CD Review: Here We Are Again (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)

Here We Are Again (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)

Also check out last week’s interview with Ernie Haase!

The last time Ernie Haase & Signature Sound released an album of mostly new songs, they still had the vocal lineup that took them to the top. In the over three years since, lead singer Ryan Seaton and bass singer Tim Duncan have both left (replaced by, respectively, Devin McGlamery and Ian Owens), they’ve added a four-piece live band, and they’ve moved from Gaither Music Group to their own label.

Lately, when Southern Gospel fans talk about the group, discussions tend to center less around the music and more around whether the new lineup is as good as the Haase / Seaton / Anderson / Duncan lineup. That sort of thing is rarely good for a group, because there will always be people arguing both sides of the question. They needed this album to change the conversation; they needed it to be either exceptionally good, or exceptionally different.

Whether Here We Are Again is exceptionally good is a somewhat subjective question—but there is absolutely no doubt that it is exceptionally different.

Several weeks ago, video clips of “Any Other Man” surfaced. The song’s sound was compared to everything from modern country music to Third Day-esque Southern Rock. No, the whole album doesn’t sound like that, but several songs do trend in that direction. “Singing in the Midnight Hour” and “I’ve Been Here Before” both tend in that direction. “Everytime” doesn’t exactly fit in that box—but then, it doesn’t necessarily fit into any box. Much like “Happy Birthday Anniversary Too,” you’ll either love it or hate it.

Though most of the album’s songs are new, there are three covers. Ian Owens sang “I Believe” during his eight-year run with The Imperials; Signature Sound has been using the song to introduce him to audiences, and undoubtedly it’s here due to audience demand. “Swing Down Sweet Chariot” is another song often associated with the Imperials; Signature Sound’s puts a distinctively unique twist on the song.

Of the three covers, the one that may well receive the most attention is “Stand By Me.” Yes, this is the same “Stand By Me” with which original bass singer Tim Duncan sung his way into fans’ hearts. It’s the same “Stand By Me” which introduced Signature Sound choreography, and their multi-year multi-encore concert closer. Quite simply, it’s the sort of song that you simply don’t remake with the rookie unless you’re absolutely certain that he can tote the mail. Given the vast difference between Duncan’s and Owens’ voice types, Owens does far better on this song than anyone might expect. 

“Love Carried the Cross” is the lone ballad. Perhaps it’s not the next “We Shall See Jesus” or “Oh What a Savior”—few songs are—but it is one of the album’s strongest vocal performances and is sure to bring consistent standing ovations in live concerts.

Baritone singer Doug Anderson can always be counted on for an album highlight. He comes through with the album’s strongest performance, “Sometimes I Wonder.”

“Here We Are Again,” and “Thankful” sound like a cross between the Bill Gaither Trio (melodically) and a mellow Gaither Vocal Band (stylistically). They’re less the next “Reason Enough” (though there’s a resemblance) and more the next “Jesus, We Just Want to Thank You” or “We Are So Blessed.” 

Back in the days when the Happy Goodmans, Kingsmen, Gold City, and others carried a live band, studio musicians arranged the songs so that bands could essentially reproduce the album live. This changed as Southern Gospel concerts became increasingly soundtrack-dependent. Here We Are Again reverses that trend; with the notable exception of the orchestration on “Love Carried the Cross,” this is largely an album that Signature Sound’s talented live band could easily reproduce live. (Note: The review was written before the interview was complete. In the interview, Haase confirmed that the tracks were arranged with the band in mind.)

Ernie Haase co-wrote eight of the nine new songs. (The exception, “Singing in the Midnight Hour,” was written by Dianne Wilkinson.) This leaves the album reflecting his heart and focus more closely than any of the group’s previous albums. If Southern Gospel groups were local churches, the Dove Brothers would be the high-energy Independent Baptist church, the Booth Brothers would be the local Southern Baptist church where you think as much as you cry, and the Freemans would be the holy-rolling Pentecostal church around the corner. Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, meanwhile, would be the local seeker-sensitive mega-church. Their concerts have had this focus from their launch; this is the first album that has fully caught up lyrically to their live programs.

Granted, there is at least a distant possibility that this album’s stylistic innovations could be a total flop. But it’s as possible that this could be the future of Southern Gospel. That might sound surprising, so let’s pull in some historical perspective. Early Southern Gospel concerts featured a pianist and four vocalists. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, groups like the Happy Goodmans and Kingsmen revolutionized Southern Gospel and ushered in a new era by borrowing the live country band’s format of a pianist, bass guitarist, drummer, and steel guitar / utility musician. In the decades since, modern country bands now feature a prominent electric guitarist. Could Signature Sound be again borrowing from the live country band format, and pulling a page directly out of the Happy Goodmans / Kingsmen playbook? Will it work?

