Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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Youtube Spotlight: Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (3/3/13)

March 06, 2013 By: Aaron Category: Concert Reviews, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, SG Artists, SG Music, Youtube

The EHSS bus once again rolled into my home area of Lynchburg, VA for a concert at Thomas Road Baptist Church this past weekend. It’s almost become an annual date for the group; they did not come in 2012, but came the year before that when Ian Owens had just recently started singing with them, and had a couple of concerts there when Tim Duncan was there. This time, they have Paul Harkey in the bass slot, and are experiencing change on the band side of things; guitarist Kelly Vaughan recently left the group, and drummer Zak Shumate is on the way out for a position with The Isaacs.

While I was not able to attend this year because of being away at college, my Mom did, and filmed a few videos of the night. Thanks, Mom! 🙂

Every bass singer that has been with EHSS has had a signature song at some point in their tenure that was usually a softer selection. For Tim Duncan in his early days, it was The Old Rugged Cross. For Ian Owens, it was “I Believe.” For Paul Harkey, it’s “Scars In The Hands Of Jesus.” While this song is more often heard as a tenor feature, it works quite well for Harkey’s smooth upper range. Look for this as a featured track on the group’s upcoming project, Glorious Day.

This is a brand new song entitled “That’s Why” from the group’s upcoming release. Mom did not film the main song, but was so impressed with it that she made sure to film the reprise. I don’t know how extensive the instrumentation is for the track, but the song sounds as if it was made for a “stripped down” sound like what is done here. This “teaser” makes me look forward to hearing the full thing on the project in April.

In the last of “new” clips from the night, the group does a cover of “Noah Found Grace In The Eyes Of The Lord,” which was recorded by several groups, but was arguably made the most popular by the Statler Brothers. EHSS takes off from the Statlers’ later arrangement that was recorded with Jimmy Fortune, right down to the held tenor note near the end, and it fits their energetic style.

There’s not much to say about “Sometimes I Wonder” that hasn’t already been said, except that Doug Anderson was a perfect choice to be featured on this song. Like Scott Howard of Legacy Five, he seems to always get songs that fit him like a glove, and this is no exception.

The concert closer, “Then Came The Morning” has rightfully remained a concert staple for the group, as evidenced by its strong response even after eight years of staging it.

Ian Owens Joins Soul’d Out Quartet

October 23, 2012 By: Aaron Category: Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Soul'd Out Quartet

In one of the more surprising moves of the year, the quartet announced today that they have made a big hire similar to the one that took place when they picked up Bryan Hutson after the departure of Tanner Stahl.

Since the departure of long time bass singer Matt Fouch, in mid August, Soul’d Out Quartet has been diligently seeking God and following his leading in the attempt to find the right person to be our bass singer. Despite having met many great people through the audition process, we (the men of Soul’d Out) had made the decision to remain a trio unless God provided the absolute right fit for our team and ministry.

Soul’d Out Quartet is thrilled to announce that God has provided us with the right bass singer!! We are so excited to have Ian Owens joining the Soul’d Out family! You may have heard Ian’s name before as the bass singer for Gospel Quartets such as “The Imperials” and “Ernie Haase and Signature Sound.” Ian has 12 years of full time ministry in gospel music and we are so pleased that this chapter of our lives brings us together to proclaim the Good News!! Ian’s first appearance with Soul’d Out will be on November 9th, 2012. We ask for your prayers for both Ian and the current Soul’d Out members as we transition into this new and very exciting time. God has great things in store for this ministry! Come and see us when we are in your area and welcome Ian aboard! Dusty, Michael, Bryan, Rick and Matt.

Ian also had a personal statement in the press release:

“After spending a weekend on the road with Soul’d Out Quartet, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that joining their team is God’s will for my life. I am very excited to have the opportunity to spread the Word of God with such strong men of faith and integrity! Matt, Bryan, Dusty, and Michael all have such a sincere and earnest desire to see souls won and lives changed. I absolutely can not wait to be “pounding the pavement” with these awesome men! However…..I’m scared I may not be much of a bass singer for them if I’m always hoarse from laughing at them! They’re funny!!”
Ian

My “big hire” comment refers to the level of popularity within Southern Gospel that Owens possesses. He gained quite a following in his time with Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (and, with some fans, during his tenure with The Imperials), much like Bryan Hutson gained with The Kingsmen. A second hire of this caliber in a row can only do good things for the popularity of the group.

Besides that aspect, this is also a good move vocally. In the eight years that previous bass singer Matt Fouch was with the group before his move to Legacy Five earlier this year, he developed a unique sound that combined solid low notes with a rich upper register. Owens developed his lower range quite nicely with EHSS, and has an upper register that has received favorable comments. His sound will continue what Fouch brought to the table with the group, while carving his own niche.

Owens had the task of following Tim Duncan in EHSS, and while he certainly developed quite well to fill that role, I’m looking forward to hearing him as he takes the mantle of a bass singer that is more similar to his style.

Ernie Haase & Signature Sound Announces Change

October 01, 2012 By: Aaron Category: Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, LeFevre Quartet, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

I guess it’s safe to say that NQC Turnover Season 2012 is underway.

In one of the more surprising moves in a while, the group announced the departure of their bass singer, as well as his replacement:

Dear Friends,

For the past two years the EHSS team and fans have been enriched by the voice and personality of Ian Owens. Ian has announced that he will be pursuing other interests (both musical and personal) and we fully support him and wish him great success. Ian’s last date with EHSS will be October 13th, 2012 in Sunnyvale, TX. Come out and support Ian and please pray for Ian and his wife Megan as they follow this new path.

