CD Interviews: Ernie Haase (Ernie Haase + Signature Sound) on Oh, What a Savior


In the CD interviews column, instead of sharing a reviewer’s thoughts about a project, we interview the artist to get the artist’s own thoughts. Our family has taken the structure and turned it into a 8-1 format: eight questions from each member of our family for one singer. We recently asked Ernie Haase some questions about Ernie Haase + Signature Sound’s recent CD and DVD project, Oh, What a Savior.

David: Oh What A Savior is a live album. What prompted you to do another live recording?

Ernie Haase: Well, EHSS has always taken to the philosophy that all that REALLY matters is the 2-3 hours you spend with your fans in concert.  Everything we do is with that in mind.  So, it was natural to finally release a live recording…to capture the true spirit of what EHSS is all about.

Kris: How long does a typical live recording take versus a regular concert?

Ernie: It actually takes twice as long.  There are so many factors to consider.  The controlled room of a studio allows us to fix things much easier.  A live show is much harder to control.  But, having said that, the live element cannot be duplicated at all in a studio and that makes it worth the extra time.

Ben: Was the live recording venue specifically selected, or was it a part of your regular touring schedule? What do you look for in a venue for a live recording?

Ernie: I picked it on purpose.  We have played this venue (The Carson Center in Paducah, KY) before and we recorded the Get Away Jordan DVD there, too.  So we knew the venue and it helped make the decision easier.  It has a great room, great memories and is relatively close to Nashville, TN were the production crew is located. 

Taylor: What was the most memorable moment of the night?

Ernie: There were many! The energy from my alma mater (Castle High School) was amazing — the choir and cheerleaders came to support me.  They are big Sig Sound fans and wanted to be there.  Then there was the performance with J. Mark McVey on “Climb Every Mountain”.  Mark is a Broadway legend and has played many leading roles (Jean Valjean of Les Miserables is most recent).  That performance brought the house down!  The tender moment of “Sometimes I Wonder” took my breath away.  And then, of course, the title song “Oh, What A Savior.”  I never tire of singing that song.  But on that special night, the crowd took the song away from us and lifted their voices together with EHSS and the magic of the night was reflected back to the Father.  It was a worship experience that I will never forget.

Leesha: What is the hardest aspect of a live recording? Easiest?

Ernie: Well, the hardest part is being at ease.  So much effort and money has been invested at this point and your mind is consumed with having your A-game.  So finding the sweet spot in your mind and spirit and trusting your training and feeling the prayer support is a must.  But I will not lie to you – being at ease is the hardest thing to overcome. The easiest thing about a live recording for me is smiling.  I don’t ever have to remind myself, “Smile, the camera is on you.”  With all the pressure that a live CD and DVD bring, that pales in comparison to the absolute JOY I feel when I am on that stage making a major production for our fans.  I am in my happy place…my Disney World if you will.

Sam: You’ve brought back a lot of familiar songs such as, “When the Saints Go Marching In”, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, and “Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord”. Could you tell us the thought process behind your song selections?

Ernie: These kinds of songs are time honored.  People know and love them.  When we bring back those kinds of songs we want to breathe new life into them and preserve the great American songbook.  We always try to give the song our own arrangement…a Signature Sound.  Plus, not all Southern Gospel songs translate to the international crowds and to the American Performing Art Centers that we play.  These songs help us make friends everywhere really quickly.

Jayme: Is it easier to record “Oh What A Savior” in front of a live audience, or in front of a microphone in the studio?

Ernie: LIVE, by far.  Technically, it is easier in the studio because I can hear better and there is less strain on my voice.  But I never feel the heart and soul of it like I do in a live setting.  However, I think I did come close to it one time recently (in the studio) on our Cathedrals Family Reunion CD.  I felt as if George and Glen were putting a good word in for me as I recorded it.  I felt something extra special in the studio that day!

Caleb: What do you want the listener to come away with after hearing the new album?

Ernie: I want them to know that everything is going to be ok.  One of the songs we performed is a new song I wrote with Joel Lindsey and Wayne Haun called “Shh, Be Still.”  I know we live in troubling times.  But honestly, times have always had their share of challenges.  The believer who trusts in God can relax in the midst of it all.  It’s not that we never feel the pain and never have worry. What I do want people to know is that you are being held by the Sovereign God Almighty and in the end we will always be taken care of.  So: SHHH, BE STILL and relax.  God is in this place.

TGF: Are you up for a bonus “off-the-wall” question?

Click “read more” to see the bonus question!

TGF: Here it goes: EHSS has been known for making a fashion statement. Sam wants to know if you have any plans to bring back polyester leisure suits? :)

Ernie: No 🙂 that’s funny though.  We are getting older and styles change.  I really have no idea “what” we will do next. It’s really not something we sit and talk about.  It just happens.  But it is fun to see kids show up and try to match what we are wearing at the time.  I have had many mothers tell me that their kids want to go out at Halloween as “Ernie” and that just cracks me up!

TGF: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about EHSS new recording, Oh What a Savior?

Ernie: Only this: Thank you!  Thank you for all these years of support.  I’ve been doing this full time now for 26 years and I have no plans to stop.  But that is really not up to me is it?  So, if this is my last chance to say it, let me say THANK YOU to all you beautiful people out there for allowing my dream to come true.  Oh, What A Savior HE is!

Thank you, Ernie, for letting us interview you!  You can order the CD and DVD of Oh What a Savior at Ernie Haase + Signature Sound’s website:

For more Southern Gospel news and commentary—follow our RSS feed or sign up for our email updates!

6 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. I love these interviews, they are the best and it makes me more excited to hear the cd & dvd. I’m looking forward to getting the copy I ordered. Thank you to Daniel, The Garns Family and to Ernie.

    • You’re welcome! We are glad to hear of your enjoyment of these CD interviews. They have been fun to do and we are thankful to Daniel for giving us the opportunity to do this column in the journal and the artists for taking the time to tell us about their projects.

  2. Wonderful interview! Ernie is one of the folks that caused me to become an engaged fan rather than just somebody who listens to SG. An interesting thought…a lot of speculation has been made about what happens when Bill Gaither retires. Mark, Michael, and David have all been mentioned on this site as “taking over” sometime in the future. But what if StoweTown and Gaither Music merged? It’s no secret that Ernie and Bill are the best of friends. It’s also no secret that Wayne Haun is one of the most talented producers alive today. I’m not saying I think it will happen, or even that I wish it would…but it makes a lot of sense to me! 🙂 Thoughts?

  3. Wonderful interview with Ernie! My favorite Tenor! Oh what a Savior is one of my top favorite songs that EHSS does, I never get tired of hearing him sing it!

  4. Thanks for a great interview! I thoroughly enjoyed it and especially Ernie reminded us to rest in the Savior! Can’t wait to watch the dvd for the new song “Shh Be Still”

  5. Thanks for the great interview. I’m looking forward to getting this cd/dvd on Friday when I get to see EHSS. Can’t wait!