Music comes from the heart and from the soul. While classically trained musicians can impress us with their mastering of an instrument or singing voice, it is sometimes the gritty, harsh, and less polished artists who capture our attention. It is these musicians who take us on emotional journeys with their lyrics and sound.
A couple of musicians currently experiencing homelessness have taught that lesson recently to the millions of people who have watched them sing a cover of a Florida Georgia Line song.
Some are even saying they put the band to shame with their version of “Proud To Be An American.”
The video begins with a longer-haired man selling American flags to those passing by for a dollar. The man is a little disheveled. His shirt doesn’t quite cover his belly and his hair looks like it could use a wash.
What this man lacks in aesthetics, however, he more than makes up for with passion.
The other man in the video is named Jim. He looks content to just sit on a street corner and play guitar. Early in the video, Jim explained what led to him experiencing homelessness.
“I kind of lost my apartment and they kept all my stuff because I was back on rent and they sold my guitar to help pay for rent. So I haven’t played in a while but it comes back to you,” he said.
“Do you know ‘Proud to be an American?” the longer-haired man asks before selling a woman an American flag for a dollar.
Jim strums the tune as the longer-haired man belts out the lyrics with a passion you’ll never hear on The Masked Singer.
You can’t teach that passion in classes, you can’t teach it at singing lessons, you have to have it in you. It has to come from a place deep down in your soul.
Neither singer nor guitarist needs a microphone or an amp.
Their sound carried down the street and attracted many onlookers who waved their flags as the performance continued.
While the song is ultimately about patriotism, there is also a strong theme of gratitude in the lyrics. We can’t help think that the two men who passionately belted out this tune know a thing or two about being grateful for what they have rather than focusing on what they don’t.
The long-haired man’s name is Herbie Russ.
Some people might recognize him from Season 12 of America’s Got Talent. There is much more to him than his appearance on that show, however. Russ experienced homelessness for years and now has dedicated his work to helping those going through similar problems.
Russ often hires people experiencing homelessness to help him at his singing gigs. He also donates the money he earns from signing gigs to a local homeless shelter.
“Brother, you can sing,” Jim says to Herbie in the video.
“Singing is about more than just a beautiful voice. It’s about life, experiences, and how those experiences connect the singer to the song in order to make the words and music come alive,” reads a passage from Herbie’s website.
It’s clear Herbie has seen a lot in his time on this planet.
The emotion of his lifelong journey comes alive with every lyric he belts out.
His passion for helping those experiencing hard times is also quite evident.
After finishing up the cover of “Proud To Be An American” the pair begin singing “Hallelujah,” another song with a theme of gratitude.
This heart-felt video goes to show that as long as you are alive and have a song in your heart, you have something to feel good about.
Watch these passionate musicians belt out “Proud to be an American” in the video below.
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