Joseph Habedank leaves The Perrys

Yesterday afternoon, The Perrys announced on their Facebook page that Joseph Habedank is leaving the group. Habedank offered this statement:

After 10 years of having the great privilege to serve with the Perrys, I have decided to step down as Lead Singer at this time. Libbi and I talked earlier this week, and while I would never want to abandon her in such a great time of need, sometimes The Lord has other plans. There aren’t enough words for me to express how truly grateful I am for both Tracy and Libbi giving me the opportunity that they have. They are like parents to me and I love them dearly. I will miss them. 

To the Gospel Music community, thank you all for loving and accepting me over the years. I never dreamed that The Lord would allow me to feel so loved by the fans of Gospel Music. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

As for my future, only The Lord knows what He has in store. I am confident of this one thing tho; I am absolutely nothing without Him and I only want His perfect will for my life. My wife, Lindsay, and I both covet your prayers in this time of transition. We love you all. 

With a grateful heart,
Joseph Habedank 

Libbi Perry Stuffle added her own thoughts:

While it saddens me that Joseph is leaving, we definitely respect his and Lindsay’s need to reevaluate their lives and future. He has been like a son to me and Tracy. Although he is leaving our group, we will always consider him part of our family. 

As for the Perry’s, we will continue on. It is my plan to be back on the road as soon and as much as possible. I don’t have all the answers right now, but God is in control. Thank you for your love and prayers for me, Tracy, Jared, Bryan, and Leah; and your continued support of the group.

In His Grip,
Libbi

At the time of the stroke, Joseph Habedank was nearing ten years with the group. Besides the length of his tenure, his stature as a songwriter (multiple #1 hits and a Song of the Year) played a major role in audiences accepting the Stuffle-less Perrys. But at the time of the stroke, Bryan Walker was the rookie in the group; he’s now the senior member at the programs far enough from Nashville that Libbi can’t make it. So Bryan, Leah, and Habedank’s replacement face a steep road ahead and will need our prayers.

About Daniel J. Mount

Daniel Mount has written 3195 posts.

Daniel J. Mount is the founder and editor of Southern Gospel Journal.


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49 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Oh, my!!

  2. Wow! That’s a shocker. Praying for all involved.

    Hey, I know a good lead singer who is free. Ah, I’ll let the Lord handle it and keep out. :)

    • Brian,

      Are great minds thinking alike?

      • Maybe… what I meant I’ll let the Lord handle it, or OLANELJONOISLEJE. :)

    • I know that everyone involved would be MUCH better off to leave it in the Lord’s hands and not mine. :)

    • @Brian

      I just saw that David will be filling in with the Perry’s until June 9th. I guess we were on the right track.

  3. Wow! I am sure that Joseph and his wife prayed over this for a long time before making this decision. I just pray that Libbi will remain encouraged in the Lord and they can find a replacement quickly. I also pray that this doesn’t cause them to lose bookings.

    I will throw out a name for her to consider. David Ragan.

    • Just saw them in concert this past weekend in Huntsville Alabama. Honestly didn’t seem as though his heart was in it. I guess he had alot on his mind.

      • who is David Ragan? and what is his number?

      • He was the lead singer for the Inspirations until recently. With rare exceptions, only specifically authorized by the owner of a phone number, I don’t post phone numbers on this site.

      • I think it’s been hard for all the Perry’s with Tracy being sick. They have all had a real challenge but God is still in control and will lead them to know what to do next and who to seek out to fill the vacancy.

    • David Ragan would be awesome!

  4. I think Brian put it best…SHOCKER!

  5. THUD!!!

  6. Wowowowowowowow!

  7. As I said on the facebook post: Praying for all involved. Trusting the Lord that His will be done in all situations. Joseph, thank you for 10 great years and look forward to your new adventures, whatever they may be. Libbi & Gang, We have and will always continue to support you, Tracy and the group. Love you all.

  8. Can’t say this shocks me too much. He’s been trying to keep the group going lacking the two principle parts. After awhile, you’re gonna get burnt out from all that stress. The shock to me is that he isn’t announcing joining another group or forming his own. With a voice like that, it’d be sad to see him walk away from SGM forever.

    • I’m sure he’ll keep writing, I hope we don’t lose him from the road, either.

  9. Wonder if he’d be a good fit for baritone in Brian Free and Assurance?

    • That’s exactly what I was thinking!

      • I doubt that would work. Jospeh is too free with his lead vocals (in a good way) to fit into the tight, organized singing with BFA. Plus, given his stature with the Perrys, in going to BFA, he would just be the baritone singer because Brian will always be the “star” of that group. In football terms, it would be like Jospeh going from star quaterback for one team to a back-up on another team. He’s too talented for that in my opinion.

    • That’s what first came to my mind as well. He is naturally a baritone and had to train himself to sing lead. However, his voice is more of a “showcase” voice (not showy or show-off). His voice just lends itself to more of a limelight position. I’m not sure how well it would blend with BF&A. Their blend has always been so tight, almost like a machine!

