Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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CD Review: Ernie Haase & Signature Sound – Here We Are Again

January 27, 2012 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, SG Artists, SG Music

Rating: 4.5 stars

Producer: Wayne Haun
Label: Stow Town Records
Website: www.erniesigsound.com

Buy Project Here

It’s been said that, in Southern Gospel music, the only thing that is more certain than the Truth that is sung about, is change. Ernie Haase & Signature Sound are not immune to that fact; since their last project of original material (2008’s Dream On), the group has said farewell to longtime lead singer Ryan Seaton and bass singer/founding member Tim Duncan. Devin McGlamery filled the vacancy left by Seaton, and Cumberland Quartet/The Imperials bass Ian Owens came back on the road following Duncan’s departure. Though McGlamery was featured on a table project (Influenced II: Spirituals and Southern Classics) and a mainline release (A Tribute to the Cathedral Quartet) in 2010, this is his first “original” project with the group, and Owens’ first effort with them period (unless you count background vocals on George Younce with Ernie Haase and Signature Sound).

With this latest release, fans are hoping to see a return to the creativity and energy that was found with the group’s 2007 hit effort, Get Away Jordan. The follow-up release, the aforementioned Dream On, had several strong songs with lasting value in the group’s repertoire, but was overall just… missing something. I’ve made the observation that it was “sleepy” (pun somewhat intended!).

I am happy to report that Here We Are Again brings back the spark, in spades.

Take, for instance, the opening track. “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” starts with the sound of an old projector reel, and then launches into a classic spiritual that EHSS injects with its trademark “SG quartet music with a kick” style, much like they did with “Someday” to open Get Away Jordan, complete with an “instrumental” break in the middle that has the quartet mimicking a band with their voices. This track sets the tone for the rest of the project, and flows nicely into an original upbeat tune, “Singing In The Midnight Hour,” which serves as a vehicle for baritone Doug Anderson to show off some of his soulful vocals. The other most creative tracks undoubtedly come in the form of “Every Time,” a wild Ernie Haase feature in the vein of “Happy Birthday, Anniversary Too” (except more bearable, and twice as hyper), and “Any Other Man,” which adopts a Third Day-esque rock sound and has already piqued interest around various SG blogs and message boards.

The big question is, how are the “new guys” doing in the new group? The answer is, quite well. Lead singer McGlamery takes the feature on the group’s latest single, “I’ve Been Here Before,” as well as solos on “Love Carried The Cross” and “Stand By Me,” the latter of which he absolutely nails his part on. These songs spotlight his development since joining the group, seeming to bridge the gap between his sound as lead for the Dixie Melody Boys and his more modern sound he attained with Karen Peck & New River and brought to EHSS.

Speaking of “Stand By Me,” that is indeed the song that really got EHSS started back in 2003 with a project of the same name, and it was actually the first track I’d heard on the project since I went right to it, wondering if it was actually the same one. Ian Owens is a different type of bass than Tim Duncan; he’s not all about the low notes, and has a smoother higher range that makes for a killer blend. On this particular track, he takes the EHSS signature and effectively makes it his own, giving it a soulful swagger that reminds me of a Black Gospel group like the Fairfield Four. Other highlights for him include his standouts on “I’ve Been Here Before,” which serve to show that his lower range has been brought out and developed nicely in the year since he joined the quartet, and “I Believe,” which he has sung regularly in concert since his Imperials days, and has become his “signature” with this group.

The other vocalists also have a strong showing. A big ballad about Christ’s sacrifice (“Love Carried The Cross”) calls to mind a ballad the Haase-era Cathedrals would do, especially with Haase’s delivery on the last verse. “Sometimes I Wonder” sounds like a song that would have fit seamlessly into Doug Anderson’s solo project, and pianist Wayne Haun even gets a full-fledged feature on “You Are Welcome Here.” The whole group comes together for “Thankful,” a softer, orchestrated tune that I’d imagine would be used near the end of a concert, but doesn’t really jump out on CD.

People who have written the group off since the lineup changes took place are doing themselves a disservice. This lineup can hold its own with any previous iterations of the quartet and has developed very nicely, and has produced a top-notch project. In fact, I will go out on a limb and rank this project as the best collection of songs they have released to date, with Get Away Jordan at a close second. I’d encourage anyone who may have been a fan of the previous lineups to purchase a copy of Here We Are Again; you just may be pleasantly surprised. Here We Are Again receives 4.5 stars.

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11 Comments to “CD Review: Ernie Haase & Signature Sound – Here We Are Again”


  1. I quite agree… with pretty much everything! Good review. đŸ™‚ You might think I’m odd, but if you asked me what my favorite EHSS project is, I’d be tempted to all the way back to day one and say _Stand By Me_!

    1
    • Thank you! =)

      Stand By Me is definitely in the top five list of EHSS projects for me. I really liked that combination of singers, and coupled with Garry Jones production and arrangements, it was a heck of a quartet. I still say that their version of “Calvary Answers For Me” is the best one out there, IMHO.

      2
      • I’m always struck by how straight down the middle SOUTHERN they sounded with Garry on lead. His tone almost recalls a young Gerald Wolfe at times. Totally agreed on “Calvary Answers For Me.”

        3
        • I agree, but do you mean Shane Dunlap instead of Garry? Shane definitely does have that young Wolfe vibe going with his voice. I sure wish the revived N’Harmony would have gained some ground.

          Garry Jones didn’t sing with EHSS, just played piano, but he did an occasional comedy number when he was Gold City’s pianist, and of course was the pianist/baritone for Mercy’s Mark!

          4
  2. Joyce Williams says:

    Thank you for this glowing review. I agree this CD is just awesome.

    6
  3. Patti Jeske says:

    This new project by EHSS is out of this world. I have every one of Ernie’s project’s, from when he was a solo artist until this one. I was blessed to be able to see the group last weekend in Tucson and Phoenix and must say that a live performance of this material is so good! Many songs bring tears to your eyes and makes you stop and really listen to the words not just the music. It is hard to pick my favorite cd as they all have certain strong songs on them. Thanks for such a positive review!!

    7
  4. I think it is going to be a great hit I m listening to some of it now on tv I just heard “Sometimes I wonder” now i m listiening to I Believe” really nice

    8
  5. Donna Axelton says:

    Hi Guys, haven’t received my new CD yet but have been so blessed with EHSS since I discovered you in 2007. I watch a little of your DVD before I go to bed. My dream is to see you in person one day. You keep me focused on the Lord since I lost my husband. Love you all.

    9
  6. LINDA SKILES says:

    I GOT THIS CD FEB. 4, 2012 AT THE CONCERT IN CHARLESTON, WV. I CAN NOT STOP PLAYING IT. THIS IS SO GOOD. I LOVE ALL OF THE SONGS. PLUS IT WAS A GREAT CONCERT.

    10
  7. LINDA SKILES says:

    I GOT THIS CD ON FEB 4 AND I AM SO THRILLED WITH IT. I CAN NOT STOP PLAYING IT. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK.

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