Video: Signature Sound prepares for Cathedrals Taping

Signature Sound is preparing for their Cathedrals tribute video taping in July by trying out the songs on audiences across the country. Here’s a video of them singing “Step Into the Water.”

Update: A friend sent me a link to another oneโ€”Wayne Haun joining them to sing “Champion of Love.” Incredible.

Seriouslyโ€”who knew Wayne had it in him?

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78 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. You can tell it’s right at the top of Wayne’s range. Should’ve been lowered a whole step, IMHO. However, he doesn’t sing every song – so maybe he’s cool with it.

  2. Wayne is a very good singer. He filled in with the Perrys just before they hired Nick Trammell. Wayne has proven that whatever he does musically he does well.

  3. I thought he filled in prior to hiring Joseph?

  4. Very powerful, I think the Cathedrals tribute project will be great.

  5. (Clap, clap, clap)

  6. Chris, you are correct.

  7. Wow! They sound great. Can’t wait for this project.

  8. It isn’t necessary always, to reinvent a classic. Sometimes the rendition of a song becomes so embedded as ‘the’ song, it is the only one that plays in your head, no matter who is singing. Scott took this song over into L5 and left it as Gerald sang it with the Cats, before Scott’s time with them. EHSS have done a great job on some Cat’s classics here to fore, such as “Trying to get a Glimpse” and “Climbing Higher” where they got very close to what I would consider as a ‘Cathedral Classic’ sound. I don’t know if they need to stray far from this mark.

    I think the over dubbing of George is gimmicky [IMHO], and out of synche as well. I don’t mind Wayne singing, it is traditionally a 5 piece quartet song, but the big challenge would be to do it with the original track and see how a younger generation measures up, 20 years on. Scott Fowler has been known to do it solo, far away from the US!! and it still sounded better than this.

    Maybe the bar is too high on this one. Respect to Ernie & the boys for tackling it, but the applause might be for the nostalgia, not the note.

    Boys, give this one a rethink before the taping, and we are all EHSS fans over here in Africa! [My daughter says, ‘Come back Ryan’, but she’s just a girl, what would she know? :-)]

    George and Glen still walk tall in the memories of SGM followers, maybe they will never be bettered. “Heroes of our Faith”. Some day we will ALL sing these hymns in perfect pitch. Lord, I’d like to be a bass in glory and sing beside George, just once! “What a day that will be”.

    God bless Ernie and all the boys down here, to the glory of the Lord Jesus.

    • I really don’t mind the rendition . . . and I’m one of the biggest Cathedrals fans out there. There have been enough groups singing it the exact same wayโ€”Greater Vision, the Cathedrals, Legacy Five etc.โ€”for long enough that I’m inclined to give EHSS credit for trying (and pulling off something that is at least decent.)

      • Maybe you are right Daniel, but should not Wayne wear a tie and have a hanky?

        And should not Declin get a wee hair cut? [minor edit]

      • Daniel, it’s your blog, up to you to moderate the traffic bro…

        Seriously though, I think Ernie treds a fine line between pulling in a new, world-wide and younger audience to mainstream SGM, for which he deserves big credit,BUT there is a danger of alienating a few loyal SGM fans who have supported this genre for a life-time, and crossed over from ‘Inspirational’ too.

        The demise of radio audiences, on another post, maybe points to a dfirt away from genuine hymn based evangelical music. It would be a pity to accelerate that by accident or default.

        Be interesting to hear the views of others as to the effect a group / quartet’s ‘image’ has on their music?

        I do know some life-time fans who only buy CD’s now, because they feel the ‘appearance’ is slipping, so they’d rather ‘listen’ then ‘look’.

        There may be a slight cross-cultural dichotomy here, our perspective is non-american, but definitely not anti!

      • Ernie is fully aware that not everyone is going to like the look or the music.

        But seriously, I think their look has been swinging back towards normal for SG, with normal ties more often etc.

