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.
- 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
- 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!