Goodbye, Matthew Holt

Insiderman says the Perrys pianist is leaving. Or rather, has already left.

A little digging confirms this is indeed the case and the Ps are auditioning replacements. From what I can tell, they parted on good terms. Holt is, evidently, returning to some sort of something in education near his home.

If all the details aren’t entirely correct or precise, I’d only say, you get what you pay for when blogs become the primary source of new news about this sort of thing. And it’s not like I’m jumping the gun here or anything. He’s gone. Update: his last date with them is Saturday. And it sure doesn’t look like the Perrys have an plans on releasing anything about Holt’s departure per se. My guess is we won’t hear anything from them officially until a replacement is on board, but even if that’s wrong (and it turns it was, obviously), the more important point is that they didn’t get ahead of the news themselves.

In this, the Ps are following what appears to be a trend in sg “media relations”: groups increasingly are treating personnel changes as non-existent news until or unless a replacement is found, at which point the replaced is mentioned in a short paragraph near the bottom of the release whose primary point is the announcement of the replacement.

I confess don’t really get this. All the time people like Holt are on stage with a group, we’re told over and over again how they’re one of the greatest, maybe even the greatest [fill in the blank] in gospel music, show ‘em you love ‘em, let’s hear it for … this guy who doesn’t even rate his own boilerplate press release when he leaves the group after years of, in this case, impeccable keyboard work, a graceful presence on stage, and tasteful bearing off stage.

Leave it to sg to meet the information age … and stare back in stubborn silence. Sigh.


Later: I’ve updated for corrections above. The Perrys put out a press release late yesterday that’s here. The interns wanted me to declare a tactical victory for browbeating a response out of them, but then the interns work in the basement and dwell in darkness, so they don’t know how to take the high road. Plus, they’re probably wrong anyway. The point is, the Perrys did the right thing. If silence about personnel changes is the new trend, I hope this is the new untrend.

But my larger point still stands: groups in southern gospel (and I’m talking about top-tier, nationally touring groups here) have more to gain than lose by getting out in front of personnel changes (sing it with me now … too many sunsets lie behind the mountain, too many rivers my feet have walked through...) There may be cases where you can be out with the old at the same time as you’re in with the new, and when that’s possible, great. Do that by all means (it worked nicely for Greater Vision when Jason Waldrup Waldrop Walrus Waldroup left). But if you don’t have your act together, or circumstances simply don’t allow, and you can’t say hello and goodbye simultaneously, then you should do the right thing (see Perrys, above) and take the five minutes required to pen a civil press release (sincerity optional, depending on the context surrounding the departure) notifying the close-knit, small world of southern gospel of the news that’s going to get around anyway, or - as in this case - already had.

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  1. Aaron Swain wrote:

    The “no press release” thing you’re talking about is a big problem with SG today. People go to concerts all the time and see somebody new with a group or somebody absent, and they’re left wondering what the heck is going on because nothing ever gets “officially” sent out telling of the changes.
    Then, when us bloggers post about it, we’re ripped on for spreading rumors. It’s not our fault we get to stuff that people don’t bother announcing themselves.

  2. Baritone77 wrote:

    “In this, the Ps are following what appears to be a trend in sg “media relations”: groups increasingly are treating personnel changes as non-existent news until or unless a replacement is found, at which point the replaced is mentioned in a short paragraph near the bottom of the release whose primary point is the announcement replacement.”

    This is commonplace in the world outside of SG. You don’t see a press release usually when someone leaves an organization, only when they join.

    If a CEO moves from overseeing Barq’s Root Beer to overseeing Coke, you don’t see Barq’s putting out a press release on their CEO leaving for Coke. It will be a brief mention when the next guy is hired.

    Now in most cases, the media is tipped off by the company that the person is leaving so they can make it a story but for that organization, someone leaving is someone else’s story.

    I think one of the reasons we are seeing more of it in the SG world is that more and more PR professionals are handling the larger groups publicity instead of mom and pop.

  3. Aaron Swain wrote:

    #2: In the situation you mentioned, it makes more sense not to do press releases like this. Coke and Barq’s and other such companies don’t have fans.
    For musical groups, however, it doesn’t make much sense. It’d be nice for fans to know stuff without having to hear it from parties other than the groups.
    Of course, in musical genres other than SG, there’s not nearly as much turnover.