        And, on the other side, you see people like Glenn Dustin spiking their hair. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Along with Gus Gaches… ๐Ÿ™‚ Scott even lets his hair go a little crazy sometimes lol… That is not a big deal IMO… As for the Champion Of Love reinvention… I am not sure if I like it YET… I will have to wait to see it live… I have always been taught not to fix what isn’t broken… ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Not to be contradicting I would say that I commend EHSS for not just using the original track. To many groups do this… It seems that EHSS has really put some thought and effort into this project… I really commend them for that one! I still don’t know if I like it however lol… Wayne does a solid enough job, but like Chris said they probably should have lowered a half, or whole step…

    • I noticed somewhere (Ernie’s twitter or facebook?) that Wayne was sick the day of that video. So perhaps it’ll be even a tad better at the taping.

      • Just saw that too. Head cold.

  10. If everyone does every song the same way over and over and over again, doesn’t that make the song a little stale after awhile? While, sure, it may remind you of the original, but I think having two versions of a song with the same soundtrack actually diminishes the value of each version.

    Obviously, this song might be a little on the high side of Wayne’s range, but lowering the whole song would lower the impact of the ending when all 5 guys are singing.

    As for the wardrobe, it seems like no matter what EHSS does with it, there will always be complaints and criticisms. Sure they maybe don’t look like every other SG group out there, but that is what makes them unique.

    I will leave with one final thought concerning the “fine line” that David Mac feels Ernie is walking. While I understand your point of view, I also disagree with it. If you don’t try to attract a new, younger audience, sooner or later there will be no audience at all.

    Look at some of the recognition EHSS has gotten, including Grammy nominations. I know quite a few thought there appearance at the Grammys was not the right thing to do, because they are associating themselves with that secular lifestyle. Instead, look at how they are planting a seed into the hearts of those there, that might not have heard before.

    I think we get so comfortable in our little SG bubble that we forget there are others who need the Gospel as well.

    Sorry for my rant, Daniel.

    • No, you’re OK. So long as discussion doesn’t get too critical or even hostile (towards each other or towards artists) I’m totally cool with letting people air different viewpoints here.

    • Josh,thanks for the rejoinder bro!

      Don’t get me wrong, what I meant by ‘a fine line’ was the balancing act of keeping the traditional SGM following happy and also attracting a new wider audience. Our family are all big SGM fans, and Ernie and Doug are my daughter’s ‘pin-ups’ – and we live in Africa!! Meeting EHSS in the flesh was a big highlight of 2009, hence my earlier comment about ‘world-wide audience’.

      I think Ernie deserves full credit for his courage in moving SG quartet music into a new dimension. My only genuine reservation is that he could split the traditional ‘vote’ and loose life-time loyal SGM supporters, the core ‘Cathedral’ fan, possibly, who is a little put off by the visual gimmicks.

      There has been more than a little ‘negativity’ on the choreography issue, which I do feel has been toned down since Wayne came on board as a active group member.

      The message should always transcend the image, or else the Christ exalting aspect that is in much of southern gospel music will be diminished, and EHSS and others overbalance into CCM ‘edginess’ – which could drop the baton handed down from the likes of George and Glen.

      • David – once you have the opportunity to hear them a few times, I think you’ll be inclined to agree that the message does transcend the image in their delivery. They do some choreography, but much less than a few years ago, and the messages of their songs are front and center.

      • Daniel, as I mentioned earlier, I am inputting from a global perspective, not a southern-state US one.

        It might be a day or two before even Ernie gets back to Africa, we have to content ourselves with ONE live concert every 2 or 3 years, and wear out our DVD’s and CD’s!!

        I do agree the choreography has toned down, and I would also admit that it was probably the very introduction of it, that made EHSS stand out from other SGM quartets, which is maybe why it got criticised!

        I guess we often wonder who will replace Bill Gaither as the link-man for traditional SGM? Ernie might not be such a long shot, I would not like to see him and the group drift too far from centre stage, in both senses of the word!

        PS enjoy the blog greatly, and maybe the opportunity to ‘sound off’ just a little too.

        God bless!

      • I’m thrilled you enjoy the blog. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate my stateside readers (especially since they’re probably 97% of my total readership!), but I’m particularly thrilled to have a couple of readers from other countries.

      • I think it’s interesting to watch how the group has begun to come full circle of late with regard to their stage presence. Less dancing, more flat-footed quartet singin’. I like that, personally. I’ve always really liked their early stuff—very classy. Not that their later stuff was un-classy, I just thought some of the dance moves and what-not got a bit out of hand at times. Myself, I became a fan for the sound. Say what people will, these guys have one of the best blends in the biz, and they are genuinely gifted. That’s what drew me to them in the first place, and that’s what’s keeping me a fan now. The rest is fun, but I could take it or leave it. To be honest, I’ve never thought the guys’ hearts were in all the choreography and stuff. Their hearts were with the music, and that’s exactly where they should be!

