Recent changes in sg

I see Hope’s Cal signed with Daywind. Good for them, I guess. The few times I’ve seen them they’ve had their act together mostly, and they clearly know how to sing (even if the vocal histrionics are still a bit too often in play). But I would thought they’d signed with Wayne Haun and Kevin Ward’s new label, especially since Hope’s Call has had such a longstanding relationship with Ward – which is to say, Ward’s engineering and producing work was essential in Hope’s Call early years, helping to keep their sound first-rate while they built a fan base and enough professional credibility to launch into the tier above the middling-to-fair category in which they began. Maybe I’ve been watching too much Hee Haw lately but I keep hearing the lyric from that old skit … “you met another and … [thuhhhhht] you were gone.”

And then Loren Harris left the Perrys. No great sound lasts forever, it just remains embalmed in a thousand chat rooms and discussion-board threads about how superior were the “real” Gold City (Tim, Ivan, Mike, Brian) and the “real” Kingsmen (Hammil, Reese, and whoever was your favorite baritone for Hammel to pick on and your favorite tenor who ruined his voice in all-night screech-a-thons) and the “real” Cathedrals (G, G, Danny, Mark) to everything that came before or after. [Interesting tangent: The Hoppers. The same personnel is intact from their heyday back in the mid to late 90s but they’ve managed to lose Shannon Childress their mojo all the same]. Perhaps it’s a mark of excellence or greatness or at least a sign that you’ve passed some magical point in your career as a group when you find that too-perfect sound that depends on something irreplaceable in each person’s voice and creates a cultlike identification among fans. If so, the Perrys found – and with Harris’s departure, lost – that sound.

I’m not sure what Libbi Perry Stuffle was thinking when she claimed that promoting baritone Joseph Habedank to lead and hiring someone else to fill the baritone spot “will keep our sound basically the same as before.” There’s a world of difference in that “basically” — the sound will be basically the same, much the way the Supremes would have sounded basically the same if Diana Ross had gone off to spend more time with her family. David Bruce Murray has described the Perrys late sound that developed with Habedank and Harris alongside the Stuffles as a “hard singing” style – by which I think he means to describe the considerable strength (not just volume, but control, pitch, blend) equally distributed at each vocal position.

I don’t know for sure why Harris left, but the usual cabal of whisperers in my ear who are usually right about these kinds of things certainly weren’t using phrases like “wants to spend more time family.” And Habedanks promotion to lead – coming as it does on the heels of the Perrys putting two songs written or co-written by Habedank on their latest project, despite the fact that the songs were B-list beginners work at best and despite the other fact that the Perrys are, or ought to be, at a place in their career when only the best songs (and not just the ones written by people you really like) get cut – well, these are the kinds of decisions that presage a decline. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

Finally, David Bruce Murray has made a wiki. Go read about why that could be a really BFD.

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  1. annonymous wrote:

    “wants to spend more time with family”—I read in an interview online that said last year the Perry’s did 265 dates. That leaves 100 days in the year to be a father and husband. Last I knew, Loren has two very small children. Could you even imagine? So if the reason for leaving is spending more time with family with a schedule like that, then I believe it.

  2. annonymous wrote:

    What does BFD mean?

    [answer: Big Frikkin Deal]

  3. Jim wrote:

    Looks like Nick Trammell will be the new baritone for the Perrys.

    As far as Hope’s Call goes, it’s good to see good things happen to a hard-working, talented group with personal integrity. Whenever I’ve spoken with them, they’ve been unfailingly kind, more concerned with reflecting Christ’s glory than generating any of their own - a good example in the world that is SG. Congrats to Hope’s Call and to Daywond for landing them.

  4. Nick wrote:

    Well…the only thing I even want to comment on is the “real” Cathedral comment. You can say what ya want, but the Cathedrals were never better than they were when the retired. Ernie Haase sings circles around Danny, and while I do not care much for Scott Fowler, their blend was superb and their harmonies were undeniably great. That is why they were the best in the business.

  5. Gerry wrote:

    I remember Hope’s Call when they were still in Michigan. Vocal histrionics is a good term to use. They are good singers, but I don’t like wailing.

  6. anonymous wrote:

    Wailing? You sir do not know what you are talking about.

  7. Wondering wrote:

    Enquiring minds want to know. Why did Loren leave then? I believe he was the best male vocalist in the business (no offense to Gerald Wolfe, etc.), a great bass guitarist and a class act every time that I ever saw him. The Perrys had a great sound, and I’m sure they’ll continue to have a great sound and probably be even more “entertaining” with Habedank singing the lead (he’s emotional on stage to say the least) and with another young guy standing alongside him. I’m not implying that Harris was old, but he just bascially did his things without all of the unnecessary stage antics. Could we see Loren back in the business relatively soon with another group if his reason for leaving actaully wasn’t “to spend more time with the family?” I surely hope so. What a great talent he is. The Southern Gospel community lost a good one, and their best group took a big hit.

  8. Faith wrote:

    You don’t think that they wail a bit? Of course, they do seem to have toned it down a bit.

  9. Daniel J. Mount wrote:

    I believe that the Cathedrals back in Bobby Clark’s day were the “real thing.” They had a smooth blend and great arrangements.

    I also believe that the Cathedrals in Roy Tremble’s day were the “real thing.” This lineup introduced some of their most memorable songs–”The Last Sunday” and “Shout Over Heaven” come to mind.

