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From addiction to recovery to GRAMMY nominations to Edna

By Beth Foley

Staff Writer

Joseph Habedank knows rock bottom from the worst days of his pain pill addiction. He’s well versed in the cold coffee and cigarette smoke from recovery meetings in church basements in Nashville, and he’s felt the pull of the pills.

But Habedank, an award-winning sing- er-songwriter, uses the story of his own struggle to encourage others on a similar path to keep pushing forward, that hope lies ahead.

“We’re not out here selling a product, you know, we’re selling hope, and that’s what we do,” Habedank said during
a phone interview on Tuesday. “When I say selling, I don’t mean it in the monetary sense. I mean it in the sense that we really do want to give people hope and let them know what God did in my life in delivering me from addiction, he can do for you and your kids and your family.

“Whoever it may be in your life, you know, if we can give them hope and let them know that as long as there’s breath, there’s hope, that’s kind of our mission. That’s what we do.”

Joseph Habedank will be in concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Edna High School auditorium at 1303 W. Gayle St. in Edna. Tickets are $25 general admission and $49 VIP admission.

Habedank is a two-time GRAMMY® nominated, three-time GMA Dove Award winning, and six-time fan-voted Soloist of the Year. He has a powerful testimony of recovery from drug addiction that has been featured on FoxNews. com’s Spirited Debate, TBN’s Praise the Lord, and in such publications as Billboard Magazine, CCM Magazine, and Glenn Beck’s The Blaze.

On the heels of his critically-acclaimed debut solo release, Welcome Home, he was awarded New Soloist of the Year in 2014. His sophomore release, Resurrection, was the first album released by a solo artist to receive the GMA Dove Award for Southern Gospel Album of the year and garnered his first GRAMMY® nomination for Roots Gospel Album of the year. His 2019 release, Deeper Oceans, was nominated for Southern Gospel Album of the Year at the 50th Annual GMA Dove Awards and earned him a second GRAMMY® nomination for Roots Gospel Album of the year. Deeper Oceans also includes two number one songs, “Shame On Me” and “Goliath”.

His music resides at the crossroads of Southern Gospel and Christian, with Southern rock influences clearly present in some songs. He recently released two songs, “The Basement” and “Tell the Devil”, which will both be included on his upcoming album, Autobiography, due out in April. His music is available on YouTube and Spotify.

“It’s funny, people in Southern Gospel think I’m more contemporary and all my contemporary friends think I’m Southern,” Habedank said. “I think I’m somewhere in the middle and I’m okay with that. I think the Bible talks about being all things to all men so you try to reach as many people as you can with the music. That’s something we’ve definitely been intentional about doing well.”

His songs have been recorded by artists such as Reba McEntire, Restless Heart, Dailey and Vin- cent, The Booth Brothers, Triumphant, Karen Peck & New River, The Hop- pers, and many more.

He included Saturday’s tour stop in Edna after being invited to come, he said.

“I’ll be honest with you, we typically go wherever we’re invited,” Habedank said. “Some- times that can be Hous- ton, sometimes it can be Dallas, and sometimes it can be Edna. I grew up on a farm in Ohio, so I’m certainly not opposed to small town USA, and it’s funny, you know, we do get to do a lot of major markets, major cities, but the rural concerts are sometimes just as good, if not better. I’m really looking forward to being in Edna for the first time.”

In an interview posted with Ray Flynn posted on YouTube, Habedank said he was invited to join Southern Gospel group The Perrys at age 17 after singing with his family at church revivals and camp meetings in Ohio. In 2008 he had developed a quarter-sized ulcer on his throat while on tour and was given two prescription pail pills to get enough relief to make it through a show. A legitimate need led to a craving for more, which spiraled out of control to the point of taking 10 to 12 pills a day, he said. He sang with The Perrys for a decade before his growing pill addiction led to being fired and eventually agreeing to try rehab.

Now he uses his story and his talent to reach people in similar situations.

“The Basement” tells about attending addiction recovery meetings in church basements around Nashville and “Tell the Devil” describes recognizing the devil’s lies and refusing to listen. The upcoming album has the potential to be his best yet, he said.

“This one really could be the one because I feel like I’ve spent so much time concentrating on not just the message of the songs, but the art I am trying to create, fresh things that really nobody

else is doing in the southern Gospel world, and so I’m really excited about this album and I feel like it could really open some eyes,” Habedank said.

The larger point of it all, though, is to help those who think they’re beyond help to realize they aren’t.

“I think you do (help) when you get up on stage as a recovering drug addict and you’re able to tell the crowd you’re a recovering addict, and I do every night, I’m very honest and open about it,” Habedank said Tuesday. “We built my whole solo career on my testimony, and when you do that, you instantly become relatable. I think the reason for that is, there’s a lot of people in the audience who have not necessarily dealt with addiction, but every single person in the room knows somebody or loves somebody who has or is, and so you instantly become somewhat of a dealer of hope, you know?”

Concertgoers will hear more of his story interspersed with his music Saturday night. He encourages people to come out and to bring along anyone who can relate to his addiction and recovery.

When not on the road, Habedank resides in Nashville with his wife, Lindsay.

Jackson County Herald Tribune

306 N. Wells
Edna, TX 77957