        Oh yeah, and has anyone noticed that their hair isn’t sticking up as much anymore? Granted, Doug’s never did all that much, but Ernie doesn’t look as “bed-headed” to me now as he did a few years ago. It’s almost like Devin came in with the uber-spiky hair just when the group was beginning to retire it…like, “Okay, guys, here I am! I’ve got the hair! Oh…I guess I’m out-of-date.”


      • The red shirt ain’t right either, but he got the skinny tie right!

        Is Timmy in cow boy boots yet? ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Oh, brother David, since y’all actually got to meet the guys, could you tell me how easy/difficult it was to do that? Were they available only at intermission or before and after as well? And was there a ridiculously long line? (I’ve read harrowing stories of desperate fans getting smushed in the crowd trying to meet them, LOL.) See, my fam is catching them next week, so it would be nice to know what to expect there.

      • Hey, why didn’t my last comment appear in the side-bar? Let’s see if this one does…

      • Whoop, okay, it showed up now, guess there was just a small delay…

      • They make themselves available. Don’t try at intermission – they’re swamped. They’re sometimes setting things up before. But stay after – long enough – and they make time to talk to everyone who’s willing to wait long enough.

      • Thanks, Daniel! I hear they’re incredibly friendly, down-to-earth fellows. And really when you think about it, it must become tedious night after night, smiling and being polite to numerous people you don’t know from Adam. But they really care about their fans, and it shows.

        By the way, I assume it would still be hopeless at intermission even if they had a couple supporting artists with them as well? I guess I thought the audience might spread out a little more among product tables…that’s probably a forlorn hope.

      • Might depend on the region. In Ohio, where Ernie has lived for 20 years, it doesn’t matter a bit who’s with them. They’ll still be swamped.

        Actually, at NQC, even with EVERYONE else there, they’re still swamped. But they’re incredibly hardworking at the table, and gracious to boot.

      • Hmmmm…I’m going to see them in Indiana. Oh boy…

      • Oh yeah, one more question Daniel…this may sound kind of silly, but do they provide lighters at the concerts? If so, are they free or…not free? I know there’s a tradition of audience “participation” for songs like “Until We Fly Away,” and the little one would be thrilled to have one of those…gotta admit I think it’s kinda cool myself. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • I think they’re probably free at big events, but I seem to remember they were $1 at regular concerts. I never did buy one.

      • I don’t think they ever sell lighters, but they do sell lights.

  11. I for one am very excited about this new project. In a way, I’m glad EHSS is choosing to put their own spins on these songs instead of sticking religiously to the originals. I also think it was wise for Ernie to wait until they had established their own sound before tackling a tribute recording. Like he said in that interview you did Daniel, he didn’t want it to look like his group was just “mooching off of them [the Cats].”

    As for these vids…well let’s do them one at a time. First, “Step Into the Water.” I love this song (for some reason it reminds me of the GVB’s “He Came Down to My Level”), and I love the way George did it with the Cats. Timmy does a great job with it, but I sorta miss some of those little bass licks…seems like he left some of them out. Good sound, though, my favorite part was probably Doug and Ernie’s duet (ever notice how good they sound together?) It actually sounds like Ernie went *higher* on the tenor part than he does in the original! Also love the extra bit at the end (“Come on children, let’s step into the water, children…”) Dunno whose idea it was, but it’s a great twist.

    Now, “Champion of Love…” I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and come clean: I’ve never really gotten what the big deal was supposed to be about this song. To me, it just seems…well, cheesy. [minor edits to avoid the flying fruit…]

    For the record, I liked Wayne a lot in this song (just found out he had a cold too–very impressive). All the guys sang great, for that matter. So it’s nothing against them (or the Cats for that matter). I’m a fierce fan of both groups. It’s just the song I have a problem with.

    • “It actually sounds like Ernie went *higher* on the tenor part than he does in the original!?

      Actually, Kirk Talley sang tenor on the original. But I’m with you on Champion of Love!