  4. jbb wrote:

    Well, for whatever the reason for his departure , I wish him well and I know God is going to continue to Bless him. It can’t be easy leaving your wife and baby every week. He will truly be missed.
    As far as the “press release”..I’m not their manager, so I guess they really don’t owe me anything.

  5. Chuck Peters wrote:

    As for press releases.. that’s up to the artists and/or record company to send those out.. if they want to. But.. they don’t have to. As for news people and/or bloggers.. the artists don’t owe us any PRs.. ever. If we stay in touch and ask questions.. we’ll get the news. If we do our jobs.. and then they lie to us or refuse to answer our questions. then we have a beef.

    In this case.. I haven’t asked any questions.. because I didn’t have a clue. It kinda surprises me.. I thought I had the right contacts.. and my friends would have said something.. well.. guess I was wrong. But I do know how to contact the right the right way.. and I will.

    If they act silly.. like it’s a trade secret that nobody knows.. then I will report that too.

  6. Kyle wrote:

    Do you have any idea how many press releases would be floating around if someone announced every time someone left or joined a SG group?!?!?!?!

  7. Aaron Swain wrote:

    #6: Well, not the small-time groups. I’m talking about the nationally known ones, like The Perrys, Tribute, Booth Brothers, so on and so forth. Those are the ones that press releases would be better suited for.

    I do understand what you’re saying though. If small-timers sent out press releases every time something happened, sites wouldn’t be able to hold it all.

  8. quartet-man wrote:

    True, Kyle, but instead we get ones like so and so in the nameless, talentless quartet decided to change brands of facial tissues. ;) I would like to know (especially with my favorite groups) who is going where.

  9. RF wrote:

    OTOH, Gold City and Greater Vision was up front about Jonathan Wilburn and Jason Waldroup leaving. I know this is not the case, but you have to wonder if it was not on good terms.

    Regardless, best to Matthew and good luck to the Perrys on replacing him.

  10. RF wrote:

    Before anyone corrects me, I meant to type were and my hands went to was and I sent it before engaging my brain.

    One more thing. I remember press releases from EHSSQ when Roy was dismissed and when Tony joined the Kingsmen, as well as many others. In fact, even when Loren Harris left the P’s. So I don’t know what’s up with this. It rivals the GVB losing David Phelps and not announcing it for a month later.

  11. Hello wrote:

    Just to let you know, Matthew’s last date was not last Saturday in Jackson, TN, but rather THIS coming Saturday in Anniston, AL at the Mark Trammell Homecoming.

  12. Aaron Swain wrote:

    Libbi Stuffle stopped by the SN forums to say that there is a press release to go out this evening. Nice to know that The Perrys aren’t one of those groups that leave fans scratching their heads when changes happen.

  13. therock wrote:

    Matthew Holt is one of the most talented musicians from the last 25 years or so. But man alive, he is as arrogant as any musician I have met. His attitude is for the birds! Nevertheless, he is a fantastic pianist and will continue to go far.

  14. therock wrote:

    Btw…multi-talented or not, few if any singers/musicians have ever proven to be irreplaceable.

  15. afan wrote:

    Holt seems classy and down to earth whenever I’ve come across him. I wish him and the Perrys the best.

  16. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    Chuck Peters in post #5 has the right idea about press releases and news gathering.
    You can’t win them all.
    News gathering sometimes means being in the right place at right time.
    Maybe the bloggers of the world creates a world of hesitation for the artists before sending out a press release.
    Sending out a press release is an open invitation to go through the trash and burn meat grinder generated by the bloggers and commentators.

  17. Daniel J. Mount wrote:

    I have talked with Matthew Holt on several occasions, and arrogant is right about the last word I would have ever thought to describe him.

    Sure, any of us can have a bad day, or unintentionally say something that comes off wrong. But I’ve watched him interact with fans (I’m the sort that stands back and watches that sort of thing for a half-hour or longer) and haven’t seen anything of the sort.

  18. jbb wrote:

    #13. Then you don’t know Matthew Holt. Personalities are different, but, he is not arrogant and what does that have to do with anything?

