Album Review: “Welcome Home” by Joseph Habedank

Joseph Habedank spent a decade with The Perrys, endearing himself to Gospel Music fans across the country. Joining the group while still a teenager, Joseph not only grew to be one of Southern Gospel’s most outstanding vocalists but also began to develop his skill as a songwriter. Over the years, Joseph has written numerous songs that have been recorded by many of the top artists in Southern Gospel Music, such as Gold City, Brian Free & Assurance, The Kingdom Heirs,  Karen Peck & New River, The Inspirations, The Perrys and The Kingsmen. Welcome Home is Habedank’s solo debut on Daywind Records. The project (produced by Ricky Free) features 10 songs,  all co written by Habedank with many of the top writers in our industry. Lee Black, Tony Wood, Sue Smith were all part of the group that helped Jospeh cultivate these songs that make up one of the most eclectic albums released in 2014.

joseph-habedankThe project kicks off with the title cut, “Welcome Home“.  After the opening pop of the snare drum, you’re greeted by some soulful/bluesy horns, that welcome you to the party. The song paints a great picture of what the church should be, a gathering of brothers and sisters and the sweet fellowship that is felt as a result. It encourages the listener that no matter how long they’ve been away, there’s always a place for them to come home to. One of my favorite songs on the cd is the second cut, “Begging For Change“, a great rocking song that gets up and goes. The lyric plays well on the title, first telling the story of Blind Bartamaeus sitting on the roadside while he was begging for change but he was also “begging for change, but not the kind you can spend“, and how before salvation we were begging for a change ourselves. The third cut on the project, “Big Enough“, changes up the tempo a bit. A ballad with a modern Inspirational, Praise & Worship feel that proclaims, “when it seems it can’t be done, I know God is Big Enough“.

Next up is the project’s first single, “Never No Never“, which has already been performing well at radio. Its a great song with a soulful feel that is sure to be a favorite in Joseph’s concerts. Here’s a lyric video of the song.

The following track, “Empty“, is another outside the box song, which features an appearance from Russ Taff. Joseph sings the first verse and chorus, with Taff singing the second and scatting while Habedank sings the chorus. Following up this rocker and starting off the second half of the recording is a wonderful ballad, “The Beauty of The Blood“. This is a phenomenal song and a great thought for the believer to truly focus on. It’s an awesome thing to consider how beautiful the blood of Christ truly is. That it washes away our sins, cleansing our hearts and bringing us into a right relationship with God the father, who never again remembers our failures.

At the seven spot on the cd, “Wonders With Water” is another song that is outside the box. Musically, I find this to be a cross between The Beatles and Mercy Me. In fact, there’s a little trumpet solo in the key change on the second chorus that reminds me of The Beatles “Penny Lane“. This one will definitely be a favorite to listeners who like a fresh sound. Lyrically, Joseph is singing about all the things God does with water. The chorus has a great hook.

He’s the God who works wonders with water,  it’s crystal clear.

He’s the Galilee calmer, the Red Sea parter,

In his hands miracles appear.

So what and see The Wonders he can do with your tears.

Habedank returns on the next cut with a ballad, the powerful “Now I Know Him“. A great lyric by Habedank, Sue Smith, and Tony Wood, it paints the picture of a believer who truly comes to know the Lord like never before through their trials. This will be an exciting song to hear Joseph perform live.

A Little Bit Of Thunder” is a foot stomping, country style song, that encourages the listener no matter what may be happening around us, we have no reason to fear the thunder if we know the Master of The Storm. The album comes to a close with a very personal song, “When The Lights Go Down”. Its a song that deals with integrity and character, and even though it is written from a very personal place, it can easily apply to everyone when we think of the lyrics.

“But when the lights go down, When there’s no song, no sound

Where can my heart be found, What kind of man am I gonna be

When the stage is bare, and theres nobody there

Will it still be my prayer, to live the life they all think I lead

And will I be like who I sing about

When the Lights Go Down?”

In a genre where so many albums sound exactly the same, Welcome Home is a breath of fresh air.  The songs are excellent lyrically, but musically it is one of the most diverse albums I have ever heard. No two songs sound the same, each one is unique and there is great flow to the album, everything just fits perfectly. Kudos to producer Ricky Free for keeping things fresh, and proving that he is the best up and coming producer in our genre. This is one of the best, if not the very best, albums released in 2014. I would even go as far to say that this may be the best debut album by a soloist that I’ve ever heard. In an interview I did with Joseph (that I hope to post in its entirety soon), he acknowledged that he wanted to record an album that was “church music“, meaning music for the church corporately. Although Welcome Home has songs that lean toward the Southern Gospel, CCM, and Inspirational side, it is entirely an album of music for all of the church. There truly is something for everyone on Welcome Home. If this is only the beginning of what to expect from Joseph’s solo career, some mighty great things are around the corner for this guy. I encourage you to pick up a copy of  Welcome Home, you will love it!

Review copy provided.

 

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