      • Sorry, I was being unclear. I wasn’t referring to the original recording of the song. I meant Ernie went higher than he did when he sang it with the Cats. Compare:

        The duet goes higher in the EHSS clip than it does here.

  12. New SOGO Fan,
    I think it is interesting you feel that the song is cheesy. I love it, but when I was in Christian college, one of my roommates wanted to sing it for a music class and the professor told him he couldn’t because the only place you could sing that song was before or after a boxing match. He obviously felt the same way you do.

    • Well…yeah, that’s kind of what I meant. It seems like one could find a better analogy to communicate the redemption story…

  13. There is really nothing left to wonder. I keep hearing about the “possibility” of EHSS alienating fans and them running a “risk” of doing this or that. EHSS have been in existence for many years now. They sing to more people and sell more cds than everyone else on the road other than Gaither. EHSS Is tried and true. Like it or not I think they are going to be fine.

    • You’ll scare Ernie rigid with that comment! ๐Ÿ™‚ If there is, “nothing left to wonder” then EHSS is mainstream, yesterday’s quartet and well on the way to boring!!

      the fact that this thread is a discussion largely about one group of 5 guys in all of SGM, proves that what Ernie is doing is, mostly, right. His branching off from the Gaither Band-waggon was a calculated risk. Respect!

      He needs to take as many of George and Glen’s fans with him, and make them comfortable with his ‘new’ wider audience.

      That IS a hard call, “Homecoming” was a breakthrough in the presentation of traditional SGM, Ernie is moving forward another step. Just watch the mirrors, bro, make sure we all following the bus!

      May God bless all their personal, and family, sacrifices, for the praise of His glory!

  14. OK, what did I miss? Wayne Haun is a regular part of EH&SS? Does that mean they’re a quintet, or that they got a piano player?

    I’d also like to provide some moral support for those who never got what “Champion of Love” was all about. Too each his own. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • He’s not necessarily a full-fledged member of the group, but (Gaither-style) has been their pianist for several years.

      • Oh, OK. Seriously, I didn’t realize that. I guess I had heard that he played at NQC or something, but that was it.

    • Steady on guys! Take a wee look at the Lyric, written by Phil Cross, the poetic license does not spoil the truth of the song:

      “Ladies and Gentlemen
      May I have your attention
      I want to introduce to you
      In this corner
      Of the Good and the Right
      Stands a Champion robed in white
      [Look at Revelation Chp 1v10-16]
      His height exceeds the heavens
      His weight out weighs the world
      His reach reaches everywhere
      His age is evermore

      He is higher than the highest
      Greater than the great
      No one will ever take Hid crown away
      Heโ€™s more mighty than the mightiest
      He reigns from above
      Heโ€™s the all-time, undisputed, undefeated, champion of love

      He left His home town
      [Heaven – or Nazareth]
      To enter this arena
      [Israel – Jerusalem]
      To raise His hands in victory for me
      [‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes!’]
      An angry crowd crucified
      [at ‘Calvary’ Luke 23v33]
      This King Who wore their crown
      [‘of thorns’ John 19v5]
      And they gladly watched the Champion going down
      [to the grave, ‘with the wicked’ Isaiah 53v9]
      But I will never count Him out
      For Iโ€™m a witness of
      The day He rose to retain the title
      [‘He is risen’ Luke 23v6,
      ‘He was seen’ 1Cor 15v3-9]
      Champion of love”

      • I never said the song wasn’t true David. You’re right, the lyrics contain plenty of biblically-based truths. But…so do the lyrics for “In Christ Alone.” There are ways of presenting truth, and there are ways of presenting truth. I think we can agree that some songs do that better than others (even if we don’t agree on this particular song). Weak *presentation* of truth doesn’t make a song any less true…it just makes it a less-than-stellar song.

      • SoGo-Bro,I guess, “I Stand Amazed in the Presence”, doesn’t need interpreted, or interpolated!

        There is better stuff out there by far, I was just trying to point out that there was solid truth hidden in there…

        At least the truth of the resurrection is unmistakeable, and no other religion but Christianity can claim to sing, in truth, of a risen Lord!

        We both singin’ from the same Hymnal bro! Praise His Name!

      • Amen, my brother!

