So what happened with the Perrys?
How’d they go from solid middle-tier group to breakout success? It’s a good question, one that MNP put to me on the ride back from Louisville. I didn’t like my answer then - basically, that Libbi and Tracy Stuffle either literally or symbolically bought out the rest of the Perry family and got serious about where they wanted to go and what they wanted to be and started investing their time and money accordingly - not because any of that answer seems impossible or unlikely to me but because it feels incomplete. The rest of the answer must surely be bound up in the coming of age of the Stuffles as serious, thoughtful, passionate, and committed sg artists - taking nothing for granted and leaving as little as possible to chance or whatever merit the Perrys of the past may have legitimately generated. Whatever happened to realign the group’s centripetal force around Libbi and Tracy, that realignment must surely have also coincided with the Stuffle’s receiving a monumental portion of grace, creative insight, and professional discipline. Plus they took some big risks, playing the long game by giving Loren Harris time to grow and come into his own as one of the finest leads singing today; waiting out personnel changes at the keyboard and baritone positions; and giving Harris and Joseph Habedank the creative and professional space to develop and assert themselves on stage and in the studio. Something about this formula really, really worked. I don’t know how else to explain the marvelous confluence of talent and showmanship that rolls off the Perrys in waves these days. In addition to Harris’s voice, there’s Habedank, who is NINETEEN years old, for goodness sake … how’d he happen in such a short amount of time (and don’t say only that “he sang with his family,” because we all know how uneven family-group experience can be)? Tracy Stuffle now sings bass with the unabashed confidence of someone twice his age, an assertiveness that brings a great deal of authority to the stage with the Perrys. And Libbi Stuffle has always been able to sing but where’d the more recently complex and subtle coloration of tone and voicing come from? I can only speculate that when artists start to expand and grow and mature in the same space, they begin creating a collective force that escapes beyond each individual and permeates everything the group does together. And this must be what people mean when they talk about an anointing or outpouring of spirit.Email this Post