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!

Thoughts On The Tracy Stuffle Benefit

I watched the large majority of the benefit concert for Tracy and Libbi Stuffle online last night. What a tremendous outpouring of love and support by our fellow SG artists. I thought Jason Crabb and Joseph Habedank did marvelous jobs hosting the concert, and there were a lot of highlights. Former Palmetto State tenor Robert Fulton was singing with Gold City, and they sounded pretty solid.

There was quite a unique lineup of The Hoppers last night as well. Kim is very ill with sinus problems, and may even be facing surgery, sloshed and Dean were at home. Taranda Greene filled in for Kim, and Jason and Joseph alternated filling in Dean’s part. “I’ve Come Too Far” was fantastic, Connie and Taranda both nailed their parts of the song, and on the encore, Tim Riley supplied some incredible bass vocals.

The Booth Brothers did their two songs with only piano accompaniment from Nick Bruno, and it showcased their amazing blend and harmonies. The Collingsworth Family did an exquisite version of “Fear Not Tomorrow”, with Olivia joining what was a trio of her mom and sisters. I’ll disagree with my esteemed colleague Daniel Mount, as to my ears it sounded like Olivia was doubling Courtney, not Brooklyn. Mark Lowry was hilarious, and Paul Harkey was impressive with EHSS. The Oak Ridge Boys also sang with only piano accompaniment as well, and they were very genuine in their love and support for Tracy and Libbi.

More important and significant than all of this, though, came with The Perrys set, and the surprise appearance by Libbi, who sang a heart wrenching performance of “ThroughThe Night.”. After the set, Dr. Phil Hoskins took the stage and had a time of anointing and prayer for Libbi and Tracy. Seeing all of the artists in attendance gathered at the altar with their arms outstretched toward Libbi in prayer was the single most powerful moment I’ve witnessed at a concert. After several minutes of prayer, Libbi began singing “‘Tis So Sweet” from the midst of the group, and the rest of the artists and congregation joined in singing acappella. It was an incredibly sweet moment.

I have no idea how much money was raised last night, but judging from the crowd it had to have been a significant amount. Even,ore important though, 25 or so people rededicated their livestock Christ, and 8 or 9 were saved when Dr. Hoskins gave an altar call. This is what Southern Gospel is all about, and it made me proud to be even peripherally involved with this industry. All in all, a great night, and I was thankful to be able to watch the online stream.

.

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….

Singing News Fan Awards

The Singing News Fan Awards were presented yesterday at Dollywood.  You can watch the ceremony and get a full listing of the awards here.  Not unexpectedly, the Booth Brothers and Triumphant cleaned up, with the Booths taking Favorite Artist and Trio, plus the Tenor, Lead, and Baritone awards.  Triumphant took home Quartet, Album, Song, Bass, and Musician of the Year awards.  There were a couple of pleasant surprises as well.  The Gaither band took home Favorite Band, and the Ball Brothers won Horizon Artist.  Good to see the Ball Brothers get that kind of recognition.  I really feel they are the future of SG music.  Congratulations guys!  Courtney Collingsworth Metz also made Fan Award history yesterday, becoming the first person to win both Horizon Individual and Young Artist awards in the same year.  I can’t think of anyone more deserving, but I guess this means I can’t call her underrated or an “unsung hero” anymore.  Libbi Stuffle once again took home Favorite Alto, and in a mild surprise, the Hoppers took home Mixed Group.  I had somewhat expected the Perrys to take home that award, but the Hoppers really aren’t an upset to win.  Congratulations to all the winners!

Prayer Needed For Tracy Stuffle

Via Libbi Stuffle’s twitter, Tracy has been taken to the ER with heart abnormalities.  An initial EKG showed no heart attack, but a departure from normal rhythm.  Please pray for Tracy, Libbi, and the rest of the family.

UPDATE (8/11/10 2:35 PM): Via Daywind Records on twitter, a second EKG has shown evidence of a mild heart attack.  They are currently doing further testing to see if a stent is needed.  Continue to pray for Tracy.

UPDATE (8/11/10 3:30 PM): Again via Daywind Records, Tracy has 4-5 blockages, some of which are 99%.  He will be having bypass surgery in the morning.  Please continue praying for he and Libbi.

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