    • Thank you! (Internet high-five.) We are the few, the proud, the faithful, etc. I think we should form a club or something with both of the other people who agree with us! ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Whoops, sorry, that comment was for Amy…meant to put it as a reply to hers.

      • Oh, I guess it was, never mind. Sorry!

      • Brilliant! Changed sides on a mouse click!!

        ‘Many a slip / ‘tween the cup and the lip’.

        Happens to the best! Freudian[mouse]slip? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Got it! Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. whats the name of the first song?…is it two-step into the water??

    • Ernie may use that… ๐Ÿ˜†

      • “Cha-Cha-Champion of Love” then?

  16. If you go back and look at how the Cathedrals did this song originally, Gerald Wolfe sang lead and Danny Funderburk did not sing until the end. In true tribute fashion, EHSS has adopted this way of singing it as well. Ernie does not come in until the end.

  17. Yeah,in essence Glen sang the “tenor part” down an octave and Gerald’s lead part was the highest part until Danny came in. His coming in on the high notes at that point makes it more dramatic. However, after Glen passed away and the Cats were pushing on without him, Ernie sang the whole time and they did it as a quartet. This can still make it somewhat dramatic if the tenor hangs back on the power and volume until the end.

  18. Hey Daniel, just thought I’d ask…I haven’t seen a review of EHSS’s latest Influenced project yet. Care to give us your take on it?

    (I suppose if for some odd reason you didn’t like it, you’d have to keep your “if you can’t say something nice, etc.” principle…but it sounds good to me!)

    • I liked it – I thought I already reviewed it, though. (?)

      • As far as I know, you haven’t reviewed “Influenced II: Spirituals and Southern Classics,” though there was a mega-review for the first one a while back.

        Correct me if I’m wrong and I will figure out how to do an embarrassed emoticon…(not sure how to do that yet, somebody enlighten me?)

      • Looks like I haven’t yet. I will if I have the time. By the way, the embarrassed emoticon is : oops : (remove the spaces) ๐Ÿ˜ณ

      • Did I forget to do the reply thing correctly again? Aaaargh.

      • Still planning on doing that review?

      • Not sure. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Hey Daniel, if you don’t have the time to do it, I’ll do it and send it to you so people can oooh and aaah over my brilliant insights. I have an autographed copy just waiting for a happy owner to review it. How’s that for a threat!

      • Write a detailed review that’s well-written, well-thought through, and reasonably objective, and I’ll publish it.



      • All right! I’ll see what I can do… (rubs hands and cackles gleefully)

  19. Thank you! A vital life skill, to be sure…

    • What is?

      “cackling” or “rubbing hands”?

      You reviewing Macbeth or what bro?

      Or you talking about review ability maybe?

      Anyway sure looking forward to “Influenced II” review soon, get cracking SoGoBro!

      [Or is that crackling?]

      • No, no, that was an old comment referring to Daniel’s educating me on how to make an embarrassed emoticon. : oops : (remove spaces) ๐Ÿ˜ณ

      • ๐Ÿ˜ณ Got it then!

        Amazing the difficulties from trivialities in communication! LOL

  20. CHECK THIS OUT! “My God Delivers Again.” Little grainy, but oh, so good. And better than the original (IMO).

  21. So does anyone know why Ernie Haase and Scott Fowler both claim ties to George Younce and Glenn Payne but never mention each other? If you didn’t already know Cathedrals history, you would never know that both Scott and Ernie spent about a decade on the road together in the same group.

    • No, they do talk about each other from time to time – at NQC 04 or 05, my first to listen to on the radio, Ernie called Roger, Scott and the rest of L5 up on stage with him at the start of the EHSS set. I’ve also heard Ernie talk about Scott at other points.

      • Yeah, I heard Ernie talk about Scott on the Daniel Britt show three years back—how they met, their time in the group, etc.

        A lot of people have made some silly claims to the effect that there was “a reason” why Roger and Scott didn’t have Ernie as the tenor of their group after the Cats retired. Ernie’s solo dates were just “an excuse” for the “real reason” which is that they “didn’t want him.” Now that sort of thing just drives me out of my tree. We have no evidence whatsoever of this, and Scott & Ernie appear to be on friendly terms to this day. They went to *college* together for crying out loud!

      • Thanks. Glad to know that. Just hadn’t heard any of it myself so was curious.

  22. This project is going to be SOOOOOOOO good!