Only time will tell, but one thing is certain. Conversations about Ernie Haase & Signature Sound are, once again, going to be about the music.

Traditional or Progressive: Everything under the sun!

Radio Single Picks: “Sometimes I Wonder,” “Love Carried the Cross,” “Here We Are Again”

Album Rating: 4.5 stars

Credits: Group members: Ernie Haase, Devin McGlamery, Doug Anderson, Ian Owens. • Review copy provided. Sound clips available here. • Song list: Swing Low Sweet Chariot; Singing In the Midnight Hour; Here We Are Again; I Believe; I’ve Been Here Before; You Are Welcome Here; Love Carried the Cross; Stand By Me; Everytime; Sometimes I Wonder; Thankful; Any Other Man.

 


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96 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. This is actually the first time that I am not excited about a Signature Sound release, and I have been there since the beginning. I have listened to clips and it just doesn’t sound like Southern Gospel.

    • At the same time, Dream On was a step in this direction, and it’s not that much further than Dream On.

    • Why not? I was at the first show with the new material and the place was electric…what a show. They are expanding their demographic with this album and I think it is a job well done. Do not be so closed minded, these guys are the best thing going in Southern Gospel today. Allow them to let their creative juices to flow.

  2. I like the direction they are headed with this project. While I’ve not always been the biggest fan of everything EHSS does, I think this project could revitalize southern gospel music. I see it getting a lot of younger people on the SG bandwagon again.

    • Amen, you are so right. The guys are going to revitalize this style of music and hopefully bring in more and younger fans.

  3. I haven’t bought a Signature Sound album in YEARS! But I’m considering buying this one 🙂

    • Buy it, you will not regret it. I saw the live show with the new material….WOW!!!!! AWESOME!!!!

  4. Great review, Daniel. The artist-church comparisons had me laughing out loud. They were pretty accurate though.

    When should this album hit iTunes?

    • Glad it got you laughing! Even though I put it in a funny way, it reflected a fairly serious insight. I’d been pondering for quite some time why EHSS did things they way they did, said things the way they did, and sang the songs they sang. Thinking of that comparison helped put the pieces together for me. After that point, coming up with the comparisons necessary to set up the observation was pure fun. 🙂

      • I’m sure it was fun.

        When should the album hit iTunes, do you know?

      • Sorry – I meant to answer earlier. Probably on release date.

  5. The inclusion of Stand By Me was initially a head-scratcher for me, but it fits Ian well.

    • They also reworked the music for this song and put a twist on it. the new live version is great. Ian is a great bass singer and a better person. He is such a nice guy and he can go as low as any bass singer I have heard lately.

  6. “Everytime” does fit into a box Daniel – it’s called the Hairspray Soundtrack! It sounds very similar to “You Can’t Stop the Beat” – the show stopping movie closer that featured most of the cast.

    • Fair enough. 🙂

    • Is that a good thing…? 😛

    • Again the guys want to go outside the box to bring in more fans. (younger) They are adding to their demographic and that is a really good thing. the live show is electric with the new stuff!! WOW!!!

  7. I love the Hairspray Soundtrack – but I don’t love this too-close-for-my-taste song by EHSSQ…

  8. I heard ” Any Other Man ” and the first thing I thought of was ” Water Grave ” by The Imperials. With Ian on bass, it seems SS might end up doing some of the old Imperials style songs. It will be interesting to hear what they come up with.

  9. I love the guys. I have had my little girl at concerts about once a month for the last 3 years. My little girl who is 7 now and I have a little boy who is 2. They both know all of EHSS’s songs. I was at the first concert with the new material….and it was AWESOME!!! The new stuff is great. I think they are widening there demographic with this album. They are trying to bring in a younger audience and I think this project will help. The show was a great mix of new and old. I will be going to many more shows whenever we can.

  10. As a pastor of over 30 years, I’ve watched with some concern as our churches have grayed, and the median age seemed to increase. There is a positive side to have the maturity of the “seasoned saint” represented, but what happens if this trend is not reversed? The local church will grow older, lose its influence, and ultimately die.

    I’ve attended many Southern Gospel concerts, and the same holds true. I’m 56, and most times I seem to be one of the younger attendees with the majority of the audeience being in their late 60’s and above. We can either adapt to draw a younger audience while maintaining our historical relevance, or the genre can disappear in a few years. EHSS has chosen to adapt. Good for them.

