nicole Watts (now Jenkins) put behind her performance. Regardless of which version is better, this is a powerful song that has a message that deserves to continue to be heard, and I’m glad that the group has brought it back. The concert concluded with “I Wish I Could Have Been There”, and the group called up a young lady from the audience to sing it with them. They left the crowd on their feet clapping along.

Yes, it is different seeing The Perrys without Tracy or Libbi, and yes, they are sorely missed. However, please don’t let that dissuade you from attending a concert by the group. While he will be the first to admit he is not used to the role, Joseph Habedank does a solid job stepping in as emcee in Tracy’s absence. He and Bryan are working extremely hard, and the effort shows in the fact that the group really hasn’t missed a beat. In some ways, the trio of Leah, Joseph, and Bryan breathe new life into the songs, giving The Perrys’ standards a new, fresh sound. I’ve seen reports of promoters backing out from booking The Perrys while Libbi is off the road with Tracy, and those promoters are making a huge mistake. While no one can replace legends like the Stuffles, Leah is more than holding her own with the group. After the concert was over, my dad and I were talking and agreed this could very well be Leah Page’s breakout in the Southern Gospel field. She has a strong, clear voice and a style that is a bit more mainstream from Libbi’s, but similar enough that she fits the material very well. Joseph and Bryan have really developed quite a vocal rapport with the middle parts of the group’s harmony, and honestly, the three of them would make for an incredible trio in their own right. Just seeing Jared Stuffle walk into the building and take care of his typical responsibilities with the merchandise and sound is quite a statement to the strength of his character. I honestly don’t know if I could do the same in his situation. Jared, we’re all praying for you and your parents. Joseph Habedank also shared the new of the Tracy Stuffle Benefit Concert that is to be held on Tuesday, March 19 at Christ Church in Nashville. If any of you are in driving distance of Nashville, please plan to attend this benefit for Tracy. All proceeds are going to help with his medical expenses. You can find more info at http://www.tracystufflebenefit.com/.

The weather was bad, the crowd was unfortunately small, but this configuration of The Perrys walked in, sang their hearts out, and left the church having uplifted the souls that were in attendance, and having presented a clear message of the Gospel through strong lyrics, powerful vocals, and thrilling harmonies. Please don’t miss out on a chance to see the Perrys when they are close by, you will miss a blessing! Thanks to Joseph, Bryan, Jared, and Leah for a wonderful concert!

Photos:

NQC Final Round Ballot

Here are my votes for the final round, with necessary changes listed.  I had a hard time choosing a soprano last round, so I switched votes on that category so that I have voted for each of my choices once.  I know the results don’t work that way, but it eases my troubled mind.  I honestly couldn’t just choose one or the other, I think both are deserving. :)

  • Bass – Tim Riley
  • Baritone – Mark Trammell
  • Lead – Joseph Habedank (Bill Shivers not in the list)
  • Tenor – Brian Free (Gus Gaches not in the list)
  • Soprano – Brooklyn Collingsworth Blair
  • Alto – Libbi Stuffle (Courtney C. Metz not in the list)
  • Soloist – TaRanda Greene (Steve Ladd not in the list)
  • Male Group – Booth Brothers (Gold City not in the list)
  • Mixed Group – Collingsworth Family
  • Musician – Jeff Stice
  • Album – Let It Be Known, Booth Brothers
  • Song – “Blue Skies Coming”, Perrys (“On The Banks… not in the list)

There you have it!  Mileage may vary….

NQC ’10: Monday Recap

After scouring Twitter, Facebook, and various blogs, here are some of the top stories from Monday:

  • The Toney Brothers have announced that Jake Sammons and Derrick Boyd have joined the group as baritone/pianist and tenor, respectively.  Sammons will fill the baritone part while George Amon Webster is off the road recovering from his recent health issues, and will stay on as pianist when Webster returns.
  • Tracy Stuffle joined the Perrys on stage for their final two songs, setting up “If You Knew Him” with a moving testimony of what he’s been through with his health.
  • Speaking of the Perrys, Joseph Habedank is celebrating 7 years with the group this week.  Congratulations Joseph!
  • In an impressive show of class and support, Scott Fowler sat in the Artist Circle area during Gold City’s set to support Josh Cobb’s return to NQC.  You will remember that Cobb left L5 during (or immediately after) NQC 10 years ago.  (h/t, Nate)
  • The Dove Brothers seem to have replaced “Didn’t It Rain/Get Away Jordan” with “Hold On” as their encore demanding sugar stick.
  • Brian Free and Assurance were accompanied by a live band consisting of Matthew Holt on piano, Adam Borden on bass, and Ricky Free on drums.  They also debuted a new song from their latest CD that is releasing at NQC.
  • Buzz of the night Award:  The Collingsworth Family.  Several blogs/commentaries have mentioned the strength of their set and the more pronounced crowd approval of said set.

Stay tuned, I’m sure there will be more to come tomorrow.

JOY FM Interview With Joseph Habedank

Daniel Britt has posted the audio from a radio interview at Musicscribe he and his morning show crew did with Joseph Habedank regarding Joseph’s engagement, which was announced this week. Give it a listen, it’s pretty entertaining. I agree with the interview, the song Joseph wrote for the occasion was actually really good.

Oh, and congratulations Joseph and Lindsay!

Review: Perrys – Almost Morning

This is the anticipated new release from the Perrys, due out on June 9.  The recording features new baritone, Troy Peach, along with Tracy and Libbi Stuffle, along with Joseph Habedank.  I will mention that the order of songs on the digital pre-release that I have may or may not be the order on the actual retail version.  As you’ll see, as good as this project is, I don’t think the sequence will make much difference.

Tracks:

