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Apr 9, 2019

Homeless Herbie Hallelujah Will Give You Chills All Over Your Body

Herbie Russ has experienced the tumults of life. He’s dwelled both at the bottom and at the top. He’s been the recipient of both fortune and misfortune. But that has not stopped Herbie from expressing the love he feels for his fellow humankind.
Think you don’t know who Herbie Russ is? While you may not recognize his name or even his face, you will probably recognize his voice. Lending his soulful voice to commercials for various companies such as AT&T, General Motors, and Fox Network, as well as singing the “Home Again” theme song for the Detroit Tigers, Herbie has serenaded millions.
Heralded as a voice of this generation, he has often been compared to Michael McDonald and Joe Crocker. But Herbie needs no comparison; his voice is rife with emotion, unparalleled. A master of various genres, Herbie understands the connection between music and the heart.

And this understanding runs deep within Herbie.

Having a haunted past, Herbie is no stranger to struggle. When he was in his junior year of high school, his parents forced him out of the house due to his drug use. And that is where his trouble further continued.
While he was a talented saxophone player and would often bike up to 10 miles to make it to a gig, he did not use his payment judiciously. Instead, he played for either drugs or drug money. His addiction, for many years, was his musical motivation.
Without a home to go to, Herbie lived the life of the nomad, often living in his car or sleeping on friends’ couches. He would only seek positions playing on the road when he needed sleeping arrangements, as he knew he’d be provided with hotel rooms during his touring.
Even with such-seeming-success, Herbie was not able to hold on to anything he earned. His addiction, unsurprisingly, drained him of all resources.
However, once he found himself at his absolute lowest point, he decided to turn his addiction over to God, asking God to give him direction. He knew he had a gift, he just needed to see how he could use it.

And God answered Herbie’s plea, leading him right to a homeless shelter.
Of course, Herbie arrived with a talent for music. However, the homeless shelter didn’t need music; they needed someone to work on repairs. They needed something a little more practical than music.
Yet, seeing the state of those within the shelter, Herbie knew he could use his musical talent to help with those repairs, so he hit the streets with his music. He collected tips from passersby and donated all those tips to the shelter, eventually giving that shelter thousands in donations. He transformed his gift into something concrete the shelter could use.
But Herbie did not stop there. Even now, he continues to seek out the homeless to carry his gear, etc. His goal is to provide opportunities to those who desperately need them.
At 54 years old, Herbie has found a way to express love and generosity through his voice. Because he has been on the lowest rung and knows how swiftly one can find themselves in such a situation, Herbie embraces the interconnectivity of all of us. He shows us all how we should love one another, without judgement and without feelings of separation.

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