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.”