  19. DJPhil wrote:

    I, like Daniel have interacted with Matthew several times and have always found him to be down to earth and just one of the guys. Arrogant? Not the guy I know.

  20. D. Ann Bailey wrote:

    #13 not sure who you saw but if they were arrogant it wasn’t Matt!!! I’ve seen him talk for ages about the same thing over and over with a young fan or take time to stop and listen to an elderly person. He is always at the table meeting and greeting the fans before and after the concert. I’ve seen him demonstrate the patience of Job in many situations with fans. I haven’t just seen him a few times, I’ve seen them a LOT and this is the personally I’ve seen over and over. The only time I’ve seen him lose his patience is when a fan came up and would push another fan out of the way to talk to him or cut off a younger person who wanted to talk with him. That rudeness sometimes would make him a little short but that’s not arrogrance that’s a respect for the people he’s talking to at the time.

  21. Matt G. wrote:

    I also must stand up for Matthew Holt. Twice now, he’s invited me onstage to play along side him on “I Wish I Could’ve Been There.” He’s always been nothing but kind and gracious to me. I’m very sad to see him leave, he is an incredible musician and person!!

  22. Eric Melton wrote:

    Chuck Peters wrote:

    As for press releases.. that’s up to the artists and/or record company to send those out.. if they want to. But.. they don’t have to. As for news people and/or bloggers.. the artists don’t owe us any PRs.. ever.

    Chuck, I agree. I think it is fine for people to announce when someone is leaving. Some groups however would always be writing more press releases than having time to sing. I remember talking to Dwayne Burke last year at NQC about the days of the Singing Americans. He laughed when he said “it seemed like every other weekend someone new was on the bus”. It is called turnover and it happens in every business whether you sing Southern Gospel, Pastor a church, work in a factory or are a business executive on Wall Street.

    But to address the issue for everyone about as to why the artists don’t always give a reason, don’t Southern Gospel singers have a right to keep some of their business personal and not have everyone knowing. If every little secret sin in Southern Gospel were to be exposed then none of us would have a right to be in this industry. I have made my share of wrongs, but I serve a forgiving God.

    I guess some people speculated that called my company where I was when I was in the hospital for several days recently with pnemonia. I did not tell hardly anyone where I was. It is called the privacy policy at the hospital.

  23. Zack Swain wrote:

    I too will go up to bat to defend Matt. I’d consider Matt a good friend of mine. Always have encouraged me and tried to help me along my way in the industry. Never once have I seen him be arrogant to myself or anyone! and as far as his piano skills, he is by far one of the best out there if not the best. Never thought he received the credit he deserved out there.

  24. Kenneth Coker wrote:

    I’ve known Matthew since he was 10 or so. Helped him get his gig with the Carolina Boys when Nick Succi was stuck in Canada for two weeks and arrogant is one of the last words I would’ve described him.

    I love how “fans” can make an impression of someone just by their experience they had with him for maybe five or ten minutes.

    I’ve traveled many roads with Matthew and worked side-by-side with him and arrogant is not the way to describe him.

    He is a good friend and I wish him all the best with his new endeavor.

  25. Tad Kirkland wrote:

    I find the most odd thing about this topic is #7’s comment “…nationally known ones, like The Perrys, Tribute, Booth Brothers, so on and so forth”! Nice way to sandwich in a relatively unknown to give them props by association. Or how about chart toppers like them Gaithers, Four Heart Harmony, or the Crabb Family…
    I agree with #6. The revolving door in SG is not good press and undermines a group’s legitimacy. Exceptions are honoring a long-time group member like Jason Waldroup. I’m not a fan, but way to go Greater Vision for handling this with class.

  26. Chuck Peters wrote:

    Geeze Douglas..

    I can’t believe that you (or your “interns”) are arrogant enough to think the PERRYS decided to send out PR.. because you called them on it.. Besides.. most of your initial report was wrong. Actually your story was correct.. your sources were not accurate (I’ve been there and done that too many times).

    Anyway.. it was I.. who made them go public with the truth.. Didn’t you read my story? (see how silly that sounds)

  27. Howland Sharpe wrote:

    I worked a recording session with Matthew. Great guy; no attitude whatsoever. A lot of guys come in like they’re God’s gift to the 88-key piano. Not this guy. Quiet? Yes, but in a I-don’t-need-to-blow-my-mouth-off sort of way. He’ll be successful in whatever he does. So will the Perrys.

