Question of the Week: Joseph Habedank

Note: I conducted this interview a year ago. Gold City’s album, which has been delayed for a year, is now set to release in a few weeks. 

About a year ago (now two years ago!), I posted an interview with Dianne Wilkinson; one highlight was her account of her first experience writing with Joseph Habedank, writing a song called “Footprints on the Water.” This song has recently been cut by Gold City, and here’s the other half of the story, from Joseph:

Daniel: I heard that Gold City just cut a song that you co-wrote with Dianne Wilkinson, “Footprints in the Water.” Is this your first Gold City cut?

Joseph: Actually, it’s my second. They recorded one that Matthew [Holt] and I wrote back in 2006 or 7 on the Revival CD. I’m not sure which year that was. They needed a fast song. Steve Ladd kind of wanted a fast tenor song. There’s not a lot of good, fast tenor songs—he wanted something like “In Time, On Time, Every Time,” something a little more fresh—’cause “In Time, On Time, Every Time” is a great song, but it’s a ’90s song. He wanted something a little more new. So we wrote “Not Anymore” specifically for Gold City. We were actually with them in Canada for 3-4 days, so we got to spend a lot of time with Danny. Matthew and I finally talked him into recording “Not Anymore.” So that’s our first HabeHolt Gold City cut.

I’m really excited about the new one, “Footprints on the Water,” which should be out very soon. I really think it’s probably one of my favorite things that I’ve written. It’s my first co-write with Dianne [Wilkinson]; I’d never written with Miss Di before.

Daniel: How did that come about?

Joseph: We were at a concert in Jackson, Tennessee at Songfest – Frank Arnold puts it on every year. She always used to say, “Honey, we need to write, we need to write.”

Finally, I said, “Well, I’ve got an idea. I was listening to a Legacy Five song called ‘Temporary Tomb’ that Rodney Griffin wrote, back on the Live at Music City CD. I guess there’s a line in there that says, ‘Footprints on the water.'”

So I told Rodney that–I said, “I stole one of your lines and made it a hook!”

I thought, “Man, that’d be a great idea for a song!” So I said, “Footprints on the water.”

She said, “You’re kidding me!”

I said, “No.”

She said, “I love it!” So she went home, and she wrote the lyric, and sent it to me. I tweaked it a little, but not much. Most of the lyric is hers, and I just kinda wrote a really cool little groovin’, jazzy melody, and I really love it. I’ve not heard Gold City’s version of it yet—people who are hearing this have probably heard it before I have—but I’m really excited about it, can’t wait. I’m just really excited about this song.

Daniel: Is this the first time for you to use that feel?

Joseph: Umm, no, I try to write a lot of jazz. I listen to a lot of jazz—I’m a huge Michael Bublé fan. He’s got a lot of big band, jazzy style. He does all kinds of styles, but it’s mostly that crooner / jazz style, kind of like Frank Sinatra. That’s my favorite kind of music. I’ve written a few like that. “Dyin’ is a Day” that we recorded—it’s got a little jazz feel, but it’s a little more brass, more big band, I guess. I have written like that before, I just can’t think of anything off the top of my head that would resemble it. ‘Cause Footprints is just so unique, such a unique song.

By the way, it’s called “Footprints on the Water,” it’s on Gold City’s brand new CD, and I hope that you’ll pick it up and like it, and let us know—me and Daniel—how you like it, and hopefully people will enjoy it.

Daniel: Thank you very much!

Joseph: Thank you.

(Note: Just to avoid any confusion: Joseph mentioned to me that he made sure with Rodney Griffin that it was okay to use that line as a hook to a new song.)