Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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Tim Duncan Departs Signature Sound; Ian Owens Named As New Bass

January 18, 2011 By: Aaron Category: Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

By now, it has made the rounds in the Southern Gospel blog: Tim Duncan has left Ernie Haase & Signature Sound after eight years as their bass singer. The press release at Singing News reads:

NASHVILLE, TN (January 17, 2011) - Tim Duncan, bass vocalist of Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, is stepping down after eight years with the quartet.

Tim states: “After 8 years of service to Ernie Haase & Signature Sound I have been feeling in my heart that my time has come to an end. I’m sad on one hand yet excited on the other hand. Ernie & the boys are like brothers and always will be. I covet your prayers.”

Ernie Haase states: “I realize changes are inevitable, it always brings a challenge as well as new opportunity. We will always be grateful for Tim’s contribution to the group over these past years. We love Tim and wish him and his family great success.”

Ian Owens will replace Tim Duncan. His first date with the group will be January 21 in Portland OR.

Thankfully, this doesn’t seem to be a situation where the speculation can turn ugly as to what happened to cause the change; the press release features statements from both parties that indicate there is no bad blood. As Haase stated, change is inevitable. Tim Duncan became one of my personal favorite basses in his time with the group, and his sound improved during that tenure. His contributions to the group’s sound leave some big shoes to fill.

That brings me to Ian Owens. You may remember him from his time with the Cumberland Quartet, but most will remember him as the young man who stepped in when Armond Morales, longtime bass singer for The Imperials retired. Indeed, Owens possesses a voice that has the smooth tones of Armond’s, but with a deeper, lower range. It is interesting to note that, in an interview hosted on Daniel Mount’s blog, Ernie Haase was asked to put together a “quartet of tomorrow.” Owens got the bass spot in that group. Owens’ sound differs enough from Duncan’s that it will be intriguing to hear how the group’s sound as a whole changes.

For a preview of Ian Owen’s voice, here’s the Imperials singing “Arise, My Love.”

30 Comments to “Tim Duncan Departs Signature Sound; Ian Owens Named As New Bass”


  1. Gloria McCoy says:

    Where will we be able to hear Tim sing in the future? We will really miss his voice.

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  2. I was actually the one who asked that question, and at the time I had no idea how timely it would be (!)

    I agree that Ian’s voice does differ from Duncan’s. Both are extremely talented. I think I would give Ian the edge for full upper tones, but I would give Tim the edge for smoothness in “the basement.”

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  3. I know changes are to be but I hope Tim leaving was his ideal. We loved Tim and we hope the best for him. I feel it will be a great void for a while with Tim leaving, just like it was when Ryan left. EH&SS are a great joy to all of us and I hope his quartet will be on the same great level it has always been.

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  4. I just saw them in Chatanooga last Friday the 14th. The show was great, and Tim and Ernie were passing one liners as always. I am so glad I got to see them since this announcement hit this week. I saw the “original” group (with Ryan Seaton and I know about Shane Dunlap, etc but they took off about the time Ryan joined) in Jackson TN on the GET AWAY JORDAN Tour and to me, that was their best program/video/cd. I also love the Tribute… due to being a HUGE Cathedrals fan.

    The mystery on Tim landing? Maybe with Roy Webb… in his home state of Alabama… Gold City??

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  5. Yesterday in Portland it was worst SS concert. We really miss Tim.

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    • I mean no disrespect by this, but why was it the worst SS concert? Was it just because Tim’s not there? Was it because it was Ian’s first night and he may have missed a move or a few words here and there? Saying that it was the worst SS concert because of those reasons is both unfair to the group and yourself. To the group, because change is inevitable, Tim had a great eight-year run, and Ernie has given a young vocalist a chance because he knows he can do the job, and the fans should still support the group through change. It’s unfair to you because you didn’t enjoy yourself just because it was a different set of vocalists on-stage, though it was still quality Gospel music that Signature Sound has done for years.

      I’ll post some footage of the concert that has popped up on Youtube, but I was honestly very impressed with what I heard. Ian may have been the new guy, but he already fit in very well, both vocally and in stage-presence (albeit a little stiff.. first-night jitters!)