  28. not a grammarian wrote:

    Seriously asking here. What is the correct spelling of the “minced oath” (at least that’s what Mom called it) Jeez, Geez, or Geeze? I’m thinking if it is short for “Jesus” then Jeez would be proper, but I could use some help here.

  29. Aaron Swain wrote:

    #25: Relatively unknown? They’re on nomination for Horizon Group Of The Year. Since when is that unknown?

  30. Aaron Swain wrote:

    Talking about Tribute, by the way.

  31. Nashville Insider wrote:

    #7: GIVE AN EXAMPLE for your POSTING saying that MATT is arrogant!

    RIDICULOUS and INSANE comment! If he treated you ANYTHING but professional and friendly, I can ASSURE you something was going on in his personal life - but I doubt this is the case.

    Explain your comment then we will judge….

  32. Live and Learn wrote:

    #26 (Chuck) and #28 (notagrammarian):

    It looks like “jeez” is probably the standard, while “geez” is an alternative spelling (according to Merriam-Webster).

    #28, your Mom was right; it’s a “euphemism for Jesus,” and used as a “mild oath or introductory expletive (as to express surprise).”

    There you go!

  33. Aaron Swain wrote:

    #31: I never said Matt was arrogant. That was #13.

  34. Chuck Peters wrote:

    mine was “Geeze”.. it’s my abbreviation of Gee-Whiz.. not sure what that means. It’s probably a sin too.

  35. BUICK wrote:

    #28 (not a grammarian) - since it is a corrupted form of the name of Jesus and a way of using his name in an irreverent way, you’re probably better off not knowing how to spell it. If you can’t spell it, you can’t use it and if you can’t use it, you can’t use it in vain (at least in that manner).

    May YHWH bless you.

  36. Jim Gerdes wrote:

    I see the Perrys twice a year and talk to Matt each time. Great guy. The Perrys will find another great guy because they are class and a good judge not only of talent but of Christian standards. I can’t wait to chat with Tracy again at the NQC.

  37. therock wrote:

    Whoa call off the dogs. I’m not slamming his character or Christianity or anything. That’s just the impression I got. Now I have good friends that I consider on the arrogant side, but they’re still my friends and I’d do anything for them. I’m sure that if I were friends with Holt then I’d feel the same way. Discussion’s just discussion.

  38. NoNameNashvilleMan wrote:

    OK sorry Aaron - yeah, I like you - so come on #13 SPILL IT! Give us the example of MATT being arrogant!

  39. cynical one wrote:

    Aaron, just because they’re nominated for Horizon award, and they buy ads in SN every month, that doesn’t necessarily make them a household name. I’ve seen their ads, and saw them once (at the SGMA showcase @ GMA in April — which was not a pleasant representation, in my book), but my wife wasn’t present for that (she should be thankful), and although she reads SN, she’s not familiar with their name, let alone their music.

    Horizon awards go to new artists. They’re still considerably new to the scene. I wouldn’t consider them “nationally known”.

    And Eric is right, there are privacy issues to consider. Especially if a person leaves a group on less-than-pleasant terms, it’s really none of our business. But we stick our collective noses into it, anyway, don’t we? Or there could be family issues that the individual isn’t ready to discuss. Someone mentioned Roy Webb’s departure from EHSSQ. When Roy was ready to talk about his family situation, he did so. Until then, it was none of our business.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

  40. quartet-man wrote:

    #34 I never thought of it as an abbreviation of the Lord either. I have used it. Whether or not its origins were that way, that is not what I mean by it.

  41. quartet-man wrote:

    #37 One man’s confident is another’s aloof is another’s arrogant. :)

  42. cynical one wrote:

    quartetman — Like ‘not a grammarian’, I too was taught (as a child) that words like shoot, darn, gee, geez (or any other spelling), golly, gosh, goll, gosh darn, goll darn, etc, were euphemisms for the other (worse) swear words they sounded like, and were therefore inappropriate for Christians to use.

