Concert Review: The Debut of Legacy 5’s New Lineup

Change, they say, is inevitable. Few genres of music experience the turnover in personnel that we see in Southern Gospel. But sometimes, change is a good thing. Sometimes it can bring a new direction, a new energy, and a breath of fresh air. This is what we experienced tonight with the debut of Legacy 5’s new lineup. Lee Black is the new tenor, Scott Fowler remains on lead duties, Bryan Walker is the new baritone, Matt Fouch continues to hold down the bass part, and Josh Townsend on piano rounds out the new lineup of the group.

Set List:

  • Who Is This Man?
  • A Comfort to Know
  • I Found Grace
  • I Stand Redeemed
  • Getting Ready to Leave This World – piano solo
  • Love Pure Love
  • The Book
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness – Bryan Walker solo
  • God’s Been Good
  • Champion of Love

Intermission

  • Well Done My Child
  • God Bless the USA
  • I Made It To Arlington
  • Hallelujah Chorus
  • In the Hands of a Carpenter
  • When the Saints Go Marching In

First of all, though I REALLY wanted to do it, it was requested that no video be taken. So pictures are all I have. I talked with Scott before the concert, and he told me the record labels are going to try and crack down on videos and especially Facebook Live during concerts due to copyright laws. In this YouTube world, I’m pretty skeptical, but we’ll see how this goes.Legacy 5 took the stage tonight with a lot of energy. The excitement of finally getting on stage with the new guys was palpable. “A Comfort to Know” really set the tone for the night, as they inverted the last vocal chord up from the album cut, which helped the energy of the song immensely. This is as good a spot as any to brag on Lee Black. We already know he’s a fantastic writer, but he’s got a nice clear tenor voice and is likely their highest tenor since Frank Seamans. Just his range and clarity alone being a fresh sound to the group, and he did a masterful job on “I Stand Redeemed” and his own penned “In the Hands of a Carpenter”, which featured him moving to the keyboard and singing it as a duet with Fowler.

Both of the new songs that the group performed on their announcement video were performed, and “Love Pure Love” is especially catchy, while “The Book” is very strong lyrically. Bryan Walker then sang a verse of “Great is Thy Faithfulness” acapella, as he used to do with The Perrys. Bryan had been off the road for a few years now, but his voice is as strong and expressive as ever. His voice is so vastly different than Scott Howard’s, but with the brighter tenor tones of Lee Black, Walker fits like a glove. That combination has a world of potential. If you’ve never heard Josh Townsend’s testimony and heard him sing “God’s Been Good”, you need to do so as soon as possible. What a touching an encouraging message. The first half closed with a good rendition of “Champion of Love”.

After intermission, the group hit the stage with the old convention classic “Well Done My Child”. After a comedy bit, Josh Townsend took over the lead from Scott Fowler, but featured some of the highest harmony I’ve heard out of Legacy 5 in years while Matt Fouch rattled the walls with his bass note on the end and the crowd absolutely loved it! The concert ended with a rousing, New Orleans jazz inspired take on “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

For a debut of a new lineup, with 50% of the vocalists changing, the concert could only have been considered a rousing success. It sounds cliche to be sure, but the really was a renewed sense of energy and an enthusiasm in both the crowd and group that was easily felt. Vocally, these guys have a great blend and it will only get better with time to really gel. I’ve not said much about Matt Fouch yet, but this was my first opportunity to hear him and I came away incredibly impressed. He really kicked in the subs several times last night, but did so seemingly effortlessly and without even a hint of vocal fry. He’s got a really full, resonant bass voice that is very pleasing to the ear. Scott Fowler did a great job as lead singer and emcee. It was very obvious that he was excited to kick off this new era of Legacy 5, and mentioned several times that it was a historic night.

Replacing a founding member, especially after a long tenure, is always a challenge. Bryan Walker is definitely up to the challenge. He is so much opposite of Scott Howard vocally that I think it will work in his favor. There’s really no way to compare them as their voices are so different. Lee Black is a very big change at tenor, and it’s definitely a good change, especially with Bryan Walker’s lighter tones at the baritone spot. Having a songwriter of Black’s caliber in the group is also something to watch for, as I expect their material to take a huge leap as well, even as strong as it already was. The future for Legacy 5 looks extremely bright, and I’m excited to see how their sound evolves in the future. This was a great start.

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:

Troy Peach Departs Perrys, Bryan Walker Named New Baritone

According to a press release I just received from the Perrys via Facebook, Troy Peach has left the group and will be replaced by Bryan Walker, most recently notable for his appearance on American Idol.  Here is the press release:

Daywind Recording artists, The Perrys, have announced that Bryan Walker will be joining the award-winning group effective October 22, 2010. Bryan will be singing baritone, filling the vacancy created by the departure of Troy Peach. Bryan is no stranger to Southern Gospel music as he has been a member of Safe Harbor and the Dixie Melody Boys. Most recently, he has served as a police officer for the city of Sevierville, Tennessee.
“Troy feels that his work with the Perrys is done, so we want to offer our appreciation for all of the hard work and effort that he gave to our group during the past two and a half years,” says Tracy Stuffle of the Perrys. “We love Troy and we wish him nothing but God’s blessings for all of his future plans.
“At the same time,” continues Tracy, “we’re excited about welcoming Bryan Walker to our group. He’s a great young man and a fine singer. So make sure you say hello to him at a concert soon!”

Best wishes are sent to Troy, Bryan, and the Perrys during their transition.

Bryan Walker Eliminated From American Idol

For those who missed it, Bryan Walker (former member of the Dixie Melody Boys) was in Room 2 when they were eliminated last night on American Idol.  Even though he didn’t make the top 24, congratulations to Bryan on quite an impressive run on the show.  According to this thread on SGForums, Bryan also had the opportunity to witness to a couple of contestants while he was there, so while he won’t be the next American Idol, he planted seeds that may grow into FAR greater rewards.  Congratulations Bryan!

SG On AI

Bryan Walker, formerly of the Dixie Melody Boys and Safe Harbor, auditioned last night on American Idol.  Walker received rave reviews from the judges and was passed through to the next round of auditions in Hollywood.  Congratulations, Bryan!  This is not the first time SG has had a presence on the show, a few seasons ago Brad Hudson, formerly of 3 for 1 and the Greenes, also auditioned for the show and made it well into the Hollywood week rounds before being eliminated.  When the Hollywood week of shows starts, be sure to tune in and support Bryan!  Now if we can just convince a quartet to pick up the “Lookin’ like a fool with your pants on the ground” song….  🙂

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