Joseph Habedank and The Erwins mesh for a night of energetic gospel
By John Herndon, KentuckySings.com
The experiment was simple enough in its beginning: Bring one of gospel music’s youngest groups together with a young, but veteran soloist.
The Resurrection of Faith Tour was born and has more than exceeded all expectations as it has taken The Erwins, who range in age from 17-25, and gospel music veteran Joseph Habedank, all of 32 years old, across the nation. The tour has introduced many young people to a distinct style of music and has reassured older fans that Southern Gospel will remain alive and well.
It’s almost hard to believe there was some uncertainty when the tour began in Texas in June 2017.
“It was kind of a trial run at first,” says Kris Erwin. “Hopefully it would mesh well.”
For old school gospel music lovers, the experiment went together like fried chicken and all-day-singin’. Newer fans were amazed at the freshness, musical intricacies and energy of a genre which traces its roots back over 100 years.
“That first night was so much fun,” Erwin recalls. “The crowd was amazing and God’s spirit was there. We immediately knew this was what we wanted to do.”
Gospel fans are glad they did.
The Resurrection of Faith Tour is unlike many tours that feature one artist or group singing for 45 minutes to an hour, then turning things over to the main act for 90 minutes to two hours of music. At Sand Spring, The Erwins and Joseph Habedank shared the stage from the outset, often singing together.
Think of almost three hours of pure energy.
It’s a common sentiment. “We hear that a lot,” says Erwin, who is 21. “I guess our age has something to do with it.”
And the age has something to do with new people hearing the gospel through music. The message still about salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It’s about overcoming by giving one’s life to Christ.
It’s natural to The Erwins, who grew up in the home of a Texas evangelist. “We’re young folks in this business,” Kris says, “but we’ve been raised in this music to be able to carry it on. We love it and it is so much fun.”
At Sand Spring, the Erwins crossed the generations with Keith leading the congregation in a rousing version of “What a Day that Will Be” to an uptempo acapella song, “Give Us The Day.”
“They are great kids who just love the Lord,” Habedank says.
Habedank started singing with The Perrys as a teen but a battle with prescription drug addiction led to his parting from the group in 2013. Habedank held nothing back as he introduced his song, “The Beauty of the Blood.”
He recounted where he was five years ago. “I was a prescription drug addict, a liar, a con artist and wasting my talent.”
After the concert, he elaborated. “I had an ulcer on the back of my throat,” he said. “I got hooked on medication. I was taking 10 to 12 pain killers a day. I went to get some great help and Jesus did a miracle in my life. I have been clean and sober over five years now.”
As he prepared to sing one of the great songs from his “Welcome Home” album, “The Beauty of the Blood,” Habedank said the reason he is able to stand before crowds is simple. “Only God can take something like blood and make it pretty.”
It’s the message of the gospel that the Resurrection of Faith Tour seeks to convey.
“God has given me a second chance, not only in life, but in ministry,” Habedank says. “I am so humbled and grateful for that opportunity.”
Currently the opportunity is presenting itself with over 60 dates with the Erwins.
“They keep me young,” says Habedank, who is not much older than his tour partners. “When you do something for so long, you can get in a rut. I think God puts people together.”
It’s obvious that Habedank and The Erwins both feel God acted in bring their acts together. Not only do they get along – Habedank was the target of several jokes through the night – but searching and hurting people are hearing the gospel through music.
“We are just trying to reach the most people we can,” Habedank says.
And while bring new people to the Lord and Southern Gospel music, the Resurrection of Faith Tour is reassuring longtime fans that the music they love is not going anywhere for a while.
“It’s a really cool thing to carry on this must and introduce it to new people,” Erwin says.
Habedank smiles at the thought. “We are showing that the next generation of gospel music is in good hands and is going to be around.”
Resurrection of Faith Tour returns to Kentucky
The Resurrection of Faith Tour returns to Kentucky on Thursdsay, Nov. 29 at the State Theatre in Elizabethtown at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at http://www.blugrassgospelproductions.com or by calling 985-255-2994.
Joseph Habedank will be soloing at First Baptist Church, Leitchfield on Sunday, Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. He will return to Fairview Baptist Church, Russell Springs on Friday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m.