    I’m not as dogmatic about it as my parents were, but I still cringe when I hear my pastor say them.

    Even George Carlin used to do a bit in which he said, “shoot’s just shxx with 2 o’s.” So apparently the “world” knows more about appropriateness than some believers.

  43. D. Ann Bailey wrote:

    #37 - “Now I have good friends that I consider on the arrogant side, but they’re still my friends and I’d do anything for them. I’m sure that if I were friends with Holt then I’d feel the same way. Discussion’s just discussion.”

    But if my friend was arrogant or on the arrogant side as you put, I would not defend them as not being arrogant. Discussion that is not based on facts is gossip or deliberate character assault.

  44. Dexter wrote:

    Well, if you can’t pay your musicians, especially ones with a wife and new baby, they have to move on…

  45. william wrote:

    #44 - I don’t think that’s why he left - they’re looking for a replacement right now.

    I agree with the people who don’t like “jeez” being thrown around so lightly - why break 1 of the 10 commandments that flippantly? Breaking 1 is like breaking all…coming down off the soapbox :D

  46. Dexter wrote:

    My goodness…ooops…I swear…ooops…holy cow…sorry….lets just suck every thing out of life and break everything down…if we really want to get down to brass tacks ( case I offended anyone..) Lets break everything and every word down to it’s pagen historical roots…we may never speak again…nope…just sit around with pained expressions on our faces….goodness GRACIOUS! (oops…sorry)

  47. rachel wrote:

    In respose to Dexter’s comment about Matt not getting paid, I am married to Matt’s accountant, and let me assure you that Matt was getting paid far more than what you might think. He was one of the highest, if not the highest paid paino player for a SG group out there.

  48. D. Ann Bailey wrote:

    #44 - Dexter where do you get the crap you post???? Sorry if that offends anyone but if manure makes you happier I’ll use it.

    Do you just say whatever you think will stir something up? I’d be careful what you say because statements about others that could be considered slander and certainly are said an intent to bring harm to their character would hold up for a NICE LARGE claim in any court in the land, so you better make real sure you get some facts to back up your claims.

    Of course, I doubt Tracy or Libbi are the kind of folks that take you to court because they aren’t trying to take anything they didn’t earn. Count yourself lucky, most of us would see you in court.

  49. Dexter wrote:

    I apologize….I guess I need to stick to the truth that I’ve always read in press releases…that everyone always leaves groups to spend time with their family…or to go where the Lord leads them….I was foolish to think otherwise…..once again….I apologize….I’ll not bring it up again…

  50. observant boy wrote:

    #47 rachel

    I am sure that matt will love having the spouse of his accountant talking about his finances on a blog.

    Even though you were defending him, I imagine you should not talk about that sort of thing.

    Privacy is still good, even in the internet age.

  51. darrel s. wrote:

    you guys run out of things to talk about these days dont you?

  52. D. Ann Bailey wrote:

    Sticking to the truth is always a safe bet, regardless of whether that is what is in a press release or not. If you have FACTS, not your opinions or something you have heard, to back up what you say that’s one thing. But to make statements that are harmful without that is not only wrong, you could be put in a position to have to prove it or be liable for it.

  53. quartet-man wrote:

    #45 I am not sure people who use jeez or their equivalents are breaking the commandment as you say. I know it was never used by me intentionally as a substitution for the Lord’s name, so therefore I am not sure those who use it without meaning it that way qualify. However, I guess others might think we are doing it and erring on the side of caution might be best.

  54. not a grammarian wrote:

    I’ll be sure and use that as an excuse next time I get pulled over. Honest, Officer, I wasn’t “intentionally” speeding!
    You make a lot of sense

  55. rachel wrote:

    to #50 We are very good friends with Matt. I assure you he doesn’t mind. He was even willing to post a comment to what his pay was, so that people could see that he was paid well, and to prove that money was not the issue. If I had quoted his yearly earnings then that might be a different story. But, I am sure that that is what some would love to see.

