First Look: Ian Owens with Signature Sound
(Originally published at 8:37 AM; completely revised and updated at 7:55 PM.)
Ian Owens’ first date as the new bass singer for Ernie Haase and Signature Sound was last night in Portland, Oregon—at the same church, incidentally, which was the Cathedrals’ November 4, 1999 stop on one of the final dates of their Farewell Tour.
Ellen Gerig has posted a number of videos from the concert.
My Heart is a Chapel / Boundless Love
By all appearances, these were Owens’ first moments on stage as a member of Signature Sound.
Step Into the Water
On “Step Into the Water,” you can see baritone Doug Anderson prompting Owens when the time arrives for assorted choreography steps. Since the audience was aware it was Owens’ first night, they took it all in good humor, laughing at one point toward the end when Owens was particularly out of step but appreciating the effort.
Intriguingly, rather than introducing Owens to the audience with a Signature Sound bass solo or a Cathedrals classic from the current project, Haase featured Owens in his comfort zone, with a song (“I Believe”) from the Imperials repertoire. His familiarity and confidence with the song leaves little question that he sang it frequently during his six or seven years with the Imperials (Jason Morales iteration). The song got a rousing standing ovation.
An Old Convention Song
Solid performance, even if he missed a few words. It’s a fairly complex arrangement, and he did catch most of his cues.
The Old Rugged Cross
Absolutely the performance of the night. This is the song that shows Owens’ potential. In an interesting subtle twist to history—something that one can often notice Ernie Haase doing—this is the song, and approximately the arrangement, that Tim Duncan sang nightly for several years toward the start of his run with EHSS. While “One God” and some of Owens’ other solos show what he can do with a forward placement reminiscent of Armond Morales, whose shoes he filled for six or seven years, this song shows what he can do with a broader, more open tone, reminiscent of Pat Barker. If Owens goes in this direction, expect to see him named in short lists of Southern Gospel’s premiere bass singers soon.