|The Perrys - David Ragan, Leah Page and Bryan Walker|
With Tracy in the rehab facility and Libbi by his side and the departure of longtime lead singer Joseph Habedank, Bryan Walker is the lone familiar face in this lineup of the Perrys. David Ragan has joined the group as the lead singer, and Leah Page is filling in for Libbi. Even though it's not the Perrys you are used to seeing, the group is carrying on and living up to the group's legacy.
Leah got the night started by singing "The Blood and its Power," which is from the Perrys' latest project, Through the Night. Leah impressed me when I watched videos of her online, but seeing her live is even more impressive.
They then sang "I Got a Hold of Got This Morning," where we got to hear David step up and sing by himself. He is sounding great with the group. "This Old Sinner Testifies" was next where Bryan was featured. The crowd really got into this one and loved it!
They sang "Calvary Answers for Me" next which featured David. I don't remember seeing the Perrys stage this song before when I've seen them live. David absolutely nailed it! A highlight of the concert! Bryan said in the words of Tracy that cranked his tractor! :)
Many in the audience that night had not seen the Perrys before. Bryan explained Tracy and Libbi's situation. He said that his brain had gone through five hemorrhages, and doctors say that normally people don't survive one. It's evident that God is not through with Tracy! He said that he was anxiously waiting for them to get back because he was missing Tracy and Libbi who have been like a mom and dad to him. He talked about how God is definitely working in Tracy through the recent strides he has made.
He went on to say that God's faithfulness begins before we even realize it. God sent the Perrys the song "Through the Night" last year for their new album, before they knew the storms and the valleys they would go through. The song talks about praising God through those trying times, through the night. Bryan said that even when we can't see the hand of God moving, we can trust His heart. Leah then sang "Through the Night."
Bryan went into his a cappella rendition of "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" next. I've always enjoyed hearing him sing this hymn and with him emceeing he was able to stop and repeat phrases he wanted to emphasize in the song. He then led the audience in singing "God Is So Good."
Bryan introduced Leah and David. He was in the middle of introducing David, and someone's cell phone rang. He kept going, but a minute later the phone rang again. So he chuckled and said, "Well if you're not saved, Jesus is calling you."
After introductions, they sang two Happy Goodman songs "Living in Canaan Now" and "I Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now." Leah sang "The Holy Hills of Heaven" from Libbi's solo CD.
They ended the first half with "If You Knew Him." Based on YouTube videos Bryan has been singing this song, so that's what I was expecting Friday night as well. From the videos with Bryan singing this song, I was looking forward to hearing it live, because he sounded great! But David took the song Friday night. I'm not sure how many times he has sung this song live, but he did an incredible job! The audience was on its feet.
They started back after intermission with "Blue Skies." Bryan read from Philippians 2 starting with verse 5. He said that he felt led to share the verses and talked about how we so often fail to communicate with the greatest communicator of all. Many times we just need to stop and humble ourselves before God and thank Him. Leah then sang "Did I Mention."
Bryan led in the invitation and then sang "Whosoever Will." They ended the night with "I Wish I Could Have Been There." It was good to hear Bryan take the lead on both of these songs, especially loved hearing him sing "Whosoever Will."
A couple of things about the night really stood out to me. First of all, Leah is an incredible singer! She just turned 20 years old, but her voice is far more mature. It would be easy when filling in for a veteran singer like Libbi to try to sound like her and imitate her as she is singing Libbi's songs, but Leah took the songs and made them her own adding her own vocal inflections in places. To me, that's a strong indication of how great of a singer she is! Bryan commented when he introduced her that he expects to see her full time in gospel music after Libbi returns to the stage, and I certainly hope that is the case. I expect a bright future for her after what I saw on Friday night.
It was interesting to me to see whether Bryan or David was going to sing the lead on songs. For now, they seem to be sharing songs that Joseph was featured on. I'm sure David is still learning songs and parts, but he did such a great job being with them less than a month.
Also, David fits in so well already. On stage, they encouraged each other when one was featured. Their voices blend together well. To me, it was evident that they have a friendship already off the stage as well as on.
Bryan is doing a fantastic job leading the group on the stage and emceeing. He did a good job of pacing the night and introducing songs. He led the invitation at the end, and it was evident that that is why he was there that night, to point others to Christ. He's been recognized since he joined the Perrys as a great singer and he's only grown since then, but he also showed that he's stepped up to the plate to lead the group.
This is not the Perrys you are accustomed to seeing, but I think that's all the more reason to go see them. You will see three solid vocalists who in a short amount of time are already blending well together on stage and stepping up to carry on the legacy of the Perrys that has been around for 40 years. This lineup is doing the name of the Perrys proud. Don't miss your chance to see them when they are close by!