  56. David & Emily Webb wrote:

    We are Lindsey Holt’s aunt and uncle…Just a note of thanks to everyone who has been so gracious and complimentary of Matthew’s talent and work. We can assure all his fans that Matthew’s departure from the Perrys is truly bittersweet. His love for Lindsey and Fletcher and his longing to be with them everyday is paramount in his life. Our entire family is indebted to Tracy & Libbi Stuffle for these past four years. The many ways in which they have shown their love and support to Matthew & Lindsey is way beyond the realm of just an employer.
    We realize that it is difficult for some not to try to find a “real, salacious, negative” reason for someone leaving a group. Sorry, in this case the real reason is just as the press release stated. Please remember Matthew in your thoughts and prayers…July 27 will be a night filled with many tears for him.

  57. D. Ann Bailey wrote:

    One last note to Dexter - I’m sure not every person who leaves does so to spend time with their family…or to go where the Lord leads them…. but then that’s really their business isn’t it. If they aren’t telling the truth - a much higher power than you will be calling them into accounting. If they are and you accuse them of lying, that same power will hold your accounting sheet BUT if you do it to the wrong person, they may decide to make you accountable here and now by demanding you show proof or ‘tell it to the judge’. Don’t let the apparant veil the internet offers give you the mistaken belief that identities can’t be discovered should it become a legal issue.

    I’ve talked to Matt on more than one occasion about how much he missed Lindsey and Fletcher while he was on long trips. And you could see the longing in his eyes, it wasn’t just polite conversation.

    And to observant one, not that my assurance will mean a lot to you but I can assure you that Matt appreciated Rachel giving the info she did.

    He does feel torn between two things he loves and is trying to make the right decision for right now in his life. But you know reading a few people’s comments may make him glad that at least a small part of the SGM life (critical people who state opinions as facts) will not be a part of his life now.

  58. quartet-man wrote:

    #54 notagrammarian, love the attitude.

    Speeding is not an accurate comparison unless the person’s speedometer isn’t working and they never knew they were speeding. Of course they still ended up speeding. However, this situation is different. Words can have more than one meaning. The meaning I used was not intended to be a replacement for His name. So, it wasn’t done.

  59. Woody wrote:

    I personally do not use lightly, any derivative of the Lord’s many names. This was a very strict rule carried over from childhood. However I have known many fine Christians who when asked, had never thought of gee or jeez or golly as minced oaths at all, but just made up words. So although I still cringe when I hear them, when they are said openly by a Christian who does not typically use other vulgarities, I assume they are not intentionally cursing at all. It would be similar to hearing a two year old use a nonsense word he wasn’t familiar with, which just happened to be a curse. I wouldn’t consider him sinning, because it is done in ignorance. (Not stupid ignorance, just an understandable lack of education in language origins.)
    If you hear someone use those words who you feel close to, why not ask how they meant it? They might actually like to know how others perceive their words.

  60. cynical one wrote:

    Yes, sometimes the excuse of leaving to spend more time with the family is just that, an excuse. But sometimes it’s very real.

    Having been a traveling saleman for several years in the past, I can tell you with all honesty that being away from home 4 nights most weeks is not easy. Some families can handle it for decades without it seemingly taking a toll on the relationships. Others learn they need more regular contact than that kind of travel affords.

  61. Jenn wrote:

    Wow- and now I just read that Tim Parton is leaving L5!!! Two big piano openings…. with two big groups…

  62. afan wrote:

    On Thursday night, Tracy said they’d be making an announcement on Friday as to who their new piano player would be.

    Troy Peach played on Thursday evening and did an admirable job. For those of you who don’t know, Troy has been driving the bus and helping Jared run the sound. In fact, it looked like an impromptu moment midway through the service when he was sort of put on the spot and really came through. Libbi sang The Potter Knows The Clay and was talking after the song and just kind of out of nowhere started into the second verse of that song again with no music. Troy quickly came in and played the song out (just piano and vocals), even taking it up at the end. There were looks around by the others on stage, making it seem as if it was something totally unrehearsed. They had me believing it wasn’t planned. Kudos Troy.

    Katy Peach came up and sang a song they did on the Torch video (filmed two years ago at NQC). It was a Who Am I medley that she originally sang with Habedank and Waldroup, but on Thursday, she sang with Habedank and Troy Peach. She ripped it. She’s too good to not be singing with somebody.

    Good night for the Peach family on Thursday.

    Perrys were solid as always, nothing out of the ordinary, just solid.

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