We will miss Ian dearly. He is a funny, FUNNY man who has become a great friend and that will never change. We will update you at a later date with all information concerning Ian and his plans. Our new bass singer is a young man you are going to love. His name is Paul Harkey. We will fill you in on all of his information soon. Pray for EHSS as we navigate through this transition time.
Sincerely, Ernie

Color me shocked, first that Ian is leaving, and second, that Paul Harkey is coming in. Harkey joined the LeFevre Quartet several weeks ago, and was the featured bass vocalist on their new mainline release. For them to have a lineup change so quickly is surprising, possibly even more surprising than EHSS experiencing a change.

Owens brought a different style of bass singing to the quartet than they were used to with Tim Duncan, but it was one that left a positive mark on their arrangements, with a fuller upper register that allowed for tighter harmony. While Harkey has that same solid upper range, he is a bass in the Tim Riley/Jeff Chapman tradition, so look for this to change the group’s sound quite a bit.

For a good example of how Harkey sounds, here’s a recent video of him with the LeFevre Quartet:

For a showcase of his higher range, here’s “One Day” by the Anchormen. Paul has the first feature:

Concert Review: Ernie Haase & Signature Sound in Belfast, Northern Ireland (Live Stream)

May 19, 2012 By: Aaron Category: Concert Reviews, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, SG Artists, SG Music

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.

(more…)

CD Review: Mark Trammell Quartet – Treasures

October 15, 2011 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, Mark Trammell Quartet, SG Artists, SG Music

Rating: 5 stars

Producers: Mark Trammell, Kevin McManus, Dustin Sweatman
Label: Independent Release
www.marktrammellministries.com

Song titles: Echoes From The Burning Bush; Gentle Shepherd; Bloodwashed Band; That Day At Calvary; I’ll Have A New Life; Statue Of Liberty; An Old Convention Song; I Thirst; Master Builder; Wedding Music; Then I Met The Master; Boundless Love

There has been a whole slew of Cathedrals tributes that have cropped up in the past couple of years, perhaps the biggest being Ernie Haase & Signature Sound’s latest album. A major release, that project consisted of re-done arrangements of about twenty-one songs from The Cathedrals, and came with a live video. The Mark Trammell Quartet went the complete opposite direction; they have released a table project that doesn’t even mention The Cathedrals by name, only referring to “Pop” and “The Old Man” in the liner notes. Straight-ahead arrangements, a table project, no video that features all the tracks; this project differs from that of EHSS in almost every way.

Where they are comparable is the high quality of the music.

The MTQ didn’t just take all the big hits that EHSS re-did and do versions not that much different from the originals (the only ones the two share are “An Old Convention Song,” “I Thirst,” “Wedding Music,” and “Boundless Love”). Rather, they reached back and pulled out songs that haven’t been recorded to death. Songs like “Bloodwashed Band,” the upbeat opener to The Cats’ Travelin’ Live that was long overdue for a revival, “That Day At Calvary,” and “Statue of Liberty.” Two of the songs are live cuts from a live DVD the group released and feature fellow Cats alum Gerald Wolfe at the piano. While the new and creative arrangements that Signature Sound brought to the table were certainly stellar, the lower-key feel of this project makes just as much a fitting tribute as that project did.

Really, Trammell did the Cats proud on this project. While I would have liked to hear Dustin Sweatman and Joel Wood featured more (especially since this turned out to be Wood’s final effort with the group), the singing is impeccable. Pat Barker’s voice has drawn comparisons to George Younce over the years, but on these songs especially, the similarity is almost scary. If you enjoyed the Cathedrals and didn’t care for the HUGE sound of EHSS’ work, then this tribute to one of the best groups in SG history will be right up your alley. Treasures receives 5 stars.

Ernie Haase & Signature Sound with a band?

March 16, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, Gold City, SG Artists, SG Music

Ernie Haase says on his blog that the group did have a live band with them at a recent concert date. I’ll have to check Youtube later to see whether anyone got video footage.

I’d imagine it’d be a similar setup to what they have at their Homecoming dates; split tracks, with instruments like bass guitar and drums being live, as well as piano, of course. Although, I wonder if they throw guitar into the mix like Gold City does on dates when they have the band.

No word on whether the band will become permanent addition to the EHSS concert experience yet. I’d imagine, if not that option, that they’d take Gold City’s route and charge an additional fee for the band. I’m sure the crowd response to the band would encourage the latter at the very least.

EHSS TV

July 11, 2007 By: Aaron Category: Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

From the Singing News website:

Ernie Haase & Signature Sound Launch Media Channel

Southern Gospel Quartet, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound has partnered with a Tampa Fl. based 316Muzik to launch a free membership-based media channel, EHSS TV.

Ernie Haase’s group is the first of its kind to use this newest form of video delivery technology. 316Muzik is an Endavo (http://www.endavomedia.com)/ Powered Community, and provides several media tools to 316Muzik which enable the group to have a stronger presence on the Internet and establish a direct connection with each listener who joins the community. The EHSS TV community can be found at ehss.316muzik.com.

By using the latest video delivery technologies available, EHSS TV shares with the world the personal side of the EHSS ministry, including music videos and backstage and on-stage video footage from tours. Registered members can view high quality videos in full-screen DVD quality right on their desktop, enjoying a TV-like experience, all without streaming.

Casio Jones, the founder of 316 Muzik, noted that by leveraging the power of Endavo EHSS TV can expand its ministry over the Web. 316Muzik also offers the EHSS ministry complete control of online distribution of their exclusive special footage.

“Based on the wonderful review from the EHSS TV members’ forum, this is going to be a big hit for all the fans of the EHSS ministry. 316Muzik could not have developed a better relationship with a finer ministry. Ernie Haase was able to see the vision and potential of what 316Muzik has to offer.” said Casio Jones, founder of 316Muzik.

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It’s been around a while, but it’s a pretty sweet deal, considering that it’s totally free.

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