Home > Concert Reviews > Concert Review: Ernie Haase And Signature Sound (Anderson Indiana)

Concert Review: Ernie Haase And Signature Sound (Anderson Indiana)

When I found out back in May that the Ernie Haase and Signature Sound Cathedrals tribute taping was going to be in Anderson Indiana (about 2 hours from my home) I just had to get my hands on some tickets. I ordered two tickets, and gave Daniel Mount the chance at one of them free of charge, which was an opportunity he of course jumped on… When that day finally arrived, I met with Daniel in Anderson at a local Steak & Shake, and had lunch and  good companionship with a great guy. Daniel is one of the most knowledgeable people that I know of about the genre of Southern Gospel music, and it was delightful to get the chance to once again pick his brain.

After lunch Daniel and I made our way to the venue which was located about 5 miles from where we ate lunch. The venue itself was the Anderson University auditorium, where Ernie Haase and Signature Sound have recorded two videos previously. I had never been here so I did not know quite what to expect, lets say I was very impressed by this facility. We made our way to our seats (in the balcony) and sat down. The first thing I noticed was the band, they had 2 trombone players two trumpet players a tenor sax and maybe an alto sax, a keyboard player (Tracy Phillips) and a grand piano player (Wayne Haun), they also had a bass guitarist and Kevin Williams was there as a utility player (meaning he would end up playing about 3 different stringed instruments including a banjo) Their drummer who is very good is Zach Shumate for some reason I was expecting Greg Ritchie I had forgotten that Ernie had hired his own drummer. There was also a xylophone sitting on the stage… At about 6:07 Bill Gaither came out on stage and had us rolling in laughter in no time. He led us in the pre-recorded clapping routines, and then told us to sit tight, that EHSS would be out very soon…

Well the moment we had all been waiting for was almost upon us, we waited about 5 minutes and then with no warning here they came 5 men in a row walking onto the stage like they owned it, and like they knew that they were going take us on a ride that we would never forget. They kicked things off with “Wedding Music” which features mostly Tim and Ernie, Tim nailed down his part, and Ernie did very well on the  power tag. “Step Into The Water” was up next and it once again featured Tim, and man he really impressed on this particular song, they have really breathed new life into this old classic and have made it their very own. They went straight into their next song, which started out with some heavy drum beats that had the crowd clapping along very loudly along with the beat. They then started singing maybe the best rendition of “Boundless Love” I have ever heard, Ernie Haase in particular sounded great on this one, he really skied high on the power tag. The crowd went crazy and they encored this one I believe twice.

Ernie slowed things down and talked a little bit after Boundless Love, this gave the guys time to catch their breath before starting into things again. Their next song was “I’m Gonna Live Forever” which featured Ernie on the verses, nice song that featured some nice pretty harmonies from the guys. New lead singer Devin McGlamery got his first feature of the night next on “Yesterday” he did a solid job on a song that is normally thought of as a bass lead. Ernie set up his staple song “Oh What A Savior” with a great story about his very first concert with the Cathedrals. I hope the story makes the video because it is quite touching and funny at the same time. Ernie shows really no sign of his voice letting him down even at his age of 45, he totally nailed this song in the key of F#. Some people might argue that they should not have done this song since they have recorded several times already, well I believe no setting in which Ernie Haase is singing is complete without this particular song. And his fans still love every bit of it.

Ernie then changed things up a bit and had Wayne Haun (who was playing the piano) and Tracey Phillips (who was on the keyboard) switch places so Tracey could offer up her skills in convention style playing as they sang ironically enough “Old Convention Song” her intro was so good that Ernie had her do it over again. The guys did well on the song itself.  Wayne Haun who is their producer/piano player/tuba player wunderkind joined them for the next song, to make for some great five part harmony the song (which featured a great arrangement from Wayne) was a terrific acapella version of “Wonderful Grace Of Jesus” that really brought the house down for sure.

Doug Anderson whom I feel may be the most underrated singer in the business, stepped out front on their next song “Sinner Saved By Grace”. Doug really nailed his verse, I was expecting more of Doug on the second but they handed the lead off to Devin who was a little shaky to begin with but smoothed it out for a nice finish. Even though I would have preferred Doug on that second verse, Devin really did do a nice job. The group ensemble of this particular song was strong but not quite as strong as the most recent Gaither Vocal Band Version. I would however put it on par with the Cathedrals version from the Farewell Celebration project, which is what I believe they were shooting for.

Ernie set up the next three songs by saying that it was these types of songs that influenced George and Glen to do what they did. They started with “My Heart Is A Chapel” and then went into “Swinging On The Golden Gate” which I have never been a big fan of. They closed this part of the program by bringing out what Ernie called the “Big Dog”… Bill Gaither…To tell some George and Glen stories which were quite funny and touching for the most part. Bill then told Wayne to move aside and let a master take over on the keys. He accompanied them on their next song “Walk With Me”. The Crowd totally ate it up with Bill on the piano, and Ernie displaying some very nice control in his upper registers,Bill was instructing him to hold out his high notes extra long on this song..The Crowd wanted a encore at the end.

The brass section who had sat out the last segment came back on stage, Wayne Haun came out with a sousaphone and Tracey Phillips joined in with a clarinet for the next song, which was “Can He, Could He, Would He” They had quite a bit of fun with this particular song, at one point they surrounded Wayne in circle and were singing and dancing around him.  I have to say it was quite amusing. Even some kids got involved in the dancing down close to the stage… They sang “Life Will Be Sweeter Someday” next and I have to say they did a nice job with this one… Another Cathedral heritage group Legacy Five have been staging this song lately as well, I have to say on this particular song that I actually prefer L5’s version. Mainly due to Tim Partons superb accompaniment. Wayne Haun is great at what he does but I have to give Tim the edge on this particular song. There is room however for both versions at the Southern Gospel table. I also found it interesting that on the part of this song where the piano player would normally play a solo, they had Kevin Williams do it on the electric guitar, he was quite awesome on that part it was a pleasant surprise for sure.

On the next song Wayne Haun once again showed his versatility and moved over and played the xylophone though it could have been a marimba, I could not really tell from the balcony. The song was “Mexico” I really enjoy this song and I think the guys did too… Some stage hands came out in the middle of the song and put sombreros on the singers heads…  Ernie’s was pink, everyone was rolling with laughter… After the clapping a laughter died down they brought out a special surprise visitor to join them for their next song. Ernie introduced him as the man who truly helped him get to where he is today. That man was Squire Parsons, who received a standing ovation as he took the stage to sing his classic “Beulah Land” with the guys, I have to say that this was a highlight moment of the night for sure.

Tim stepped up and sang “God Delivers Again” next and he really did a great job with this one. They then went straight into “He Made  A Change” which Doug of course knocked out of the park… Next up was “Moving Up To Gloryland” which the guys (particular Ernie)  had probably way to much fun with… Towards the end of the song Ernie ran around with his mic and had several of the band members attempt his little “moo-oo-oo-oovin’” part he then had the crowd do it… I have to say it was very funny, I enjoyed their singing of this song as well…

Ernie then took the time time recognize each of the songwriters that were in the audience. Including Joel Lindsey and Dianne Wilkinson, he also took the time to recognize family of the Payne and Younce families. I thought this was very tactful and nice of Ernie, it just shows how classy this man is. Their next song was the “Laughing Song” which was made famous by George Younce, his son actually sang the first and only verse of this song last night and really did a nice job, after which they played a video of George doing the laughing part. I have to say it was a touching and funny moment all at the same time.

One of my favorite Cathedral songs from the nineties came next “I Thirst” which featured Doug and Ernie was very well sung and was definitely a more unnoticed highlight of the night … Their laid back arrangement of this song went over very well with the crowd. This set up what I feel may have been THE highlight of the night. And that was their arrangement of “Champion Of Love” featuring Wayne Haun on the vocal part… While I grew up listening to the Fowler version and that has always been the one I prefer along with Gerald Wolfe’s version… I have to say Wayne went a long way to changing my mind on that last night… While he does not have the vocal power of Wolfe or maybe even Scott Fowler, he does however have a very smooth lead voice that communicates a lyric very well, and he really sold that song as his own last night!

To slow things a little bit they sang “Plan Of Salvation” which went over very well especially Tim’s solos. This was a choice as a song to set up their next song… When I first heard that they were going to be doing “We Shall See Jesus” I was excited and reserved about it at the same time… Devin gets the lead on this song and he definitely sung his heart out in tribute to his hero Glen Payne… They actually for the third verse played a video of Glen Payne singing it… While this went over very well and everyone was on their feet by the time the verse was over, If I were Ernie I would have let Devin carry the lead through to the end Which I feel would have really cemented his place in the hearts of EHSS fans. But I can’t argue with the success it brought, even if the nostalgia of it all may have been a bit much, but I digress…

Once again they slowed things down and sang a very nice medley of Gaither songs including (Gentle Shepherd, Something About That Name, and I Will Serve Thee) all of which the Cathedrals had of course recorded. After this they played a touching video of George and Glen from the Farewell video singing “Search Me O God” I have to say that it was a very emotional time for everyone… Glen Paynes wife was there and I can only imagine the emotions she was feeling.

The group closed with “This Ole House” as their final full song. The arrangement was not much different from the original Cats version.Tim in particular did a great job in Georges place…  Then they encored Boundless Love to finish things off. It was a very fitting finish to a great night of music, laughter and raw emotion… I will relive that night for days and weeks to come.

Ernie and his guys really outdid themselves, and I have to say that I think George and Glen would be very proud of him. They kept to the core sound of the Cathedrals music, while at the same time putting their own take on some beloved songs.When I first heard that Ernie Haase and Signature Sound was doing this tribute taping I was a little unsure about the whole thing… But as the night went on I found myself thinking “wow I am so glad I got the tickets to this.” I am really looking forward to the DVD/CD set that is to be  released on October 26th. So when that is released go get yourself a copy, and never get rid of it because I believe it will be a piece of Southern Gospel History that will be cherished for a lifetime.

Categories: Concert Reviews
  1. Betty McCaul
    July 25, 2010 at 1:43 -04:00Jul

    Thanks Nate for a awesome review.I was there and it is a night I will never forget..These guys are just awesome and we love them.Thanks again and God bless

  2. JayTee
    July 25, 2010 at 1:43 -04:00Jul

    Loved the review, Nate. Thanks!

  3. July 26, 2010 at 1:43 -04:00Jul

    Great review, Nate!

  4. July 26, 2010 at 1:43 -04:00Jul

    Nice review, Nate!

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