      Anyways, I am sorry if any of my comments may have come off as rude, but I hope you understand what I’m trying to say. Tim will certainly be missed, but the future with Ian on board is very bright for Ernie Haase & Signature Sound. Don’t write them off just yet! :)

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    • New SoGo Fan says:

      Yes, what Aaron said. Frankly, I admire Aaron’s restraint–I wouldn’t have been nearly so gracious. Most everyone else I’ve heard from who was at the concert and has seen video would strongly disagree with you. Ian’s performance of “The Old Rugged Cross” alone should have been convincing enough. If you remained unimpressed, that demonstrates how much you know about quality bass singing or quality singing in general. So I would suggest that you keep your opinions to yourself.

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      • Agreed, but I wouldn’t say keep your opinions to yourself. I’m all for discussion; if you can back up your opinions, feel free to share them and debate! That’s what blogs and comments sections are for!

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        • New SoGo Fan says:

          Good point. I think I was in southerngospelblog.com mode for a minute there. :-) That said, it was still in LD’s best interests if he didn’t want to look bad. :-D

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  6. Tim is is the only reason we go to EHSS concerts. He sure will be missed. I rthink it is a big mistake for him to leave. I just hope he is going on to bigger and better things.

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  7. I was at the Portland Concert on Friday, and thought EHSS had a wonderful performance. I was very impressed by Ian Owens. I thought he performed very well. It was such a joy to be blessed by this performance. I admit this was my first time attending a concert by EHSS, however, I have listen to EHSS before on TV and am familiar with them. I hope folks don’t evaluate Ian Owens performance based on the YouTube video of the Friday concert, the quality of the sound on that video was rather poor. Ian’s singing was beautiful. Tim Duncan is a very talented bass singer and although I was sad he had left the group, I am hopeful we will hear him again in the future, perhaps on a Gaither Homecoming special. I look forward to hearing EHSS again the next time they are in the Pacific Northwest.

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    • New SoGo Fan says:

      I’m even more impressed by what I’ve heard from Ian since I found out he only had two hours to prepare with the guys before that first concert!

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  8. Mary Metzger says:

    I was at the Portland concert. We were sorry to hear Tim would not be there but Ian stepped up and performed very well. We thoroughly enjoyed his singing and the group’s, of course.
    Ian was very personable at the table and we welcome him back to Southern Gospel stages!
    Instead of bemoaning change, embrace it – it is inevitable.

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  9. brian in st louis says:

    Is it possible Tim will join with Ryan Seaton and start a new quartet?? That would be awesome! I have to say I’ve only been a Southern Gospel music fan for about 2 years, but I don’t like all of this moving around in the business. I preferred EHSS with Ryan and will probably prefer them with Tim. I will certainly see EHSS again sometime this year and hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised.

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  10. Since Tim and Ryan were my favorites with the group, them forming a new group would be a real winner for me

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  11. Just saw EHSS in concert last nite in Tullahoma, Tennessee. Ian was marvelous!! He has a smoother bass tone to his voice than Tim does, but overall they are about the same as far as quality goes. Ian will only get better and better as he gets more familiar with the music. Ian gives the group a little more contrast of character now. They are no longer just a group of 4 athletic guys dancing around the stage. With Ian’s short, stocky build you almost have a comedic tone of tall man short man in a comedy routine. I think he will greatly compliment this group!!

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  12. Does anyone know what Tim Duncan is going to be doing in the future?

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  13. I will certainly miss Tim, and hope we will hear from him again. He was my favorite but that is only my opinion.

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  14. I agree. Tim will be hard to replace. Probably can’t be.

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  15. Just Me says:

    If God never changed seasons, there would be no opportunities for any new blessings. If the person who did your job before you never moved on, your opportunity would never have come to pass. Let’s support the new faces who have a desire to sing the Gospel and who God has appointed for this time. :-)

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  16. Its a pity that the modern musicians are not as the old time ones..they retire even before they are 50..couldnt imagin George Younce leaving the Cathedrals.

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  17. Craig Johnstone says:

    We went to the EH&SS concert in Des Moines on April 7 and it was the consensus of many of us old time Southern Gospel fans that the addition of Ian has taken the group up to a new level. Many comparisons to George Y. in his sound quality. Our group thought that the group dynamics have improved. Of the many times EH&SS have been to Des Moines this was the best!

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