  10. Joseph is my favourite lead ever (I mean it wholeheartedly). His voice is one that I enjoy a lot, one that I covet. I wish I could sing like him, then the earth would be a much better place :)

    I was saddened by his departure, then I remembered that “all things work together for good to those who love God.” Both he and the Perrys will, by God’s grace, move on in the service of the Lord. He might be saying goodbye to the Perrys, but he ain’t sayin’ bye to serving Christ. I’m sure we will be hearing more of him.

  11. Wow! I really think of Joseph as a Perry. It will be tough to see him with another group and see another singer with the Perry’s. I agree that it must feel like the weight of the world having to hold the group together without Libbi and Tracy and have been worried about him for a while now. I sure wish the best for The Perrry’s and Joseph!

  12. LOVE “The Perrys” and wll miss Joseph!! God Bless………………

  13. Don’t know all the situations, but it seems that a good idea would be to merge Debra Perry & Jaidyn’s Call with the Perrys. Debra, Libbi, Tracy, Chris, and Bryan would be a great combo, and the closest the Perrys have been to a family group in years. And until Tracy is back in commission, Debra could be the Perry standing out front for Libbi. Chris and Debra may feel differently and for good reasons, but it seems like that would be a beautiful merger.

  14. I will truly miss Joseph with the Perrys!!!! I heard them sing last weekend in Huntsville AL. and I also heard a group called New Harmony!!! The alto singer that sung with them was unbelievable!!!!!!! Her name was Leanne Fortner! She Rocks!!!

  15. Can’t say this is a surprise at all…this will be a big blow to The Perrys especially with Tracy recovering and Libbi taking care of him. It wouldn’t be a shock at all if Bryan Walker moved up to lead OR if Loren Harris came back. Whatever happens, they need our support and prayer now more than ever. Promoters and pastors have been cancelling them too much for them to be able to handle more.

    • What would absolutely be tremendous is if a couple of temporary, yet well known “free agents” could come on board with the Perry’s for the rest of the year. Obviously a bass singer and a lead singer would be needed. A couple of thoughts come to mind for the lead part….David Ragan of course is one. Wesley Pritchard would be awesome. Guy Penrod would be a major draw in terms of promoters who might be considered whether or not to book them without Libbi and Tracy. As for the bass singer….one name comes IMMEDIATELY to mind. I don’t know why this singer left his former position but GLENN DUSTIN, formerly of Legacy Five, could hold down Tracy’s part with no problems whatsoever. Even if Wesley, Guy or Glenn didn’t want a return to full time on the road quartet singing, if they could be added to the Perry’s even for the rest of the year, it would give Tracy’ recovery time to get further down the road and Libbi would be able to then get back on the road a little more. The other option to keep the Perry’s going until Lib and Tracy are back would be for Bill Gaither to book them as a full-time group with the 2013 Homecoming Tour. Hopefully, and prayerfully, the Southern Gospel Community will rally around this great SG family and help them in these truly trying times.

  16. Chris Henry’s comment really defines the current events.
    The part of his comment could be a case of what God’s timing to us is not always God’s timing to Him.
    Sometimes, God’s clock turns in mysterious ways.

  17. I agree with a lot of the assessments here. It’s not a good time to leave. But we don’t always understand God’s timing or plan–or the behind the scenes stresses and demands of what ANY group or artist goes through on a normal day with good health and a full schedule, let alone the load that all of the Perrys have had to carry since January 21st. Each one of them has had a burden to deal with. I thing Joseph has the talent to have a long career as a singer and writer in this industry if he so chooses, provided the gospel community at large doesn’t hold it against him for exiting the Perrys at such a critical time–and I really hope they do not because unless one has walked in his shoes, one really has no right to go there about it. My hope is that everyone will just continue to pray for all of them and that they would continue to follow God’s will and leading in their lives. I know that I would not want to have to make the decisions that any of them are facing at this point, and my heart goes out to all of them.

    If I were dreaming, what I would love for the Perrys–and Daniel, you may be able to tell us how financially logistically feasible this would be–is if some folks could get together with Bryan Walker–like Loren Harris, Nicole Watts, and Gene McDonald, for example–and create a Perrys Legacy Tour. They could do a concert of all their hits, from the “I Remember The Day” and “Royal Descendant” era through “There’s Power in Prayer” and “The Hem Of HIs Garment” to present day hits that we know and love. I’d be paying for my ticket, I know! I realize this would take great planning and probably require more in salary to get the right people in place to make it work, but Lordy, would that be an awesome night! On the songs where the Perrys had two females in the past, Nicole and Leah could sing, and then switch out when the songs with the three men/one woman combination came into play later. Hey…you can’t blame a person for dreaming!!

    • Are you speaking of doing this with Libbi and (Lord willing) Tracy, or prior to their return?

      • I would say as substitutes until Libbi and (Lord willing) Tracy return as a way to keep the group going and dates booked.