    • Amen. My wife and I go to at least one concert a month. We are usually one of the few that are below 40 years of age. God’s word needs to reach out to younger people, what better way then with great music with a great message, sang by a bunch of great singers. Not only that they are so nice and down to earth, my kids love them as do we. Let the guys reach out to the younger generation the church needs it as does america.

  11. As a 34 year old Southern Gospel fan, who takes his 10 and 8 year old kids to Southern Gospel concerts whenever I can, I will not be getting the new EHSS album. Not because I don’t like them as people, but I just like Southern Gospel music. If they want to change their sound in order to share the same stage as Third Day, that’s just fine. Maybe Third Day fans will start buying their music. But those of us who enjoy Southern Gospel music as it is, don’t want to listed to music that “stretches the boundaries”. As far as the younger demographic disappearing, it has little to do with the sound of Southern Gospel music. It is mainly to do with the fact that most high school or college age kids couldn’t clearly articulate The Gospel themselves, let alone have a heart that longs for God and music that glorifies Him instead of the singer. Most “Christian” kids just want something cool that is “moral”, even if it is not gospel-centered. It is just a symptom of the state of the Church as a whole, not just Southern Gospel music. Sad but true.

    • I disagree with the notion of the younger demographic disappearing from southern gospel is due to ignorance of the gospel and not the sound. I too am 34 years old. I am a huge fan of EHSS, but I’m also a fan of Third Day. While I do like four part harmony, I also like other varying styles of music. Younger people, by in large, like music based on sound and the influence of their peers. Do you really think young people don’t listen to the McKameys because of the gospel message of their songs? Southern gospel does not have a monopoly on the gospel. If you listen to Third Day, MercyMe, Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns (to name a few) or go to their concerts, you will hear the gospel as much or better than a lot of southern gospel groups. I would rather young people listen to those singers or an “edgier” EHSS than not listening to any Christian music at all. There are probably as many self glorifying southern gospel singers as there are self glorifying contemporary Christian singers. I will agree not all contemporary Christian music is good or doctrinal, but niether is all southern gospel music. Before you dismiss the new EHSS cd, I would encourage you to listen to it or sound clips online.

    • You are making a great point to get the new album. This is great music that the younger generation could appreciate it given the chance. The music is god centered and not just good morals. That is what we need, gods message out there for our lost and dying world to see/hear. Music is a great way to do that. By the way if you stop listening to artist when they change, you are going to be lstening to static eventually. All artist change for what they feel is best for them. My advice, open your mind and see that not everything has to fit into the “southern gospel” cookie cutter mode.

      • I suppose I’ll leave this comment up, since it’s not really over-the-line, but (especially on a Southern Gospel site!) please don’t call fans who prefer more traditional sounds close-minded.

        Many fans who prefer traditional quartet sounds recognize that other styles that reach other people have value in the other people they reach, but at the same time don’t personally like those styles or personally consider them to be Southern Gospel.

  12. Ethan, you are spot on. Different generations prefer different music that speak to their hearts. This has been true from the beginning. To say that other genres of music don’t share the Gospel is either naive, or arrogant. Ladies and gentlemen, the Gospel message did not originate with the SG genre, and won’t stop should the genre fall by the wayside. I’ve seen enough of Casting Crowns to know thaty they are a group that honors Christ, not only through their music but in their efforts to disciple younger audiences via their web site and through a teaching ministry.

  13. I had the honor of talking to Ernie a few weeks ago. This was actually the first time I had ever talked to him ever. I have to say, after speaking with him personally about this, I can’t even say how much I respect him.

    One thing he said was and I don’t have my notes in front of me to directly quote him- but this is close enough… He said he hoped ( or maybe he said he thought…) this album would reach the broader audience without divorcing the current one…

    It’s also important to know that he didn’t CHOOSE this broader audience.. It’s not like he randomly grabbed some wilder tunes from out of the blue and went out searching for young people… The audience has come to him as the songs have come to him… By that I mean- The invitations have rolled into him and the audience GOD has given him stretches from the SG family to Nascar and all the way around the world… He didn’t ask for that, God has opened these doors. I respect, applaud and take my hat off to him for being a man of God to listen and follow the leading of the Lord…

    Not only did the Lord give him the audience, but the Lord has given the songs to sing …I believe with all my heart that God’s activity is all over this and I say Hallelujah, Go GET THEM ERNIE!!!

