David Ragan Leaves the Perrys, Andrew Goldman Joins

Update: Since fans have used this space to express inquiries about David Ragan’s reasons for coming off the road, I thought I would post this new Facebook clarification from Libbi Stuffle. 

“I think this conversation has went far enough!! First, I believe in my heart that some things are better left unsaid. People have good intentions and others have enquiring minds as to ‘know how to pray’ situation, when it’s really just so they can say, they know. And no prayers are ever said. All I will say is: David left the group on his own to go home to deal with some serious personal issues. It’s hard for him to answer your questions because he left FB and Twitter and had his number changed. Best thing is to pray for him and his situation. If you feel you ‘MUST’ know more details or info, then get in touch with him. The questions do get old and tiring when we have so much other stuff more important to do and handle. I’m not being mean, but we love David and pray for him and his family and protect his privacy to deal with this situation.”

In another surprising turn of events for the Perrys, lead singer David Ragan has come off the road, yet again leaving that spot open. Thankfully, I can’t think of any young talent better suited to fill it than Andrew Goldman. Folks may recognize him as the baritone for former EHSS lead Ryan Seaton’s quartet Union Street. He’s been turning heads for a couple years with his tone, power and range. Perhaps one reason he stands out is that he’s actually a classically trained vocalist. In fact, I just found this senior recital video of him performing “Nessun Dorma.” He shies away a little from the big monster note at the end, but otherwise, great!

I ran a spotlight article on him a while back showcasing his talent. I believe if anybody can take on the Perrys’ powerhouse catalogue while bringing his own style to the table, it’s this guy. Welcome to the Perrys, and welcome to StowTown, Andrew! HT to Lauren’s Views From the Pew for this video of Andrew with the group:

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47 thoughts on “David Ragan Leaves the Perrys, Andrew Goldman Joins

  1. John Situmbeko

    What’s strange is that the Perrys are, with zeal unmatched, avoiding at all costs mentioning the name David Ragan. A very effective ingredient in stirring up unwholesome speculations. The “just buy our music, it’s none of your business” mentality is somewhat rather unfair for fans. Sorry if I sound rude, but I’m sure they are meeting the “Where’s David” question everywhere they go, and I’m also sure they aren’t just shoving their latest CD in the fans’ faces and saying it none of their business, they are saying something nicer. That something must at least be posted on the internet to help subside a very significantly large portion of unhealthy curiosity.

    Daniel Mount said Jared Stuffle posted of Facebook saying “Yes we had a group change and no you have no right to know why. Thank you.” Frankly if I were told that in my face I wouldn’t go home chuckling with gladness, cause it sounds rude.

    Anyways, whatever the case, the Perrys are one of my favourites! Mr Goldman is without a doubt talented, he is a great singer. Looking forward to hearing him enriching the Perrys’ sound with his magnificent voice 🙂

    1. This comment is a bit blunt, but you’re a regular reader and I want to give commenters a bit of breathing room here, so I’ll go ahead and respond.

      I got wind of the change before it was made official. I can tell you that this wasn’t a rushed decision. In all honesty, I don’t have any details, and in fact, nobody else except the Perrys themselves knew quite what was going on. As far as anyone seemed to know, even up close to the facts, David was a great guy who just needed to be with his family. He has a few-months-old baby. If there was more to it than that, in all fairness it seems like the Perrys aren’t just protecting the info from fans.

      I want to be careful how I word this, but I do agree with you that if David really just wanted to be with his family, it feeds the speculation monster without cause for the Perrys to be so secretive about it. For those of us who knew what went down behind some similarly worded press releases, it raises bad connotations. I hate, hate, HATE to think that David could be totally innocent with people going “Oooooh, I wonder if [blah]” in their minds. I’m a firm believer in privacy, I think we live in a tell-all culture and I respect their desire to protect David if there’s something that doesn’t need to come to light. But if the reason really is something legit/understandable, even if it’s a rather sudden choice, I guess I don’t understand this approach.

      1. Very well said! I completely agree! I think if the release had at least mentioned David and wished him well, there would be not nearly as much speculation. Yes, this is his and group’s choice to keep their privacy in the matter. And we don’t have a right to know what happened, so I hate that people are speculating the worst at this point.

  2. John Situmbeko

    I totally agree with what has been said. I also do respect their right to privacy. I do understand that just because I’ve grown very fond of Ragan with the Perrys, I haven’t earned the right to be in on their every move. The big question however is; how are they responding to questions from fans at concerts and can’t that response be posted on the internet? I know they aren’t saying “No you have no right to know.” Perhaps they are saying that. I guess fans (myself included) will just have to leave it at that and instead of marinating our minds in speculation ’till the bitter flavours of wrongful character assassination have reached the very core, look to the future; a future which looks so bright judging by what Mr. Goldman is able to offer. Goldman is a great singer, I have to say that again.

    1. You have such a way with words! “Marinating our minds in speculation ’til the bitter flavours of wrongful character assassination have reached the very core…” is quite a sentence fragment. 😉

      Agreed, it’s totally unhealthy for people to dwell on mystery and let our fantasies run wild. Like you I am curious about what they’re saying at concerts. I’m sure there’s many a sweet old lady who’s just innocently asking where that boy David has gotten himself to, and they need to handle that situation tactfully. But given how much info they’re not sharing, I can only assume it’s just something very brief like “David just needed to come off the road. We’re very excited about Andrew now. Thanks for asking!” and send her on her way with a warm smile and an autograph.

    2. The Perrys have been telling people at concerts, and repeatedly on their Facebook page, that David left to attend to his family. Unfortunately, for some that is not enough.

      The only way to stop speculation is for people to stop speculating.

      1. Really? I do not have a Facebook account, so I was unaware that they had answered more specifically. All I had seen was what Daniel posted from Jared to the effect that it was a secret and nobody had any business asking questions. I’m glad to hear that they’ve been more specific in subsequent comments though. Thanks for clarifying that. I for one am perfectly content with that answer, I just think they could have said that up front and avoided a lot of confusion, instead of going so far as to omit any mention of David from the press release!

      2. Jared likely posted that out of frustration, when even after repeated answers, the same question was asked over and over again.

        They did say it up front. They said it at an event the day after he left. I know we’re in the 21st century, but just because information is not broadcast to the globe over social media doesn’t mean anyone’s hiding anything.

      3. I see. Perhaps people were pushing even further, like “But WHY did he need to be with his family RIGHT NOW?” I can understand Jared’s frustration in that case. Still, it’s confusing for those of us who couldn’t see the whole thread when just that one comment is quoted out of context. Is it on their public page or did I miss it? I looked at the announcement thread on the Perrys’ wall, but I didn’t see the conversation there.

        I’m also glad to hear that they’ve been open about it in a gathering, but again, most of us weren’t at that specific time and place to hear the story. All we have to go on is what we see in an official press release or social media, and lots of people have only the press release to go on. It seems odd for the press release not even to mention David when in fact there’s nothing to hide, and that’s going to be most folks’ go-to source for news of the group change. I believe you that they’ve communicated more in other avenues, and I’m genuinely pleased to hear that as now it’s filtering out to those of us who don’t have that access through people like you who do. I just think the official announcement could have been handled more clearly/smoothly.

      4. John Situmbeko

        Hmm. A look at the Perrys facebook page for me shows no such post, not even the one by Jared. I think that was most likely made as a comment responding to a post by a fan there. That is the case, such a response has to be dug for, which would explain the repeated questions.

        When I look at their page, it shows “Stay tuned for a special announcement from the Perrys!” Posted on monday at 5:12am. Yesterday’s post at 5:39pm. is “Andrew Goldman joins the Perrys by Stowtown Records…………” which does not mention David leaving at all. That post has 102 comments. Perhaps David has been mentioned there. Older posts show no mention of him. I feel they should have at least mentioned him in their main post.

      5. I asked someone else with Facebook to help me look around, and I saw Jared’s comment on his own personal wall, but no other posts or interaction with fans that I could see on that page. I also looked through both recent threads on the public wall and only saw the Perrys saying once, “David left the group,” with no further details. Neither Libbi nor Bryan has posted recently to their personal accounts, so there’s nothing to be found there. Maybe Brian could help direct us to the thread he’s talking about.

      6. JSR

        I have repeatedly looked at the Perry’s Facebook page trying to find info. No such post was made that I could find, thus the reason for the speculation. I would love the post to be pointed out, not saying it doesn’t exist, just saying I’ve followed pretty closely and haven’t found it. I haven’t been at a concert so I can’t speak to that.

        Regardless, this is a PR failure. Like it or not, you can’t just ignore PR and do the Lord’s work.

        There are ways to stop speculation besides people stopping all speculating. If you don’t give people a reason to speculate then it will stop the reasonable speculating by reasonable people.

      7. Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. (Prov. 26:20)

        I apologize for adding wood to the fire.

      8. JSR

        The funny thing is I thought of looking up this verse when I was writing my comment. My thought process was (is) that sometimes saying nothing, or only providing sarcastic responses about it not being anyone’s business, and allowing speculation to run wild adds wood to the fire.

        Love the Perry’s music and I really feel for them in what they’ve been through, but I’m just saying they could have helped this transition be smoother.

      9. JSR, again, a bit harsh but I have to agree that this is a bit of a PR fumble.

        Brian, you’re not adding wood to the fire, in fact your comments here have given us more info than everything else combined! We’d genuinely like to see the conversations you’re referring to, if you could tell us where to find them. Which page was it, and which thread?

      1. No need to apologize, I didn’t mean it as a knock against you. Sometimes “harsh” isn’t necessarily bad, maybe just true in a somewhat uncomfortable way. I don’t think anyone has been nasty here. I will censor any comments that just slander the Perrys or David outright, but I want people to feel like they can be honest while still being respectful.

  3. joshvanklomp

    Reposting what I wrote on SGJ:

    I wish more people in this industry would be frank like Libbi was. Sometimes, people need to know when to not butt in to other peoples’ business. If they wanted us to know details of why he left the group, they would’ve told us.

    To say that we have a right to pertinent details because we spend our money to support their ministry is ridiculous…are you supporting the Perrys or are you only supporting David Ragan? If you say you’re supporting the Perrys, then wouldn’t you support them no matter who is on the stage with them? Its a ministry TEAM, not just one person.

  4. Robert York

    Of all artist that have left a group over the years how many have really said what the reason was other than they were coming off the road for family reasons. David left the Inspirations for family reasons next thing you knew he was back on the road. That is the common reason given but most are right back out singing with another group within a few weeks or months.

    1. Sometimes the “personal issues” phrase is used. Sometimes there is more to it, but there’s no immorality involved, just an unfortunate personality conflict. People can argue, get on each other’s nerves, etc., and it’s not something they feel like divulging even when there’s no sordid scandal behind the move. Which I can understand.

    2. David said this publicly at the time, so I’m not divulging any secret:

      He left the Inspirations over a very sudden and specific disagreement with them involving his family at the time of his son’s birth. It’s not like he decided he couldn’t be on the road as a singer, then soon after, decided he could. Your comment makes it sound like David’s reason for leaving the quartet was disingenuous, when that is not close to being the case.

      1. Well that sounds like he needed to be home in those first crucial few months when the baby is incessantly up and needing to be fed. I could see why he might feel the pressure easing up once they were over that first phase.

      2. Missing even a couple dates can cost you a job in this business. It’s kind of harsh, but I can definitely understand how it works.

        Whether or not something similar happened here, I know we all wish David nothing but the best.

  5. Tad Kirkland

    He was with them less than a year. This will be forgotten in less than a week. Regardless of how great a singer he is, he’s just another one of several non-family members of a family group where the family members are the mainstays that have endeared themselves to the fans.

  6. JSR

    “David left the group on his own to go home to deal with some serious personal issues.” Most of the speculation would have been offered as support for David if this one sentence would have been offered by the Perry’s at the beginning.

    (Note: After reading this I want to make sure it’s clear that this is a comment that is directed at the SG industry, not exclusively the Perry’s.)

    Like it or not, SG has created this culture of being close to the fans, being at the table at concerts, interacting with fans at small concerts in little churches, and SG has to live with the culture. You can’t act like we’re all family when you’re trying to sell CDs and then tell us what goes on is none of our business when you don’t want to tell us something. In reality, it’s not a lot different than big secular music, just a smaller scale. When Justin Bebier does something, every major news organization and millions are fans want to know what happen. When you’re a SG group with a large following, your changes will get attention, especially when you try ignore the change. The speculation and questions are just one of the downsides that comes with the perks of making a living being a public figure.

    Bottom line: whether you consider yourself a ministry or an entertainer, the public is your customer and good PR is crucial.

  7. gina

    Southern gospel music and the people involved are like a family and it is only normal to be concerned when a member is suddenly gone like they never existed. This is especially true when that member was constantly and very recently stating how happy he was in the group. I’m not one who necessarily feels “entitled” just because I have bought tickets, given donations, etc., but it sure is nice when you see a group at least get ahead of these things and handle them professionally with at least a “we wish him well.” I agree that this came really late in the discussion and all the complaints about being bombarded with questions could’ve been quelled in the beginning by making a classy statement. Thank you, yankeegospelgirl, for allowing this discussion!

    1. You’re welcome. And thanks to all for keeping a positive attitude toward the Perrys even while airing what I think are some legitimate frustrations. At this point I think the chapter has closed and everyone can move on from it, “with malice toward none.”

  8. John Situmbeko

    On a somewhat different note, I read the Ragan interview you posted a while back Brian, and it was that interview that really got me very interested in the guy. He had some really great things to say. He really has a heart for ministry, anyone can tell just by reading that great interview. I couldn’t comment there though because I’ve been blocked, so says a wordpress generated message whenever I try to comment. I would appreciate it if you look into the matter and unblock. 😉 (sorry for this totally out of topic comment, hope you don’t mind, YGG.)

    1. I’m sorry, John! I have no idea how that would have happened, or even how to change it. I’ll ask Adam, who is the owner and technical guru for the site. I just write!

  9. joshvanklomp

    Yes, SG music can be “like a family” and sure, it is normal to be concerned, but that still doesn’t give people the right to constantly bug the artist about why so-and-so left the group. Even if a press release is issued, people will still ask, so I fail to see how that really helps.

    People ask what happened to David: he left the group. That’s all you need to know.

  10. gina

    That’s actually one of the main issues… it wasn’t announced in the beginning that David had even left the group but just that there was a new member. The way this was handled raised numerous flags, thus some (not all) of the questions to the group members, who then lashed out at the fans who support them. Much of the whole situation could’ve been avoided by a simple statement that David had made a decision to leave the group and that they loved and wished him well, if that were the case.
    Like John, I loved the kind and humble spirit that David displayed. I enjoyed the interviews with him on various sites and really felt that he had the heart of a true minister in this music. I will miss his sincerity and his smooth lead voice. Hopefully we haven’t heard the last of him.

    1. joshvanklomp

      Isn’t it obvious that David made a decision to leave the group, though? They wouldn’t have hired Andrew if there wasn’t an opening available. It shouldn’t be that difficult to put two and two together.

      David left. Andrew joined. What else do you need to know?

      1. I think fans sensed a lack of warmth between the parties from the fact that his name wasn’t even mentioned. Usually, when a group member leaves, even to deal with personal issues, the press release will include well wishes for the departing member and perhaps a request for prayer. This release was atypical in that respect, hence the unintended confusion.

  11. I would like to associate myself with the May 8th comments of JSR and Gina. No offense Josh but your comments are really not helpful to the Perrys or David. You are probably trying to be helpful but it’s not helping. People care about David and they care about Libbi and the Perrys who are doing a terrific job to keep this quartet we love on the road despite all the obtacles Satan has put in the way. All concerned will succeed because God is with them and will make it happen. No need to belabor the point; just pray that God will bless all members of the Perrys, present and past, and may God bless their spouse and families. And, most of all, may God bless Tracy and not only restore him but even make him better than he was before the stroke happened. Let it be, Lord.

    Cheers,
    Tony.

  12. This is the part where I sit back and wait for whatever I’m actually interested in and writing about at the moment to get as many views as a brief news item about group change. 😉

  13. I know I’m late to the party here, but I just have to offer my two cents worth on this issue….

    When you live/work in any sort of spotlight, there are certain prices to be paid. Everything you say and do can (and often will) be picked apart by whoever happens to be looking at you, good or bad. This is not exclusive to SG music – it’s ANY sort of public life – singers, actors, athletes, etc.

    Where it becomes a slippery slope is when SG artists make themselves available to their audiences. There’s really not much that can be done about that – we’re a small group of singers and fans (comparatively speaking), and when you are singing for audiences in churches, part of the job is to greet the audience afterwards.

    This differs from other types of celebrities, where their public image is exactly that: a carefully-crafted image. They’ll go on stage, present themselves for their fans, and go home, keeping that distance so as not to break the illusion of who they are. They themselves become a product, and their branding is important towards sales.

    The same can be said for SG artists – they have a brand that they need to maintain and protect. That’s hard to do when you let audiences see how the brand works, and it’s even harder when unforeseen circumstances come up that affect their product (such as group members leaving, regardless of the reason). At the end of the day, while they may be concerned about the person leaving and the circumstances, their goal is to maintain their product as best as they can and keep moving forward.

    Now, do I agree with Libbi that it’s none of the fans’ business why David left? Yes. Although David was a part of a public image, his personal life is exactly that: PERSONAL. He left. No specific reason was made public, and that’s just how it is. That being said, you can’t make yourself available to audiences and expect them to not react when someone leaves. When part of your job is to shake hands and make friends with audiences, it’s stupid to think that audiences won’t be upset (or at least curious) as to where their “new friend” went with no explanation. If you don’t want quesitons asked, then don’t give them a chance to ask them.

    That being said, this problem is not Libbi or Jared’s fault, nor is it David’s. The problem is much bigger, and it’s just the nature of the beast, so to speak, with SG music. When you make yourself accessible to fans, you are letting down a wall. You have to be ready for people to feel close to you, and to feel hurt when a change is made. How many artists refer to their fans as “friends”??

    Not only that, but in an industry that’s rooted in ministry, you see artists all the time asking for prayer for any number of reasons. When you ask someone to pray for you, you are asking them to step in on your behalf in the Throne Room of God. How can you ask someone to do something so great, then get mad when they feel like they are entitled to know why someone left? You just made them a part of your spiritual family, and here you are telling them to mind their own business. Right or wrong, it’s just bad publicity. I’m not saying that it’s right for anyone who prays for you to know every detail about your personal business, but there are those who DO view it that way. Getting defensive (or even offensive) in telling people that it’s none of their business is not the best way to treat someone who may have just prayed for you. At the very least, be tactful about it instead of kneejerk responses.

    So, after typing all that, I have to say that I do agree with Libbi’s assessment that David’s business is his business. When someone LEAVES the spotlight, that means they’re done sharing themselves with the audience, and audiences have to respect that, whether they like it or not. If somewhere down the road, David once again starts singing publicly, either as a soloist or with another group, then he’s going to have to deal with those questions from fans, but until then, the door is closed, so leave it at that.

    1. I don’t think anyone felt they were entitled to all the details of David’s personal life. I certainly didn’t. I think it was the order in which things were handled that threw people off. If the Perrys had stated simply from the outset that David was coming off the road for personal reasons (no details necessary), and asked fans to keep his family in their prayers, I doubt there would have been nearly this much questioning and confusion. They just didn’t think the press release through very well. I don’t think they quite realized how strange and awkward it looks when you announce a group change with no mention either way of the departing party. I don’t come down hard on Libbi for that, she’s got a lot on her mind, but hopefully they’ve learned something for future reference.

  14. Richard T. Nash

    Perhaps Pastor Bill Bailey could offer some details since he is or was the person who handles the Perrys group having them a lot on his sings.

  15. As most pastors know (I am one) there are times when a member chooses to leave a church “for personal reasons”. I often tell them that people will read something more into that comment, but some insist on leaving it as “personal reasons”. Then we have to field question after question because people assume there is something we are withholding to protect our (or the church’s) reputation. I feel for Libby and the group because they have already been through so much recently. Folks, please consider the fact that sometimes good PR doesn’t happen because we are NOT professionals at spinning things. We try to be forthright as Christians, and when an honest answer would put someone in a bad light we just say our own kind of “no comment”. It’s a no-win situation, but it’s better than fabricating something to cover up truth.

    Love the Perrys. Love David. Love Jesus and SG…. 🙂

    1. Well, obviously I’m very anti-spin. I would never suggest that a group should have fudged the truth in some way just to present a better face for the public. The problem they didn’t anticipate was the very fact that they had “no comment” stirred up concern/suspicion/questions anyway, because it’s so unusual in this business. The truth is, nobody sends a singer off with “no comment” unless something or other is wrong. So they might as well have included something in the press release up front. Maybe they could have worded it in a minimalist way that might still create a few question marks, but would be strictly true. For example: “David has decided that he needs to come off the road. We love David and welcome your prayers for him and his family! Please respect his privacy during this time.”

  16. Shauna

    I don’t understand why it even matters why he left. Because the focus of the perrys have always been first, foremost and only God. God is in control, in Mr. Ragan’s life-we are not.

    If God wanted us to know, he’d tell us. Obviously, God didn’t think it had anything to do with us. We need To Put our focus back on God.

    It is ok that he left. We need to pray for him and his family-that includes the perrys. Prayer fixes everything-including “inquiring” minds.

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