New al­bum a rea­son to be happy

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - RELIGION - Tracey Evi­son, a mu­si­cian and ed­u­ca­tor on P.E.I., writes this col­umn for The Guardian ev­ery sec­ond Satur­day. She can be con­tacted by email at trevo­rand­tracey@pei.sym­pa­tico.ca.

Ev­ery now and then I have to re­turn to my roots, as it were, and keep in touch with the lat­est in southern gospel mu­sic.

One of my favourite groups in this genre is Ernie Haase and Sig­na­ture Sound, con­sist­ing of Ernie Haase (tenor), Devin McGlamery (lead), Dustin Doyle (Bari­tone), Paul Harkey (bass), Tyler Vestal (pi­ano), David Grif­fith (bass gui­tar) and Wayne Haun (mu­si­cal di­rec­tor).

Haase, who was a tenor for the leg­endary Cathe­drals, be­gan Sig­na­ture Sound in 2003. Since then, the quar­tet has trav­elled to five of the seven con­ti­nents and has be­come very well-known in southern gospel cir­cles. Nu­mer­ous albums (I counted at least 20) have proven the pop­u­lar­ity of this gospel quar­tet

With its lat­est release, “Happy Peo­ple”, Ernie Haase and Sig­na­ture Sound have cre­ated 11 tracks that will re­mind lis­ten­ers that “Happy peo­ple shine!” Ac­cord­ing to the al­bum’s liner mes­sage, “No mat­ter the cul­ture, or their sta­tus within that cul­ture, the hap­pi­est peo­ple are those who’ve learned the se­cret of suc­cess. That se­cret is this: The joy of the Lord is our strength! (Ne­hemiah 8:10)” As al­ways, this quar­tet sings about the gospel with an in­fec­tious en­ergy that can­not help but touch lis­ten­ers. Even the most quiet, rev­er­ent ti­tles have an in­ten­sity that reaches lis­ten­ers with their heart­felt faith.

The al­bum opens with the happy sounds of One of Th­ese Morn­ings, a tra­di­tional southern gospel quar­tet song. It con­tin­ues into the al­bum’s ti­tle track, writ­ten by Haase, Haun and Joel Lind­sey. Full of the en­ergy lis­ten­ers have come to ex­pect from Ernie Haase and Sig­na­ture Sound, the cho­rus re­minds us, “God’s peo­ple are happy peo­ple/ Happy all of the time/ God’s peo­ple are happy peo­ple/ Happy peo­ple shine.”

Other ti­tles on the al­bum in­clude Thank You for Saving Me, a truly beau­ti­ful song that is full of rich har­monies and pow­er­ful lyrics. “Oh how sweet the love of Je­sus/Oh how far He reached for me/ Let my grate­ful heart sing louder still/Thank You for saving me.”

Love Walked In refers to the ac­counts of the woman caught in adul­tery, the three men who were thrown into the fiery fur­nace and the dis­ci­ples af­ter the cru­ci­fix­ion, all of whom were made bet­ter when “Love walked in and chased the fear away/ A cham­pion showed up to save the day.” “Happy Peo­ple” also in­cludes Let Your Love Light Shine, It’s Good to See the Sun, Joshua Led God’s Chil­dren and I Do Be­lieve.

“Happy Peo­ple” is a mix of old and new, with songs from Vep El­lis, Bill and Glo­ria Gaither and other ti­tles by Haase and other mem­bers of Sig­na­ture Sound. Through­out ev­ery ti­tle, the sin­cer­ity of th­ese mu­si­cians shines through. Their “love light shines” to let the lis­tener know that they are truly happy peo­ple.... God’s peo­ple.

Tracey Evi­son Sound Bites

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