    This is exactly what gospe/christian music is all about! And to be really honest.. when I hung up the phone, tears filled my eyes and I thought-Wow- I feel like I just talked to Jesus! It seemed apparent to me that Ernie is trying his best to be like Jesus in the sense that Jesus met people where they are… and that’s what I get out of this album more than anything.. Ernie is meeting people (that God has given him) exactly where they are…

    Keep praying for Ernie and all of us/those that are out on the front lines doing their best to reach the world for Christ!

    • Rhonda, Ernie is a great guy and so are all of EHSS. I have been going to concerts about once a month for the last 2 or so years. Why so much? My 7 year old daughter loves them and so does my 2 year old son. They know all of the songs they sing word for word. I can not think of better music or people for my kids to look up to and want to see. We have gotten to know the guys I feel pretty well and they treat my kids as if they were their own. My kids have met and played with Doug’s, Devon’s, and Frank’s kids. They are such great guys. The musio they are putting out there is going to reach more people than ever before…I feel that god it guiding them into places that they can keep their TRUE fans and expand into new and younger demographics. I am a full supporter of EHSS!!! Go get em guys and keep doing what you do. You are the best!!!!

  14. I am blown away by some of the comments above. I am young for a southern gospel fan but have been involved in the music for 20 years. I don’t like this project or the direction of EHSS. I am scared that we are losing the traditions that set us apart from other types of music. I love rock music myself but I also love traditional Southern gospel.If EHSS want to be rock stars then go be a rock star. I will admit that I am bias because I have many friends in the industry and know more about people than I should. But let me say this. If we are comparing EH or any performer to Jesus then we are in trouble.

  15. I agree we should not elevate singers to the same level as Jesus, but I don’t think anyone who has commented here believes anyone is comparable to Jesus. Christians are to be like Christ and we should live our lives in a manner in which others see Jesus in our us. We are to make the invisible God visible through our lives. Christians are also supposed to follow God’s leading in their lives and do what we are called to do. If Ernie Haase believes he is taking EHSS in the direction God is calling them, that is what he is supposed to do. What we want and like is not necessarily God’s plan or will. Not everyone will like the same things, and there is nothing wrong with that. I don’t expect Greater Vision, Legacy Five, the Booth Brothers, Gold City, or Triumphant (to name a few) to change their style or songs they sing just because of what EHSS is doing.

    • But, those groups will change if they feel they need to in order to reach more people or continue in their ministry. Touching people and getting gods word out is what the guys are doing, no all will like it, but before you judge..go see a live show and spend time with the guys. They are a great group of guys.

  16. I have to say that upon my first listen, it was not as off the deep end as I was expecting. “Everytime” is rather ridiculous to me, but there are lots of people out there who will like it. “Any Other Man” certainly has quite an edge. But the rest of the album, while not the Dixie Echoes, is like a lot of progressive southern gospel out there today. It’s a well-done project. It will not be something I’ll listen to over and over again, because it’s not my style, but I enjoyed most of it.

    • Brian, thank you for listening to the album before you make a judgement. You are right not all songs are as edgey as people are saying and there are alot of geat ” traditional southern gospel songs” on there. I think back…how did people react to Get away Jordan? Did that not get some attention, and I think it got it’s rewards as well.

  17. I think people are definitely jumping the gun here before they actually get a chance to hear what is actually on this recording. There is nothing “rock n roll” about this recording. “Any Other Man” does have a bit of a “Water Grave” feel – but that’s as far as it goes. It isn’t remotely like Third Day – if anything it hearkens more to Steven Curtis Chapman – who isn’t rock n roll either. Here We Are Again is definitely still a SG CD – a progressive one – but still well within the confines of what we know and love as SG.

    • Chris, you nailed it. Rock no, progressive yes. Drawing to a younger audience yes, get the gospel out to as many people as possible yes. IS that not the goal! Keep doing what you do guys, you are the best!!

  18. This is not the best site to state that traditional SG “puts me to sleep and bores me to death”!

    • (Note the comment rules. Matt, you’re more than welcome to participate here – we welcome all comments which are within the rules!)

      • So, I can not speak my opinion if ti is against the traditional thoughts on southern gospel music. I listen to all kinds of music. From EHSS, The Booth Brothers, Jeff and Sheri, Third Day, Toby Mac, Newsboys, and the list goes on. I am proud that EHSS is breaking from the cookie cutter southern gospel form some what. Their album is not in the same class as Third Day, not even close and little progressive at times yes, but what great artist at some point has not pushed the limits a little to see what they can do. All, I am saying is that EHSS has a way of energizing the crowd even on slow “traditional southern gospel” songs. If memory serves…I thought some people were a little taken aback with Get Away Jordan and all the moves on stage. That is what drew my 7 and 2 year olds to the guys. i love there energy and their love of god from the stage. Keep it up guys, your TRUE fans will never leave you. The new material is AWESOME!!!!!

