The Perrys, cont’d
We’ve now heard from Joseph Habedank’s friends and family that he is a nice guy. And all these people agree that I’m an ogre. But does anyone have anything to say besides “I like him, therefore I like his music”?
Commenter Payton offered the rare argument with support rebutting my critique of “He Forgot.” And Daniel Mount made the flabbergasting assertion that Habedank is the Perrys best lead in the last 10 years, and then offered absolutely zero evidence or argument to back up the claim. But other than that, there’s a lot of touching tributes to Habedank the great friend, great Christian, great brother, and great grandson (all of which I assume to be absolutely true), some hysteria and indignation … and not much else. Does anyone want to make the case that the Perrys sound better with him in lead than with Loren Harris (and/or that lapses in judgment at several points may be the source of the problem) and do so in a way that doesn’t require that we trust you, Joe’s a really great guy? Really. Anyone?
While we wait, let me say a bit more about why I think any of this matters, since many of you seem to think I just don’t have anything better to do than throw darts at Brother Joe. There are a lot of reasons why I like the Perrys and want to see them succeed and thrive (and not just get by). But mainly it comes down to this: if the Perrys played their cards right in the next 3-5 years, they could be the next super group. Here’s why. They’ve already proven from the Changed Forever through Life of Love era that with the right talent in place and with the right material, they can capture the attention of pretty much the entire range of gospel music fans – young, old, traditional, progressive, quartet people and everybody else.
More than that, they’ve caught Bill Gaither’s attention. He had them on his Nashville taping and has them scheduled later this month in Greenville, SC. I don’t think this is just coincidence. Gaither needs a new super group that resonates with the Howard and Vestal crowd. And think about it. The Perrys are perfect for this role, with the added bonus that they sing better than the Goodmans (in fact, they arguably sing the Goodmans better than the Goodmans, from a purely technical perspective anyway). Can you imagine what will happen at a Gaither concert (with a live audience) when Libbi Stuffle rises from her seat and opens the first lines of “Gawd Wawlks the Dark Heeels”?
Look at the Nashville taping: The Perrys sang “Wish I Could’ve Been There” and, as I understand it, it went over very well (and no one seemed to care that a certain lead vocalist who shall remain nameless sang nowhere near the beat). And then Libbi Stuffle sang with a pickup-group of vocalists by herself and that seemed to have went well too. This is exactly what Gaither did with Vestal and Howard. Used them together to evoke that family harmony and faith tradition passed down from generation to generation in the old time toe-tapping way, and then used Vestal’s charisma and vocal abilities by herself and in recombination with others to create the kind of sparks of spontaneity and magical moments that people kept buying videos and tickets in hopes of seeing.
The thing is, for this to happen, the Perrys have to be rock solid. And right now, they are not. But imagine what would happen – what could happen – if Habedank went back to baritone, where he was (as I have said before, often brilliant and always competent) and the Stuffles hired a lead who could give them that great wall of sound they had three years ago and who could really carry solos on his own. My own pick from the current crop of leads out there is Josh Feemster from Mercy’s Mark (I’m curious, though, to hear other suggestions; it’s not as easy as I thought it’d be).
But whatever. The smartest thing the Stuffles could do right now is go to Gaither for help finding a lead. It would give him a sense of ownership and if anyone has their finger on the pulse of who’s great out there, it’s Bill Gaither. And once the Perrys and Gaither have a sense of shared investment in the sound, the partnership has a basis to build from.Email this Post