      • Well, that’s a very good questions! I was thinking now, as a way to keep things going and keep income generating into their group and lives. I certainly hope and pray and believe that Tracy, by the Lord”s grace and hand of healing, will return. But I was thinking what an awesome way to keep interest generated if a slate of A-list fill-ins could create these evenings of memories–with Libbi herself there to perform as Tracy’s health would allow. I am aware that promoters have been reluctant to book them, based on the uncertainty of when Tracy and Libbi will return to the road. I’m fully trusting God to restore Tracy to health and road status, because I believe in a miracle-working God who I think blessed Tracy with an incredible talent for singing bass as well as the gift of emceeing–one of the best of today’s genre. So, I speak in terms of when and not if. But until then, would there be the possibilty of people like Loren or others who would give up a weekend now and then. It may not be the same person every week, and it would have to be artists who were capable of being self-starters in learning the material and being able to sing the parts without a lot of practice, especially if it were, say, Loren Harris one week and Melton Campbell the next–or whomever. I know it’s never been done before, but this situation honestly has never come up that I can recall. With God, all things are possible, so never say never. But….dumb idea, fantasy world, or could it work with some effort and time, especially if everyone went the extra mile to achieve the main goal of being a blessing to the Stuffles?

  18. So is Tracy currently in a coma?

  19. My heart goes out to all involved. Joseph has kept the group together twice. The first time was Tracy’s heart attack, and he and Troy Peach kind of kept things going together. This is Joseph’s second time around. This has been 4 months. Who knows how long this will go on. I believe that Joseph and his wife prayed long and hard about this decision, and he has let God direct his path. He isn’t the owner of the group, but was put in a position of almost full leadership for the past 4 months. Where does that leave him time for his wife? I support him, and I don’t think there is a good time to leave the Perrys in this state, and he knew that. As I said above, only God knows when this will end and how it will end according to God’s will. My sympathies are with Libby and the Perrys, and with Joseph, because I know this could not have been an easy decision.

  20. AS AN UNNAMED FAMILY MEMBER OF THE PERRYS I RESPOND TO THE TRACY BEING IN A COMA QUESTION, HE IS RESPONSIVE HE IS JUST GOING TO HAVE TO LEARN TO DO EVERYTHING AGAIN, WALK, TALK, SPEAK :( SO PLEASE PLEASE LIFT HIM UP SO MUCH everyday!!! WE KNOW GOD IS ABLE!!!! :)

    The group was working as a team on the road there was no one person in charge besides their son Jared who handled most of the logistics, trying to fill the role of his dad and make his dad proud. Joseph was stepping up to MC and did a great job. The Perrys will not be over this is just a change of season and we know as a family everything is working together for Gods glory and it will all make sense in the end. Continued prayers for libbi are a must, pray with out ceasing folks.

    • Thanks! I knew for sure that he was at least somewhat responsive. I just didn’t know how responsive he was.

      • Youre welcome ! Yea I mean it’s hard to tell some days his brain is still healing.

  21. I really hate to see Joseph leave. It would be nice if they could talk Loren Harris in to coming back. I expect to see Joseph singing with his wife based on some things on his Facebook page.

  22. Does anyone know if Joseph’s resignation was effective immediately? Just wondering if he might do a few more concerts before leaving. Thanks!

  23. I have followed the Perrys since 1988 and saw Joseph sing at the NQC the first time with the Perrys. Saw the group in Dothan in February. Ten years with a group is a long time these days. I suspect Joseph has been thinking about it for awhile. He did a great job doing MC work and singing his part. I respect and understand his decision as alot has been on his shoulders recently. Probably needs a rest. BUT, he will be back and you will be surprised and happy I predict. Just remember Mathew Holt is his partner and with the Gaithers. As for the Perrys, they will be OK. I suspect Bill Bailey will be working his contacts to assist in rebuilding the group. Sometimes it is just fun to see what develops when people leave a group.

  24. WOW! I did not expect this it is Truly a Huge Shock I Wish Joseph and Lindsay all the best and Pray God will lead them in the way they should go with the Future still Praying for Tracy and Libbi and all the people involved and for their new lead singer David Ragan! God Bless all

  25. Is there any update on Joseph? He has dropped off the social network map since May.

  26. dear mr Joseph Habedank I will be praying for you everyday and get well soon . I like to hear you sing all the old songs one of the song that i like hear you sing is man up stairs and more. your group is doing great singing but it do not look the same with out you in it so my prayers are with you so that you can get back in your group to go on tour.

    • I don’t think Joseph Habedank was sick. He just had to leave. He was probably worn out and tired of all the stress from managing a group without Tracy or Libbi being there.

  27. I am a close friend of Josephs. His choice was for personal reasons and nobody should be judging. He is doing great and is still alive lol even though he hasn’t been social networking lately. Keep him in your prayers, he loves yall!

    • Raerae, thank you! I haven’t been judging, and I’m thrilled to hear that he is doing great.