      • You can speak any opinions here which fall within the requirements that comments here be positive/constructive.

      • Thanks I am not trying to offend anyone. I am a music lover and I love it when music is changed for the better. I think music is a way to reach people with god’s message in which other forms would fall short. I feel that people need to look at our youth. We need our youth to get in touch with god and what better way than through a song. If EHSS can do this by breaking the mold and being a little progressive in their music, then we should back them up for our youths sake. I am very carefull as to what my 7 and 2 year play and watch on TV and listen to on the radio or CD’s. One thing I will say that EHSS is one of the best things my kids can listen to or watch on tv. I want them to see and hear gods message, and they love EHSS music and that is a easy way to get god’s love across with out even trying hard. Again, did not mean to offend anyone, jus ttrying to speak the truth.

      • By the way, out of respect for God’s name, please capitalize the first letter when you’re commenting here. Thanks!

  19. That is such a pet peeve of mine! I think, like it or not, this is the way that southern gospel is going toward. That traditional southern gospel sound has slowly been gravitating toward the progressive side for years now. Groups that used to be solely “traditional” have added a more progressive sound. Just youtube your favorite group back in the late 80’s or early 90’s, and then see how their sound has evolved today.

    • They have to change or get left behind in the music industry. In oder to keep up with what is in demand. In order to keep pushnig God’s word, they have to adapt just like we all do on our jobs. New idea’s, new policies, a new boss, all of these things and many more means you have ot adapt. The only thing you can do if you do not like the way the music is going is to just keep your old cd’s, tapes, and records ans keep listening to them. Like I said before artist are going to change, so they can keep going business wise and mission of God wise. I still listen to tapes of artist that I liked back in the day, but do like their music now. There is nothing wrong with the classics, just know that the music business is a changing landscape and so is what fans desire to hear. In order to survive you must change with the times in order to keep your ministry alive.

      • There is an element of truth to that. Southern Gospel needs to keep up with modern production techniques, including mixing and mastering. But Southern Gospel doesn’t have to become ’90s CCM – not that it can’t, but it doesn’t have to. There is no reason why it cannot retain some of its stylistic distinctives permanently.

      • I agree, if you go to a EHSS show you will see a great mix of both worlds. That is why my parents, my wifes grandparents and parents, and my children love EHSS. It appeals to so many and it is a great way to spead the love of God. I think that with this new project their audiences at their live shows are going to grow and change. I think they can draw younger people in and I am all for that, we need to reach out to our youth. I also feel that EHSS supporters from the past will be pleased as well as long as they give the new stuff a chance.

  20. I don’t think SG music will ever abandon all of nuances that make it unique. It probably will just align more closely with the progressive sound, but keep that SG flair we all associate with SG music. Look at a performance of EHSS at their most progressive, and then look at any CCM artist. If you compare the two performances, they are so stylistically different you couldn’t even begin to put them in the same genre.

    • Jordan, I totally agree. The roots of SG will not go away. they will always be there, no matter how progressive SG may go.

  21. A progressive trend in the music is of no great concern to me.
    What matters more is the messages the lyrics are sending. “Progressive” tendencies in that area could have far more damaging effects.

    • Yankeeegosipgirl, I could not agree more. Le tthe music go a little progressive as long as the message in the words do not change that is what is important. As long as God is the focal point of the song lyrics then all will be fine.

      • It’s a bit more nuanced than maintaining God at the center. It’s about how you choose to present the gospel—what parts you might emphasize at the expense of others, whether you present what Jesus said in its proper context…

  22. Having listened to this album, I just posted my review today, Here We Are Again is a good album, one of the best EH&SS have recorded. Are there some songs that are stylistically different? Yes, but nothing you would not hear on a Gold City album. There is nothing about this album that is different than any other SG album by any other SG artist.

    I’m a traditional SG fan, but I like this album alot. I espcecially like “I’ve Been Here Before” & “Any Other Man”.

    • Brain, thanks for listening to the whole album before giving your thoughts. “I’ve Been Here Before” is a great song and Devon does great job on it. He tears it up in concert on this song. He will be singing this song for years to come. “Any Other Man” what a song….WOW, I love it. In concert with this song I get chills. Kelly tears it up on the guitar in concert. He is an amazing talent at such a young age..AWESOME!! Best EHSS album yet!!!! Great job guys!!!

