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, Oregonβ€”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.

I Believe

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 historyβ€”something that one can often notice Ernie Haase doingβ€”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.

Other videos from the night: I Pledge My Allegiance, I Thirst, Jesus is Holding My Hand (Doug Anderson solo), three songs with a band intro, andΒ Can’t Help Falling in Love.

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83 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Well that just made my day!

  2. Oh…I can’t see them. I’m not on facebook. I hope he puts them on Youtube.

    • Family members with facebook accounts should be able to play them for you.

  3. Looks like it was a great debut for Ian with EHSS!! I’ll be watching for more videos later!

    • Awwwww…I was hoping you might have video. πŸ™

      Looking forward to when somebody puts one up on Youtube!!

      • Umm, Georgia and Oregon are quite a ways apart.

      • I didn’t know where she lives, and you made some comment to the effect that one of SG’s premiere videographers might have something up later. Just guessing. Sorry. πŸ™‚

      • Ah. Well, there’s no way she’d get as much footage as she has in OR!

      • Good point. πŸ˜›

  4. I Believe and Step Into The Water with Ian singing are on You Tube:

    • Wow! Good!

      (Your comment was a bit too short.)

  5. Fab-u-lous…! Ian’s got that Signature Sound voice/style/charisma…!

    What a great beginning ~ memory making night!

  6. By the way, Ian’s blue pin-stripe looks exactly like the ones the other guys wore for the Tribute. Coincidence? Did Ernie have one waiting for him, perchance?

    • He did have two months to get one made.

      • Ah, okay! Well, on this video he gets my vote for best outfit—edging out Ernie in his shiny suit and Doug/Devin in their skinny pants. πŸ˜‰

  7. I think Ian’s awkwardness on the “moves” is charming. Methinks said moves may be a non-essential part of the song anyway—Ian is like, “Oh, okay…” My thoughts exactly. πŸ˜‰ But a funny moment nonetheless.

    • While I would use a different word than charming (due to the word’s history/roots), I totally agree with your point – I really liked the way he tried, and then the little “aw, shucks!” hand gesture after not succeeding.

  8. I like what Ian brings to the EHSS table for sure! He has a great voice and should have a great career with them.

    On another note I like Ernie’s suit… What is funny is that Scott Fowler was wearing the same suit back on New Years; Michael Booth and Gerald Wolfe were making fun of him telling him he must have borrowed it from Ernie…:)

    • Ernie and his suits…little silly if you ask me, but at least he’s having fun.

  9. I was excited when Ian joined…
    these videos show why!

  10. EH&SS will be at the Cross Roads Christian Church in Grand Prairie, Texas next Sunday night, the 30th at 6:30 pm. Several friends and my wife and I will be attending this concert, and depending upon the seats that we get, I’ll post something from that concert on the 31st. I do like what I hear.

    • I have tickets as well…

      • I’m jealous of the both of you.

      • Awwwww… don’t worry Josh, you’ll see them again soon!

  11. I love the new video!

    However, I am alarmed that Ernie has the confetti thing with him. Let’s pray that this doesn’t mean they’re going to drag “Happy Birthday” out of retirement. DON’T DO IT ERNIE! DON’T DO IT!

    • Ditto the sombreros….

      Ernie has a fresh new look EHSS. The “Signature Sound” is still there, BUT there is a maturity in the tone and a seriousness in the presentation that elevates the group – already – above what they have achieved erstwhile.

      Now is a good time to not only Get Away Jordan, but also get away sombreros; mexicos, confetti, dance steps, swinging gates, good hearts and all the EHSS-lite stuff.

      Now is a good time to revisit, Then Came the Morning, Calvery Answers for Me, The Other Side of the Cross etc.

      This is it.

      • Are you saying that it’s NOT a good time to do the light stuff, or that it’s a good time to do both light and heavier stuff?

        I personally could do without the kazoo, sombrerors, confetti, etc., but “Calvary Answers For Me,” yeah baby!

      • Er, sombreros. LOL. πŸ˜›

      • “Get Away” was the key phrase.

        As in old hat, history, forgeddit.

      • Ah, okay. Well actually I’d keep the swinging gates and the good hearts. But the rest,

        get away
        get away
        get away


      • one tenor, one leador, one baritoner, one basor & pianor.

        NO sombreror hombrerors tomorrors:-)

      • Actually though, in all seriousness, I will take the sombreros over “Champion of Love.”

        Honest to Betsy!

      • That is to say, I prefer sombreros to prizefighters. πŸ˜›

      • Wait until a bull is charging your way. Something tells me the sombrero won’t do you much good unless you are able to cover the bull’s eyes with it when you are running away. πŸ˜€

      • True! Maybe instead we need a boxer whose “weight outweighs the world” to light into him. What do you say? πŸ˜‰

      • That’s the best choice, but you hadn’t brought Him as a choice when I chose between the two. πŸ˜›

      • Ah, but you see, I don’t generally associate prizefighting boxers with Him. So I didn’t actually have Him in mind, even if other people might. πŸ˜‰

      • I’d like to hear the heavy-wieght prizefighter in the right hand corner sing the lead on COL, just once.

        Then I’ll decide if it goes with the EHSS-lite.

        Until then, it is still better than sombreros. πŸ™‚

      • I know there are some who don’t like the “lite stuff,” but its been there in some capacity since the very beginning, so I’m guessing it’s here to stay.

      • Really Josh? The VERY beginning? Well, “Old time Christian Way” was a fast sugar-stick, but it did have some substance to it…Come to think of it, they should bring that back, except they’d need a track for it because you can’t do without the banjos and fiddles. πŸ™‚

      • I was talkin’ more the steps on Stand By Me

      • Ah, well that was just the beginning… πŸ˜‰

    • The confetti gun was used at the end of Boundless Love.

  12. Ian is everything I had expected him to be and much more. I want to see “Old Rugged Cross” embedded on practically every SG blog out there by the end of next week. Absolutely stunning.

    • You’d better get crackin’ then. πŸ˜‰

      • It’s not me that has to get crackin’. πŸ˜›

      • NSF has already been on me about it… (in a round about way) πŸ™‚

  13. Well, I realized you can’t embed, but you can post it on the different blogs and recommend that they do. πŸ˜›

  14. A very classy gesture by Ernie at the beginning of the “I Believe” video to recognize Tim and his 8 years of service.

    And I loved the “Who are you?”

    • I’m glad they prepped that with Ian ahead of time, otherwise the poor guy might have been a bit abashed. πŸ˜€ He’s obviously receiving a very warm welcome from everyone.

  15. execellent choice, just a few pracitice runs. he sounds like armond on few songs. he’s smoooooooooth.

  16. By the way, very nice to hear Doug Anderson’s new single in tolerable quality, finally! I can actually hear the words now…and the music…and the voice.

  17. Ian certainly is doing a great job. I would most definitely hate to know that somebody had gotten my very first concert with a group because I sure made a lotta mistakes (Ellen got my sixth or seventh concert with the Melody Boys and I cringe to watch it to this day…but I still love you Ellen!), so Ian’s voice and potential definitely shine here.

    • Glad you still love me, Alan–cuz I still love watching those videos occasionally! If you were too perfect I’d cringe to be in your presence. But you’re pert near perfect enough in those videos in my opinion. I only wish that you were with a group and would come to the west coast occasionally. But I’d rather you follow what God has for you. Maybe you and Tim Duncan could join forces…and… I’ll quit while I’m ahead. Ha! God bless!

  18. You know. I’m sure soon there will be LOTS of SSQ items that includes Tim on sale for half price. Time for me to stock up. πŸ™‚ I wish Tim well.

    • I just ordered a Tribute T while they were still available.

  19. Re. the “Lite stuff” — If you take away all of the extras — sombreros for Mexico, dance steps, short ties, etc. etc. then Signature Sound will no longer be Signature Sound. I like their ballads and “heavier” type songs too, but if you eliminate everything that makes EHSS unique, they will just be another SG quartet. And there are plenty of them.

    • But you would still have the sound. Seems to me that if they couldn’t sing, they wouldn’t have gotten real far with nothing but short ties and dance moves… and last I checked, you won’t find Ernie Haase, Devin McGlamery, Doug Anderson, and Ian Owens singing together anywhere else.

      Vocally, they’re definitely a few cuts above “other SG quartets,” and that’s putting it mildly.

  20. John…I completely agree. People who go to see EHSS expect to see sombreros and confetti guns. Their drawbis the whole package. You take those away then they are just another boring quartet who just stands and sings. But this is EHSS. It’s the entire package. And obviously a successful package. I hope they keep it up!

    • So it doesn’t matter if they can or can’t sing after all…?

      • “they are just another boring quartet who just stands and sings.”….

        Like the Cathedral’s then?

      • That’s right. Just like the Cathedrals.

      • Wait, wait, the Cathedrals were cool too! Remember that incredible dance routine they did on “Master Builder?” How about that confetti gun after “I Just Started Living?”

        Oh sorry, I was remembering wrong. Sorry. I guess they were just a boring quartet who stood still and sang. Th-th-that’s all folks…

      • Actually, Glen Payne was known for taking off running from time to time . . . πŸ™‚

      • Bit different tho. πŸ˜‰

        By the way, has anyone else noticed that some of their moves on “Stand By Me” bear a lot of resemblance to fencing moves? Maybe that’s another sport they should take up. πŸ™‚

      • “Actually, Glen Payne was known for taking off running from time to time . . . :)”

        πŸ™‚ And George was known to “boogie”. πŸ˜€

      • Makes you wanna boogie, don’t it?

      • Maybe the Cat’s were boring too, ’cause they bin around for 50 years…

        Or, should that be the other way round?

  21. Wow, they got the right guy. I like his voice and think it goes well with their group. Huge thumbs up!

  22. Did you take down “We Shall See Jesus?” It’s still on Youtube.

  23. I was also at the Portland show. Ian did a very nice job. Also I asked Wayne about Doug’s solo cd. He said it would be released in May and that in March there would be a release of Signature Sound re-recording some of George Younce’s best known songs.

    • I think George is in a wee shack in some place called Stow, laying down bass tracks for his new album.

      Or did I get that wrong again Ern’?

  24. A review of Ian’s debut concert with EH&SS in Portland, Oregon, (written by my friend Gary Hagan) can be found at

    • Nice review Ellen. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for posting that link!

  25. i love all these new EHSS songs

  26. Hey folks, Doug Anderson has been nominated for GMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year. I can’t remember the last time a real singer won that award, so my hopes aren’t high, but it’s still nice.

    • NSF – the nominees aren’t even going to be announced for the Dove Award until February 16. Not sure where you got your info.

      • Hum, that’s odd. I must have misread something, because several people were tweeting that Doug was on the GMA’s voting ballot in the male vocalist category. Maybe that’s the first hoop you go through to even get nominated.

      • Doug announced it himself on his facebook site. He was asking for votes.

      • I think there might be several levels to it. I think your name appears in one “pool” first to be included among the nominees, and then if you make it into that “pool,” you go on to be in the running for the award.

        Best of luck to Doug, he’s a great singer who deserves all the recognition he can get.

      • Its probably the entire list of nominees now, then in Feb will be the final 5 or however many finalists.

  27. I will miss Tim but I think Ian is FABULOUS! Great job. EHSS is the best quartet ever and always will be no matter who comes and goes. The important thing is to keep singing those great, Spirit-filled songs about our wonderful Lord and a wonderful, real place called Heaven! Thanks so much to all the singers who have graced the stage of EHSS & the Cathedrals!