Josh Weathers, shown here in a recent concert, will perform as the headliner at Eric Nadel's annual birthday benefit show at the Kessler Theater on May 26.

Josh Weathers, shown here in a recent concert, will perform as the headliner at Eric Nadel's annual birthday benefit show at the Kessler Theater on May 26.

Gallemore Photography/Josh Weathers

Singer-songwriters take time off for all sorts of reasons. They need to let the creative ground lie fallow. They need to recharge their emotional batteries, or the one you hear a lot, they need to spend more time with their family.

All of the above was true for Burleson bluesman Josh Weathers, who has performed only a handful of times since a self-proclaimed goodbye show at Billy Bob's Texas in 2014. Now 32, Weathers will perform in Dallas for the first time in years on Thursday night at the Kessler Theater in Oak Cliff.

There, he and his band will serve as headliners for Texas Rangers broadcaster Eric Nadel's fifth annual birthday benefit. Daphne Willis, who performed in Cooperstown, N.Y., during the weekend Nadel was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, will open the show.

The last time Weathers played the Kessler, more than four years ago, he wowed the crowd with a stunning cover of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You." His version soon went viral on YouTube, where it has generated 1.4 million hits so far.

He's mounting a musical comeback for his own altruistic reasons: He's raising funds to help sustain a school and orphanage near Hyderabad, India. He and his wife, Kady, founded The Hope Home to offer sanctuary to girls and boys who might otherwise fall prey to the sexual-slavery trade.

The Times of India reported in 2014 that India, along with Pakistan, accounts for more than 45 percent of the total "global enslaved population," with more than 14 million women in India alone being involved in "sexual exploitation and forced marriage."

In 2014, the couple adopted a girl from Mumbai. Ruby is now 2 1/2. It took two years to complete the process, which the couple is again wading through to adopt 2-year-old Pearl. Ruby's brother is 5-year-old Cooper, the couple's biological son.

A devout Christian, Weathers first learned about life in India on a mission trip in 2014. More than 28 million orphans live in a country that he describes as "a shock in every sense -- the way it looks, sounds, smells and tastes. It's 180 degrees from normal in every respect, but I have fallen in love with the country and the people."

Traveling through India "broke our hearts. When you go there and see the massive amount of poverty and the children who have no homes ... They rock your world. You meet a mother in a slum village. She comes up to you, holding a 5-month-old child who weighs 8 pounds and she's begging you with tears in her eyes to take her baby to America. That is love. That is a whole 'nother level of love."

His respite notwithstanding, Weathers remains one heck of a guitar player and singer, one who was on a fast track to stardom. "But spiritually," he says, "I'm a different person."

Even so, he continues to sing his own songs, plus covers by artists as wide-ranging as Adele and his idol, Smokey Robinson. He commands a full band, which will join him onstage at the Kessler.

Proceeds from the show will benefit Focus on Teens, which helps more than 3,000 homeless adolescents in the Dallas Independent School District. The Hope Home in India will share in the proceeds.

"Music is more a ministry now," Weathers says. "I get to travel around the world and play music. That's where my passion is."

Twitter: @mgranberry

Plan your life

Josh Weathers will perform at 8 tonight at the Kessler Theater, 1230 W. Davis St. in Dallas. Daphne Willis opens the show, which is sold out. 214-272-8346. thekessler.org.

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