  23. So how would you guys say this compares to BF&A as far as traditional/progressive? More so? Less so? (I don’t necessarily mean album to album, but progressive song to progressive song.)

    • Much of the album covers the same spectrum. There are progressive moments and calmer moments. But “Everytime” and “Any Other Man” go farther than anything BF&A has done.

  24. Daniel, am I misunderstanding you? From what I understood in the review, you said “Love Carried the Cross” is the only ballad? What about “You Are Welcome Here,” “Here We Are Again,” “Thankful,” and some of the others?

    • In SG, we tend to use “ballad” for big, orchestrated songs. Yes, I know, our genre’s terminology differs from how other genres use the word today, and how folk music historically used the word. But it’s one of those areas where I am relatively pragmatic and roll with the flow. 🙂

      • Ah, OK! I use the word “ballad” pretty loosely, for most any slow song. 🙂

        “Thankful” was orchestrated pretty heavily too though.

      • Yes, but I think the intensity level remained fairly stable throughout, instead of following the classic SG ballad formula of building to a bigger second chorus, dramatic bridge, and huge final chorus(es).

      • Such as say, “What About Now,” by the Booth Brothers?

      • Sure, and 1-4 songs on virtually any SG project. 🙂

        I know that the definition I’m using isn’t unanimous – some would prefer to use the folk definition of using “ballad” for story-songs, and others would rather use it for any slow song. But I do think I’m following a rather large majority here.

      • I probably would have used the term “power ballad”. That pretty much describes the typical orchestrated, crescendo-ing, slow southern gospel song.

      • Yeah, “power ballad,” “big ballad.” I’m not particularly enthusiastic about the term, as I said above, with or without modifiers. Check out the Merriam-Webster definition: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ballad

        None of the definitions really fit the usage we give it in our genre. “Anthem” is at least closer. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anthem

      • I hear ya. The only thing I would have against “anthem” is that, because of the common usage of National Anthem, the word connotates something greater than just a slow, powerful gospel song. It gives the idea of a type of song that should define a group, era, or culture.

        I remember you using the word “anthem” describing “We Will Stand Our Ground,” and certainly it seemed to fit. But it would seem strange calling “Love Carried the Cross” an “anthem” with the connotation it brings, at least to me.

      • I agree that modifiers are needed.

        1. A “Folk Ballad” is just a slow simple song with acoustic guitar and maybe another string instrument or two for accompaniment.

        2. A “Power Ballad” would need some electric guitars to beef up the mix toward the end.

        3. A “Ginormous Orchestra Ballad” is one that starts softly with just piano and strings about at -40 Db and ends up with every instrument since the dawn of time in the mix.

        4. And then, finally, we get to the “Lari Goss Ballad,” which is all of the above, plus about 14 key changes.

      • Your category descriptions made me laugh out loud! 🙂

      • Calling a song an “anthem” implies something about the lyric as well as the arrangement. An anthem typically mixes a memorable phrase with a bold musical statement.

        Anthems aren’t necessarily slow…especially if it’s a rock anthem, but of course, that’s another topic.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxTzuBZQ0G4

      • Yeah, I think those ballad descriptions are going to be the next Musicscribe blog post. LOL

      • Interesting! I was already planning to do a post on terminology. I’ll try not to steal your thunder; how about you post ASAP, and I’ll hold off for a few days or more, maybe even a week or two? 🙂

      • It’s done:
        http://www.musicscribe.com/?p=6820

        Of course, mine is tongue-in-cheek. You can take the serious route…or not. LOL

      • OK, great! Yes, I’ll take the serious route, but even so, I’ll hold off for a bit.

  25. OK, I just wanted to clear that up. 🙂

    • No problem! I would prefer to use “anthem,” a term from the Steve Green era of Inspirational music, as more accurate and precise, but I’ve set aside my personal preferences here in favor of the most general usage.

  26. I heard most of “I’ve Been Here Before” today for the first time. I liked it. It could possibly turn into one of my favorites for theirs. I say that because although I have picked up their projects, I haven’t listened much the past few years. Anyhow. to me “I’ve Been There Before” was reminiscent of the Gaither Vocal Band’s “Mountains of Mercy”. http://www.amazon.com/Mountains-Of-Mercy/dp/B001I52EQY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327171187&sr=8-1

    • Quartet-Man, I have all of EHSS albums, and this one is my favorite. I really like the others, but this one is in a class of it’s own. The guys are doing great things. People are saying it is too progressive, I do not think so. Besides, I am will to bet (if I was a betting man) that those people who say it is too progressive have GVB albums…you can not tell me they do not push the envolope. Anyway, thanks for listening before, giving your thoughts.