  1. This Old Sinner Testifies – This is a cover of an uptempo Kyla Rowland tune that was originally recorded by Gold City on 1997’s What A Great Lifestyle.  Great lyrics, and an arrangement that is fairly similar to Gold City’s original make this a great cut.  A significant difference in arrangement is the second verse, which was sung by Jay Parrack on the original, is now given to Tracy Stuffle as a bass lead, and it works.  It works well.  Tracy does a great job, and on this male quartet styled song proves he could sing bass with any male quartet in the country.  If this song really does open the album, it’s a great choice.  8.5/10
  2. If You Knew Him – Power ballad written by Joseph Habedank and Rodney Griffin.  This is a fabulous ballad that is in the same vein of some of the best known songs of late by the Perrys.  The first thing that is striking about this cut is the change in Joseph Habedank’s lead vocals.  I’ve long thought that Habedank had been getting a bad rap as a lead singer, especially after seeing him in concert twice last year.  However, he has improved dramatically even since then.  His tones are lighter and brighter, and he sounds much more confident.  His improvement as a lead singer and as a songwriter is one of the standout points of this project.  This song has some incredibly powerful lyrics, and a nice bridge that features a couple of lines of the hymn “He Lives”.  The lead switches from Joseph to Libbi for the hymn, then seamslessly goes back to Habedank for the tag.  Great song.  10/10
  3. Old Fashioned Altar – This is an uptempo cajun styled number that features Troy Peach.  Troy does a great job on his feature, and it’s evident that the Perrys will not miss a beat in the transition from the departed Nick Trammell to Troy at the baritone spot.  This is an incredibly fun tune that ought to be a big hit in concert.  Very solid song.  8/10
  4. Almost Morning – Tender, almost pop inspired ballad written by Joseph Habedank and Matthew Holt.   Incredible lyrics that provide encouragement to anyone that is struggling through some difficult times.  This song is performed as a solo by Habedank, with producer Wayne Haun providing some background harmonies interspersed throughout.  This song is impressive on several different levels.  The melody to this song is amazingly beautiful.  The lyrics are fantastic.  This song shows both Habedank’s growth (as well as Holt’s, let’s not forget Matthew) as a songwriter, and also his growth as a singer.  His performance on this song is flawless, and he performs it with the tenderness in his voice that the message of the song demands.  This will be hard to top as the best single song of the year.  Absolutely incredible.  To make it even better, read this story from Libbi Stuffle about this song.  10/10
  5. I Love To Tell Of His Love – An old convention classic that is given a nice cut.  Tracy Stuffle does a commendable job on the bass lead on the chorus.  The Perrys have always done this type of song very well and this one is no exception.  Good job.  7.5/10
  6. The One Who Is Unworthy – Acoustic, mountain styled ballad that features Libbi Stuffle.  This song compares somewhat to “The Potter Knows The Clay” in terms of style.  Libbi sings this song and it’s the style that she is made to sing.  She does a great job on this song that contrasts the holiness of Christ with John the Baptist, and then each of us by extension.  This is classic Perrys.  There are also some neat passing tones in the harmony on the chorus.  Great song.  9/10
  7. Dying Is A Day – This is about the most progressive I’ve ever heard the Perrys.  The intro features some nice hot piano licks that would make Bruce Hornsby jealous.  This is another Habedank-Holt composition that speaks of our departure from earth, be it by death or rapture.  The rhythm is a bit syncopated in the verses and smooths out in the chorus.  Habedank sings lead throughout the song.  This is a bit of a musical risk for the Perrys, but they pull it off incredibly well.  This is actually one of my favorite cuts on the album.  9.5/10
  8. Prior To A Prayer – Power ballad that is sung by Troy Peach for the first verse and chorus then Libbi Stuffle for the rest of the song.  Troy is an absolute gem of a singer, and Libbi is one of the best female vocalists in SG today.  You will have to look a long time to find someone that writes a better ballad than Kyla Rowland.  She doesn’t disappoint with this song that speaks to the power of prayer, and how many situations seem hopeless before a prayer is prayed.  Again, hearkening back to “I Rest My Case” and “He Will Hide Me” among others, the Perrys excel at this type of song.  Everything comes together on this tune.  I really like the male trio just before the tag.  Great, great song.  10/10
  9. You Cannot Improve On The Truth – Another atypical for the Perrys.  This one has a mid to uptempo acoustic swing feel.  Think Gold City’s version of “Death Ain’t No Big Deal” from the early 90’s but faster and bouncier.  It’s a neat lyric about the veracity and importance on the Bible.  Some really smooth singing on this tune.  Again Habedank gives his lead vocal just the right feel for the tune.  8.5/10
  10. Did I Mention – Nice smooth ballad that is a very strong “message song”, which is a strength of the Perrys.  Libbi Stuffle sings the lead on this song.  Strong lyrics speak of what Christ provides to each believer.  There’s some nice tight harmony on this cut.  Another very good song.  8/10

Overall:  9.5 This is the second straight very strong recording that I’ve had the opportunity to review.  This project is a bit more varied in musical style than normal for the Perrys.  They took a chance on a couple of these arrangements and nailed them.  Troy Peach makes a strong debut with the group on his two features, and Joseph Habedank really shines on this disc, both as a vocalist and writer.  Libbi and Tracy turn in their typical outstanding performances.  Very few ladies can communicate a tender ballad as well as Libbi Stuffle.  Fans of the Perrys need not worry about the group with the turnover in the baritone spot, as Troy fits in perfectly.  One interesting thing about this disc is that it doesn’t have the traditional country sounding song on it (“Still Blessed” or “Grip of Grace” are good examples stylistically) like most of the Perrys’ other recordings.  Since I’m not a fan of that style, this suits me just fine, but it is a bit of a departure for the group.  Wayne Haun produced this album, and really stretched the Perrys musically, and the work that went into the album is very obvious.  Personally, this is quite possibly my favorite project that I’ve heard from the group.  Haun and the Perrys can feel very proud of this effort, it’s another must-have for the year.  The title track alone is worth the price of the CD.

YouTube Clip #16

Wes is tied up today so here is another YouTube clip for you.  With the announced departure of Nick Trammell from The Perrys this week, I thought it would be a good time to post a clip of him with the group he has been with for the past two and a half years.  I will admit although I miss the fuller sound of the Harris/Habedank combination, it seemed Nick and Joseph had a special connection and chemistry from the stage.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 265 other followers

%d bloggers like this: