Prime Cuts: Now I Know Him, The Beauty of the Blood, When the Lights Go Down
There is not a dearth of songs about faith. Rather, the lacuna in Christian music is that we need songs that have the uncanny ability to speak to us even when we are passing through the furnace of bludgeoning pain. On one hand, we need songs that do not brush off the crushing reality of suffering as trivial or trite. Yet, on the other hand, we do not want songs that leave us stymied in the pit of despair. Rather, they need to come alongside of us helping us to channel our hearts back to Jesus and His love. Joseph Habedank is one of those writers. This is why Karen Peck and New River, the Hoppers, Lauren Talley, Jeff & Sheri Easter, and the Kingsmen have all clamoured to have the songs co-written or written by Joseph Habedank on their albums. They all know that Habedank's songs are great conversation pieces: they not only gives ear to hear our life's variegated shades of hurts and disappointment but they also offer counsel from God's Word like a trusted brother or sister would do.
Joseph Habedank is first and foremost a song writer par excellence. Besides having his name inscribed in the CD booklets of countless Southern Gospel releases, he has co-written with Rodney Griffin "If You Knew Him," which was nominated for Southern Gospel Song of the Year at the GMA Dove Awards and won the Singing News Fan Award for Song of the Year. Not only is Habedank a writer, he has been part of the Perrys since 2003. It was only until last year when Hadebank announced that he was leaving the Perrys in order to pursue his own solo career. "Welcome Home," released under the Daywind Records imprint, is thus his first solo endeavor.
Featuring 10 songs all co-written or written by Habedank and produced Ricky Free, you know you are in the presence of greatness as soon as the first notes of the album opener and title cut "Welcome Home" strike. With swoon worthy brassy horns blaring and the delightful flourishes of the Hammond organ sounds, home with our heavenly Father has never been more cozy and comforting than on this track. In our current culture of texting and twittering of instant communication, few people these days think deeply before they write. Habedank is an exception with "Begging for Change" and "Wonders with Water." The former cut tells the story of a beggar sitting on the road to Jericho waiting for Jesus to give him some spare change. Brilliantly playing on the word "change" as a pun, the song goes on to tell us that Jesus comes not to give us "change" so that we can spend. Rather, he comes to bring a "change" in our lives.
"Wonders with Water," on the other hand, gravitates around the motif of water. From the Biblical accounts of how Jesus turns the water into wine and how he calmed the seas, Habedank then reels the song into our lives as he assures us of how Christ can dry our tears today. Nevertheless, the accent of the disc is on the ballads. Most stunning is the piano driven "Now I Know Him." Showcasing depth and maturity, this is a testimony of a man's re-acquaintance with Jesus after going through a storm tossed life. Similarly, "The Beauty of the Blood" brings out the bearing of the Cross on those of us who have been broken by sin.
Scantily clad with just a piano and some soft stirring strings, the understated sounding "When the Lights Go Down" unveils an overwhelming question of whether we will still trust Jesus if all of life's securities were stripped away. Singing with such a drilling passion, Habedank doesn't let our hearts get off the hook that easily. And after hearing a song like this, you will understand why the buzz around "Welcome Home" is more than just a passing fad.
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