      • Logical fallacy: Owning a GVB album doesn’t necessarily mean liking all songs on said album. 🙂

      • True, be it GVB, Cathedrals, Gold City or the Oaks, I don’t always like every song on an album. In fact, the fact that the GVB does such various styles is likely a guarantee I won’t. 😉 With that said, one GVB album that I like every song on (although there are some lesser than others) is New Point of View. That is a great album. I listened to the whole thing again recently and really enjoyed myself. There is one I used to like less or not much at all (at least in part), but it grew on me and the dynamics and contrasts of the music complemented the lyrics well.

  27. Reading the SGN Scoops feature article on EHSS and their new album, Ernie calls “Any Other Man” “a southern rock kind of song.”

  28. I have been real-world busy and blog-dumb of late in equal measure, but EHSS demands a response, so here we have it…..

    Having read all there is to read, and listened to all there is to hear [not having any albums this side of the planet] may I kick back on the sofa and comment:

    80’s Inspirations comparisons seem relevant enough – to a degree – but the Gaither Trio / GVB comparisons are more subtle in the common ground between. WGG while running a SGM juggernaut in “HomeComing” has resolutely positioned GVB outside mainstream SGM, even being considered as “progressive” in material selection, and bytimes Album Title Choice. Yet in reality there has never been a fixed gulf between GVB and SGM, either stylistically or musically.

    It seems Ernie may be taking a leaf from Bill’s playbook?

    Curiously the “progressive” even “southern rock” [whatever that is] hype surrounds not the Project, but one song. Just as “Get Away Jordan” defined an era in EHSS discography, even though much of the material was SGM mainstream, so here is another marker laid down in “Any Other Man” while much of the album is also much less progressive than the hype suggests. Curiously enough, perhaps tellingly, the title is “Here We Are Again” and NOT “Any Other Man”!

    That may be suggestive? “Here We [EHSS] Are Again” – rattling the windows, and the traditionalists, but not as far away from the mainstream as some imagine?

    When all the smoke [!] and thunder have been overtaken by something worse/different/more progressive [take your pick :-)] it will be listed as the “Here We Are Again” period, not the “Any Other Man” project. Meanwhile if the studio album is produced for ease of replication on the live stage, then the follow up DVD will be even more significant. Almost SGM reverse psychology? Rather than a “live album” a studio album reproduced live? That makes tracks very yesterday – which is perhaps the kind of “progressive” Ernie is aming for, not so much stylistically but musically?

    The live band [the Converse sneakers are a nod to the demographic being drawn in, never mind Ernie’s knees] dressed all in the quartet’s suits is another 80’s twist, and is high visual impact.

    Perhaps the DVD to come will be a bigger marker than the album? Much as “Get Away Jordan” also was. There is a lot going on here, but possibly a lot of the “progressive” is actually in places other than the music?

    If Ernie succeeds, within the bigger global market, of widening the demographic of SGM while alienating as few of the traditionalists as possible he will have achieved a near impossibility.

    As Daniel commented, it my be a flop, or, it may be the future of Southern Gospel. If the Lord is glorified that will be the ultimate approval. Time, and eternity, will tell.

    • This project isn’t a flop project. It’s full of very good songs. I doubt this is the beginning of the end.

      Regarding this comment: “If Ernie succeeds, within the bigger global market, of widening the demographic of SGM while alienating as few of the traditionalists as possible he will have achieved a near impossibility.”

      It seems so far he’s done just that.

    • David Mac – great to see you again!

  29. I was privileged to see EHSS in their “Here We Are Again” concert, and it was a blessing from God at the highest level! The audience started lining up more than an hour before the doors opened (I arrived at 6:30 PM for the 7:30 PM concert and there were already 200 people standing in line!). I mention this because the audience’s age was significantly “older” (like me), yet EHSS made musical and Spiritual connections with the audience in a manner that can best be described as “church.” The audience embraced the music – all of it (including “Any Other Man”) – as if it was their own. God was greatly glorified through EHSS music and concert, and it felt very much like an Old Convention Meeting. It doesn’t get much better than this! Southern Gospel Music is blessed to have EHSS as ambassadors, and should embrace and promote them with full fidelity.

