Why live musicians matter

From afan:

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.

Two points. One: as a student of live performance and the craft of showmanship, I’m particularly fascinated by this anecdote not just because it’s one of those departures from the nightly routine that can really break open a chamber of feeling and religious experience for an audience that makes gospel music unique, but also because of the “meta” aspect of it all.

The moment was special and unexpected and interesting because it used the official absence of a live musician to outflank the audience and achieve a series of special “live” moments. With Holt gone, the audience wasn’t expecting live piano (who does these days in sg?), and the Perrys smartly capitalized on gospel audiences’ lowered expectations. After all, what the Peaches added to the Perrys set was, in the end, nothing more or less than what a good musician and a great singer do. But we don’t get so much of that these days in sg, and the Perrys, realizing that ok music is the new normal, appear to have played off the poverty of genuinely live gospel music. The Perrys: Not Mediocre. Smart. Very smart. Really.

Which leads me to my second, more general, point: call me cynical, but I always assume everything is intentional until proven spontaneous (which is not always the correct assumption, mind you, and more on that, actually, in a post to come soon), but in this case, whether impromptu or rehearsed, this little interlude reinforces how essential live accompaniment is to the gospel experience. And more Katy Peach, please.

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  1. justa noutsider wrote:

    Word on the street is that Brian Elliott is leaving the Anchormen and has been tapped as the new pianist for The Perrys.

    If this is indeed true, a press release should be forthcoming soon.

  2. Alan wrote:

    I know the Perrys some; have worked with them in Canada. Even years ago, they were something special, and I’ve been really proud of them. No matter who was singing or playing, they fielded a great group of folks. It’s still true. I also respect that they’re the real deal, on and off stage. Tracy might be the most underrated bass singing today. They’re total pros, and that wonderful concert review highlights one of those moments that happen all too infrequently. I wish I’d been there! As for my vote, they really don’t need to go very far to find one great keyboard man…Troy Peach has the chops, and he plays some wonderful and tasty piano. If they get Katy with the deal, sheesh - they’ll be untouchable. Maybe Troy’s a great coach driver, but those hands need to be on a keyboard rather than wrapped around a big steering wheel.

  3. woodypatrick wrote:

    #1 you are correct…my insider info says the perrys have a photo shoot coming up with brian elliot as their new pianist

  4. scope wrote:

    I’ve long been a fan of Troy Peach. I wish I could have heard him play. And I love Katy’s singing. I wish the Perrys well with Bryan, but I don’t get why they just didn’t use Troy on piano.

  5. bethanee wrote:

    my insider info says Tracy offered the position to Troy and he declined it.

  6. afan wrote:

    If that is the case (that Troy turned the position down), could that mean that Troy may not be with the group in any capacity much longer? He seems like a man of quality character. The top-tier groups understand one key thing, that in order to be successful you have to surround yourself with quality individuals. The Perrys have lots of connections and are well respected in the industry. So, if Troy were to leave, they’ll undoubtedly replace him with another quality guy. However, Troy could fill in and sing one night if they were in a pinch. He could play if they were in a pinch. He can run sound. He can drive the bus. He may not be the best in any of those capacities, but he can perform adequately if not better in all of them. Therefore, losing him would certainly be a loss for the group. After saying all of that, for the Perrys’ sake, I hope he’s sticking around for a while. Of course, if Troy did turn down the gig, maybe it was because he didn’t feel like he could drive and play too. Maybe it would just be too demanding. Who knows. Why can’t we just be in Troy’s head to find out the answer to the question? Of course, why do we care that much? Why are we so curious (aka nosy)? Could it be because we care? There’s a lot of whys thrown out there. Oh well, on to the next three-minute pondering session. Regardless, may God continue to bless the ministry of the Perrys.

  7. thom wrote:

    I was the promoter and emcee for the Perry’s concert you guys are discussing. It was a fabulous night! We had a full house and The Perrys have never sounded better.
    The evening was opened by a -great- trio from Murfressboro TN called “Encounter.” Let me tell you something; we “had church” and the Holy Spirit ministered to people in a big way. What an anointed night.

    Troy Peach is an integral part of The Perrys now and from my vantage point he is one versatile young man. He is able to jump in anywhere they need him, as some eluded to earlier. Whether driving the bus, running the multi-media presentation, (I think he actually put it together - and it’s a great compliment to their staging), running sound, playing piano, or singing if they need him to, he seems like a valuable part of their team.

    Tracy Stuffle is a tremendous emcee for the group and I agree what someone else said about him being one of the most under rated bass singers. That man can bring it!
    What I admire most is how he calls out the songs based on how the Spirit leads him. Very few groups do that anymore with the flexibility and freedom that The Perrys do.

    It’s no secret to those of you who have read my comments before that I am a big Perrys fan. They are the real deal. I would highly recommend them to anyone.

    I am looking forward to meeting the new piano player and seeing him in action.

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