First Love Resurfaces…Sorta

A couple of weeks or so ago, I noticed a Twitter post about Jeff Snyder joining Troy and Katy Peach and performing a concert as First Love.  I asked Jeff if there was a potential for more appearances by the three.  This was his reply:

As a matter of fact, yes! Troy called me a few months ago, and asked if I could do a Tuesday night camp meeting with him and Katy as First Love.  Since, it was a Tuesday night, and I knew that I would be free, and also the fact that I love to sing with them, I said yes.  The service was amazing, and it just felt really good to sing again after being off the road since the passing of Tony Greene.  After the service, Troy asked me about singing with him and Katy on select dates throughout the year.  We discussed it, and realized right away that we all have the same view about that word “select”.  Troy is working fulltime for the dynamic vocal group Sisters, and is committed to them when it comes to his working schedule.  Katy is loving the ability to be at home with their twin boys, Clayton and Shelton. The boys are their world and the ability to raise them off the road is a high priority to Troy and Katy.  My schedule, although flexible, is committed to my wife Melissa, and what we feel the Lord is leading us to do in missions work and the insurance company I help run on a daily basis.  Plus, I really am loving home life these days.  I have traveled fulltime since Melissa and I have been married, and we are enjoying the weekends together now that I am home.  I guess what I am trying to say is that Troy, Katy, and I have the same vision on making this a limited schedule ministry.  If anything, I want to do it just to hear Katy sing!  Also, I am trying to break the record for “artist in SG that has sung with the most married couples”! I think I am close! Anyway, I would encourage SG fans to expect a facebook page and possibly a website to keep up where we will be ministering throughout the year. We really hope this will be good news for SG followers who have supported us individually with groups we have traveled with throughout the past decade.

I think I can safely say that Jeff can rest easy about this being good news.  While their appearances will most likely be fairly sparse, be watching for them, and if they happen to be in your area, go see them.  With these three dynamic vocalists, rest assured it will be a concert to remember!

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 Elliott Joins Gold City

Granted this post is a day later than I promised on Twitter, but Bryan Elliott has joined Gold City as their new pianist.  This move was actually rumored during NQC, and was confirmed on Monday.   Elliott is starting with Gold City immediately.   At the present time, the Perrys are not going to be hiring a full time replacement for Bryan, but former pianist Matthew Holt will be filling in occasionally.  Troy Peach is also a more than capable piano player, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him on the ivories from time to time as well, though that possibility has not yet been mentioned.  Best wishes to Bryan, Gold City, and the Perrys.

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.

Troy Peach Named Perrys Baritone

The Perrys have announced that Troy Peach will be filling in the baritone position permanently.  This is not unexpected, and Troy is an excellent singer who I will be very anxious to hear with the Perrys.  Congratulations Troy!  As normal, the SN has a press release here.

Nick Trammell Departs The Perrys

According to an email from the Perrys, Nick Trammell has tendered his resignation with the group.  There are no concrete plans for Nick at this time, and Troy Peach will be filling in until a permanent replacement is named.  Best wishes to Nick and the Perrys in their time of transition.

Read the press release here.

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