Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Welcome Home - Joseph Habedank - CD Review

When Joseph Habedank stepped down as lead singer for the Perrys in May 2013, fans wondered what the future held for Joseph as a vocalist and songwriter in gospel music. After taking almost a year off, Joseph has reentered the gospel music scene as a soloist and has been "welcomed home."

His first solo release appropriately titled Welcome Home proves that the time off has been nothing but good for him. I'm going to predict this CD will be in the top 5 albums this year. The project contains 10 songs, all of which Joseph was a writer on. The styles are different from what you are used to hearing from him, but he has discovered more of who is he, who he wants to be as a vocalist and songwriter, and the project is strictly Joseph. You will be reminded why Joseph is one of the premier songwriters in gospel music. The project was produced by Ricky Free who is becoming one of the most sought after producers and after hearing this you can understand why.

The project starts with "Welcome Home." I think it's so fitting and a perfect title for his project. He has fully been welcomed home into this industry as a soloist. The song is a reminder of the sweet fellowship and relationships we share as the family of God.

"Begging for Change" has an edgy sound to it. I love it! It's very different play on words. The beggar is begging for change, but not the kind you can spend, an actual change in his life. "Big Enough" starts with a praise and worship feel. The song is a great reminder of the power of God and all that we can accomplish through His power. Joseph hits some tender high notes toward the end that are beautiful.

"Never No Never" is his first single from the project and one of the most typical "Southern Gospel" tracks. This is one of my favorites. It's directly from scripture, Psalm 37:25.

Joseph did have a little help with the song "Empty" from Russ Taff. This one is more out of the box than most of the other tracks. It really shows how versatile Joseph's voice is. He demonstrates that he can do many different styles within gospel.

"The Beauty of the Blood" has continued to grow on me. It wasn't one that stood out to me immediately, but the more I listen to it, the more I love. it. It's a beautiful song that's a great reminder of God's mercy. He sees us at our worst, but the beauty of the blood is that He's wiped all our sins away. Vocally, I think it's one of Joseph's strongest performances.

"Wonders With Water" starts out with an intro that will grab your attention. It does remind me a little style-wise of something Brian Free and Assurance might do, but that makes sense with Ricky Free's influence. The song talks about all of the water miracles from the Bible, and then says to "wait and see the wonders He can do with your tears." Great line!

"Now I Know Him" is another standout, a great ballad. I remember hearing Joseph sing this in his solo concert in January, and I was blown away. "Little Bit of Thunder" has a country sound. I think this one will definitely appeal to a younger audience and help recruit some new gospel fans!

"When the Lights Go Down" is what Joseph described as the most personal song he's ever written. The song asks who are you really when the stage is bare and the lights go down. When it's only you and God, who are you? Are you who you pretend to be in front of other people? It's a convicting song that will not only resonate with singers but for all Christians. Are we putting on a front? What kind of person are we really? Joseph wrote the song and sang it a handful of times on stage with the Perrys (one of those was captured on YouTube). However, the timing didn't work for him to record the song until this project. But I have to say, I stand by what I said that this really is the perfect platform for this song and an incredible end to an incredible project!

This project is so different style wise. It's one of the most versatile albums I've ever heard. Joseph definitely set the bar high for himself with this solo debut. It's easily one of the best albums by a solo artist and will be in the top albums of 2014!

Song List -
1. "Welcome Home"
2. "Begging for Change"
3. "Big Enough"
4. "Never No Never"
5. "Empty"
6. "The Beauty of the Blood"
7. "Wonders With Water"
8. "Now I Know Him"
9. "A Little Bit of Thunder"
10. "When the Lights Go Down"

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