I noticed over the past few days on Facebook that Ernie Haase & Signature Sound will be broadcasting their Belfast concert on the Internet, so I decided to watch and give my thoughts in “stream of consciousness” form. Hopefully, this doesn’t end up looking like I took a bunch of cough medicine and decided to write afterwards!
1. Since Jesus Passed By - Hadn’t heard the group stage this song in quite a while; in fact, not since Tim Duncan left. Ian Owens NAILED his solo verse and step out lines, and it’s quite a testament to his development since joining the group. I like this “all-live” treatment of the song supplied by the live band. The re-working of the instrumentation is really interesting.
2. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot - The first track of the group’s new Here We Are Again project, is also “all-live.” Good showcase of the quartet harmony here, and the “instrumental break” goes over well live.
3. Singing In The Midnight Hour – No talking breaks here as the second track from the aforementioned CD is sung. It is evident that the project was cut with the live band in mind; there have been zero tracks present thus far. Doug Anderson is his reliable self here, showing off his soulful side in his vocals.
4. Stand By Me – Straight into this reworked signature song for Signature Sound (pun intended). I appreciate the fact that Owens doesn’t try to be Tim Duncan with his vocals here, making the song his own. He gives the song a smoother bass treatment, very rhythmic. Tracks just showed in the form of brass on the encore, but they’re barely noticeable. Welcome back, EHSS choreography! Devin McGlamery did very well on his standouts at the end; reminded me of his Dixie Melody Boys work more than anything he’s done with EHSS.
Ernie’s talking to the crowd now, four songs in. Talking about God’s masterful design of life to set up the next song.
5. Reason Enough – Another “reworked” song by the band. Soft accompaniment puts the vocals out front. I’m impressed at the blend this lineup of the group has attained over the relatively short period of time that they’ve been together.
6. Movin’ Up To Gloryland - As much as I absolutely despise this song after hearing it about 1,000 times (everybody and their brother has covered it!), it’s fun to watch the group play around with it.
7. Everytime – Goodness, what a jump! Bouncy quartet song to rowdy musical theatre. Tracks show up again, to add brass and sound effects. This song goes over a whole lot better live than in the studio. Predictably, there’s some choreography involved here, but this song almost demands it! Was that a “Tebow” on the end by Ernie? Priceless.
More talking. A word of thanks to everyone who came out to the concert.
8. Walk With Me - Light piano accompanies Ernie’s voice on this tenor standard. After a crazy song like the previous one, this is a good change of pace to the soft and smooth. The group stepped out from behind the mic for the end of the chorus. Now, that’s a blend!
9. I’ve Been Here Before – I’d been waiting on this one; one of my favorites from the new CD. All-live again. Devin is another singer in the group that has developed well, as evidenced by his work here.
Looks like time for group introductions. Nice segue into it by acknowledging the last singer featured, and then mentioned the rest of the group. Not cumbersome, not lengthy, just so. Same Devin and Ian story that has been used since Ian was hired. Now comes the setup for “Sometimes I Wonder.”
10. Sometimes I Wonder – This Doug Anderson feature sounds like it could have come from his solo project, like it was written for him to sing. Like Scott Howard of Legacy Five, Anderson gets songs that fit his voice like a glove. Great moment in this concert.
11. Thankful To You – Keeping the reflective mood going, this song sounds like it came from the Haase-era Cathedrals songbook. Track-added orchestra is present, but it makes me wonder how it would sound with just piano-and-bass accompaniment. The piano part happens, but only as a sing-along with the crowd at the end, and then a solo verse from Ernie after a short testimony.
12. Dreamin’ Wide Awake – Speaking of Doug Anderson’s solo project a couple songs back, here’s the title cut. It was mentioned that the CD won a Dove Award, and his performance shows why. The rest of the quartet left the stage, giving focus to Anderson’s solo. Slight technical issues popping up now (buffering issues), but at least they haven’t plagued this webcast.
Now comes band introductions. Again, short, sweet, and to the point. Setup now for “Any Other Man.” Fasten your seatbelts!
13. Any Other Man – Leave it to EHSS to raise the bar and think outside the box for their material. This “Third Day meets Southern Gospel” song blows me away every time I hear it. The sound itself is great, but the lyrics of the song are very powerful, very deep. Hadn’t heard this one encored before; nice touch.
14. The Old Rugged Cross – Ian Owens sang this when he first joined the group, but it was mentioned that this one hadn’t been done in a while. You’d never be able to tell. Piano accompaniment make for an understated, powerful rendition of this old hymn.
15. Love Carried The Cross – That last one segued directly into this ballad. Another “Cathedrals-esque” cut from the new CD. Guess it’s just too similar to “Thankful To You” for me, but hearing both in one concert felt like overkill.
At this point, the first half is over, and that means the webcast is over as well. They packed quite a bit of music into this, though, so I’m not complaining. Thanks to the group for broadcasting, and if they are in your area, be sure to go see them!