    I also believe that the Cathedrals with Kirk Talley, Mark Trammell, and Roger Bennett were the “real thing.” “Step Into the Water” and “We Shall See Jesus” come to mind.

    Of course, the Cathedrals with Mark, Danny, and Gerald were the “real thing,” too. “That’s What Heaven Means to Me,” “Champion of Love,” and “I’ve Just Started Living” were all great songs.

    And as far as the final Cathedrals, who stayed it out with Glen and George to the end–they were as much the “real thing” as any other version.

    But then, I’m a Cathedrals fan, so I guess you would have expected me to say all that.

    Also, I believe that the Perrys will not miss a beat. Joseph is a great singer, and that won’t change their sound much. Everything I’ve heard about Nick is positive, and I can’t wait to hear what the future brings for the Perrys.

  10. Jim wrote:

    If you want to hear a “New” take on Hope’s Call, give a listen to their a Cappella album “Beyond the Music” it is a musical treat!

  11. Dee Ann Bailey wrote:

    To Wondering - several people in Johnston City (on SN board and other chats) have stated that Loren was seeking employment with his church as Minister of Music for weeks before this happen.

    Sometimes what is ’sudden’ to us as fans isn’t as sudden as it appears. I don’t know if Loren got that position, but the fact that he was seeking it says he did desire to be home, well before any fans were aware of it.

    There are groups that travel less than the Perrys so at some point he might decide to try that but then again, he may find a niche as MoM that he loves.

    As for Nick and Joe - Joe is doing a tremendous job at lead and Nick is quickly becoming a fan favorite. I’m sure the Perrys will seem different, at least to most but change can keep things fresh!

  12. leslie wrote:

    To “wondering”… asked to resign sounds harsh doesn’t it? By the way Dee Ann it is JohnSON City

  13. Jenny wrote:

    Sir- regarding the Perrys decision to move Joseph to lead, your implications on how Joseph was offered the lead position and his songs written on the last album you are indeed wrong. Sounds like passing gossip to me. No self-respecting professional journalist, especially Christian journalist, should put such gossip to print.

  14. afan wrote:

    Wanted to reply to “Wonderings” comment about Joseph. Wondering said, “Habedank singing the lead (he’s emotional on stage to say the least)…” What you see as emotional, I see as genuine. Joseph is very passionate about his songs and music. To me it is REFRESHING! :-)
    Alot better than the two extremes of to restrained or a fake forced performance. I’ve seen to many of those were I am from.

  15. Brian wrote:

    As I look at SG thru a somewhat trained eye you can’t help but wonder? They(the perry’s) have known ‘little Nick since he was a baby(folks I mean no disrespect here) when Loren Said he was leaving did Libbie and Tracy have to “go looking” for a new lead/baritone? To have someone that has the political clout of “the son of Mark Tramell” on your side/in your corner/Group is just smart politics. (yes, I know we don’t have politics in SG. But if we did????
    No I did not send them a demo. Not I did not hear from them asking me to sing(no they don’t know who I am(yes we have talked but that doesn’t make us friends)

    side note- veryfineline; keep up the good work. Keep folks honest. No I do not always agree with you but I don’t see eye to eye to God all the time. He does figure out how to bring me around.

  16. Cathy A. Dew wrote:

    Divinity In Motion

    Dear Avery,

    Please forgive my poor writing. It’s so cut and dry. I will probably spoil this message by writing we are not fans - but friends of gospel musical ministries.

    The Hoppers have been traveling a million miles, singing the gospel of Jesus Christ. I first saw them on stage at Watermelon Park during the summer of 1974. Unfortunately, the stage was destroyed by flood waters, but the “Spirit Of The Shenandoah” still lives in our hearts and minds.

    I read on your web site that “The Hoppers have hired a choreographer and theatrical producer. I look forward to seeing “Divinity In Motion” on stage. The title is my own, but I believe their gospel production will make a different
    in other people’s lives.

    You have mastered the subtle art of hinting, but you did bring up an interest point about “too-perfect sound.”

    I listened to The Hopper’s new cd “The Ride” on their web site. It sounds like Kim Hopper’s vocal track was cut and pasted to make a perfect vocal track.

    I don’t know too much about audio editing, but the modulation isn’t seamless on one of their songs. It zooms off the board!

    However, I was blessed to see Kim
    sing the song “Jerusalem” on TV this week. I was amazed at her vocal ability. I’m a believer now!

    I can see why Kim Hopper was voted favorite female vocalist and favorite Soprano 2006. Her vocal coach probably pushed her to her limits, but what she can’t do vocally - God will do.
    Get ready to see a New Jerusalem coming down.


    Cathy A. Dew

  17. Thom wrote:

    Re: Perry’s without Loren Harris. I heard the Perry’s at NQC with Joe on Lead and Nick Trammell on baritone and they were tremendous. I believe Joe may have picked up some styling cues from Loren these past few years and the phrasing is basically the same. BUT, personally, I think Joe is heads and shoulders above Loren in stage presence and sincerity. The last few times I saw the Perry’s with Loren on Lead he stood and sang like a robot; no facial expression, looking like his face would crack and fall off is he tried to smile. Maybe he was worn out and road weary, but he looked like this on more than 2 or 3 occassions when I saw them. I think one should smile when singing about the joy of the Lord and should “sell the song” with their expressions and eye contact. In other words, sing it like you believe it, not just like you are “doing your job.” Not to take anything away from Lorens tone, range, etc, but the stage presence was pitiful. Joe is fun to watch as well as listen to and Nick is a pro just like his Dad.

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