    • David, you are so on the mark. My family and I was just at a concert in WV and what a great spirit was there. I was outside in the lobby near the product table and I saw/heard ushers who were saying things like..”I never heard these guys before, but man are they good and I want that new CD”, “Now this is what gospel music should be about, reaching everybody at any age”, and my favorite “If you can not get the spirit of GOD in there, then there is something wrong with you.” These comments were not from people who paid to see them, but the auditorium even staff that was there working for a living. I saw people from the age of 30 to 70 crying and praising GOD, it was a church service not a concert. That is why I love these guys and their music, they are so down to earth and caring individuals. The band, the singers, the guys behind the scenes, take time to talk and interact with my 2 year old and my 7 year old, that touches me more than they know. I am a HUGE fan of EHSS!!! I consider them to be FRIENDS. They have treated me and my family so well over the last few years, that they are not just a group we go hear sing. They are friends that we go see, that just happen to sing. They are a great influence to a world in need of some of God’s love. I can not think of better people for my littel boy and girl to go see and hear sing. I want to say thank you for all you guys do for SG and for all the love you have showed me and my family. My family and I truly LOVE you guys and we will support you fully. Keep doing what you do guys!!! You are the best!!

  30. I bought the new EHSSQ cd and am listening to it right now. All I can say is WOW!! And I’m not sure if that’s a good wow or a bad wow. The singing and music is solid. Definitely not true southern gospel convention style music. Ian is a smooth bass. His lower range seems very limited. My favorites are swing down sweet chariot, and stand by me (but definitely prefer the original) and I’ve been here before. Its worth a listen. I’d say I would recommend it. Just don’t get your hopes up if you expect the same style as any of their previous recordings

    • Ian’s lower range is far greater than that of the average human being, though notably less than Tim Duncan’s (at least when it comes to power and confidence, even if he can get to many of the same notes). So it all depends on your point of comparison!

  31. That is true. He definitely has less power than Tim Duncan. But a beautiful sounding bass. What do you think his lowest note is?

    • Honestly, I’m not entirely sure I care! I’ve hit a point where I care far more about a bass singer’s melodic and resonant tone in the range he does have than how far that range goes. That’s why, for example, I will consistently name Pat Barker as one of the 3-5 best bass singers in our genre, even though he’s certainly not the lowest.

      • 3-5? I’d say 1-2 best! (Tim Riley being the other)

      • Oh, let’s just say that I was being conservative there. 🙂

  32. Pat is good. I certainl hope Tim Riley is in that list

  33. Is Ian in you top 5

  34. By the way Daniel, you were absolutely correct! People will either love or hate Everytime. [edit]

  35. I have been around this type of music since I was a baby. I am pushing 40 and over my life time the bass singers that stick out the most to me are as follows: George Y. enough said, he was the man and JD, low as any bass singer ever, that is my 2 all time fav’s. Now for the here and now. Here is how I look at EHSS 2 bass singers. Tim a great bass singer, awsome in everyway. Ian a great singer who can sing bass with the best, but a better range high to low than most I have seen. Both were great in thier own way. EHSS wnet from one great bass to another. They may be great in different ways, but great none the less. Ian, is a great guy and a great entertainer on stage. Ian is doing a great job and I do not think EHSS could have found a better guy to this job.

  36. Recently got the new CD Here We are again and I have to say I have never been so disappointed. Have all their other cd’s and love their music and have been to their concerts and enjoyed them very much. But this CD is something else. I know I won’t be gooing to any concert to listen to music off this cd.

    • I have the new CD, and I have seen numerous concerts with the new material. AllI have to say is WOW!! I saw young people tearing up when “Sometimes I Wonder”, “You are Welcome Here”, and “Love Carried the Cross” was being performed. Then I saw the “older generation” up on their feet praising God and bouncing around and having a great time to “Everytime”, “Any Other Man”, and “Singing in the Midnight Hour”. Lastly, all genrations were singing with their voices as one praising God to “Here we are Again” and “We are Thankful”. What else can anyone ask for from a Christian concert. Then you top that off with the fun the guys have on stage and the laughter they bring to thier patrons, you get a lot of “bang for your buck”. I have been to many concerts from Southern Goapel, to Pop Christian music, and county. Never I have I seen something like this, and this happens more often than not at thier shows. What else could you ask for?

      Hopefully this post stays and does not go away.

  37. Just for those who do not know…..
    EHSS is up for two Dove awards for their NEW material, plus Wayne is up for producer of the year.

    Not to mention that Doug is up for three Dove awards for his solo album….

    Hey guys, you must be doing something right. KEEP IT UP!!!!

    Way to go!! CONGRAT’s on the nominations and I hope to see you perfoming on the show this year!!!!

    My family and I are very proud of you and we are ver excited for you!

    Love you all!!!