Album Review- Every Light That Shines At Christmas – Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

Every Light That Shines At Christmas CD Cover

Every Light That Shines At Christmas CD Cover

Every Light That Shines At Christmas is the second Christmas project to be released by Ernie Haase & Signature Sound.

I really do enjoy a good Christmas project, be it secular or Gospel, but when you combine rich, sterling 4 – part harmony to Christmas classics, novelty songs and new songs, it really makes for a unique and enjoyable combination. On this particular project we have 16 tracks of Christmas cheer and fun.

  1. He Started The Whole World Singing/O Come, All Ye Faithful – Ernie Haase opens this soft and gentle opening cut on the album. I enjoy how the song gradually picks up more and more momentum until the climatic finish. The Voices of Lee feature in this song as well as a children’s choir, which gives it a real Christmas feel. Once the track moves into the second song, O Come All Ye Faithful, there is full orchestration and gives the track a real punchy feel. The vocals are well mixed with the Voices of Lee, sometimes on songs that features choirs, it is easy for the choir to drown out the quartet, but not in this instance.
  2. Marshmallow World – A lively and bouncy tune which features the whole group on the opening lines. The best feature of this song is on certain lines the whole group sings the lead, there is no harmony, so when they revert back to the harmony it makes it more pronounced and noticable. Wonderfully arranged and sung.
  3. Every Light That Shines At Christmas – The title track is an up tempo and country flavoured gem. On the first few spins of the CD, it reminded me of Glory To God In The Highest of their first Christmas album. Punctuated with horns and other orchestration it makes for a great cut. All the group members are featured on different parts with a collective element shown on the second half of the song, driving it to the big finish. This would be sure to get you up on your feet at live concerts.
  4. Redeeming Love – A slower, reflective portrait of why Jesus Christ came to earth, to seek and save. The song starts out featuring Ryan Seaton. I have already covered that Ryan is developing and becoming more and more asserted in his performances, particularly in the live setting.  The song is then taken up by Ernie Haase and he takes it through to the chorus. A great song that is already became a favourite on my list. Some nice high notes and a big ballad finish to this song make it for me. I’d also like to see this live.
  5. Changed By A Baby Boy– Another great little gem from this CD. Changed By A Baby Boy features Ryan Seaton with the quartet adding in an echo type backing vocal. It goes over very well live, especially the chorus, it’s a very catchy and simple lyric to sing. Jeff Foster described this tune as having “a decidedly Reggae/Caribbean sound and beat to it”, which i agree with completely. It makes the tune different and very accessible to potential listeners from outside the southern gospel genre.
  6. Mr Heat Miser – Arguably the most novel and fun song on the project! A great little tune with some great vocal arrangements and tricks. The most notable aspect would be the trade-off between Ernie and Tim portraying different characters of the song. Tim delivers his very well, stepping well into the “gruff old man” idea.
  7. Thank God For Kids – Worth the entire price of the album if i’m honest.  It is beautiful. Doug Anderson has a great voice, and to see it on an iconic country anthem like “Thank God For Kids” was a great decision. Maybe what makes this song is the simplicity in the arrangement and the light accompaniment. I particularly like the way Doug injects his own little stamp on the song with his unique delivery. The harmony parts with Ernie on the verses are also lovely. A brilliant cut and gives this old classic new life.
  8. Christmas Is Christmas (Wherever You Are) – A slow and reflective song about those who can’t be together in person at Christmas, yet in spirit we are all together. A children’s choir adds their contribution to the song with some stellar vocals from the quartet.
  9. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – A Cappella features on this song and the arrangement is fabulous. Think the delicate and complex arrangements from the Gaither Vocal Band’s a capella project and you get my drift. I love a good bass singer and on this song you can clearly hear Tim’s deep vocals in the mix, possible they have been pushed out a little more, which makes for a great bass undercurrent throughout the song. Tim and Doug sing together at one stage, cascading down the notes together, which is a lovely moment. They build up the finish and take it home by having Ernie reach for the stars vocally and Tim dropping down nice and low.
  10. What Child Is This? – A lovely big ballad, which starts of softly and ends softly with big orchestration and high notes throughout the majority of the song. This track has some well arranged vocals and features Doug and Ernie throughout its duration.
  11. If It Doesn’t Snow On Christmas – Another fun number from the project. The track opens up with Tim Duncan on vocals which sets off the track with me! it definitely appears to be marketed towards children, their is a noticable clarity and distinction to Doug and Ryan’s diction feature on the later verses.  The whole song just radiates with the one question that many children will have, If it doesn’t snow on Christmas how will Santa use his sleigh?! But Ernie will let him use their bus. According to the lyrics anyway!
  12. All I Want Is You – A further a cappella number from the group. It has a great arrangement and feels just right at that part of the CD. I would love the group to do a whole a cappella CD. With these arrangements and talent that they possess, it would be a truly great project.
  13. Christmas In Indiana – A mid tempo tune from the pen of Gloria and Benjamin Gaither. This was the first time i had ever heard this tune and it was a pleasant experience. It paints a beautiful picture of family being reunited for Christmas and spending Christmas with a loved one. This is the type of tune i can imagine being on in the background whilst decorating the Christmas Tree or whilst having family over to celebrate.
  14. Silent Night – The last a cappella piece on the project. Boy did they leave the best til last. They make it sound so easy yet i’m sure the complex vocal arrangements are hard to do. It sounds great. My favourite part is at the end on the “sleep in heavenly peace” line. Ernie sings softly yet in a really high note, it could be falsetto, more musically aware people can step in and correct me if im wrong! But whatever it is…..it’s sublime!!
  15. Light A Candle – This is a song is somewhat similar to “We Need Each Other” of the Dream On album in its collective and “reaching out” nature. It highlights the need to remember that not everyone gets to enjoy Christmas in the way we maybe do. Emphasis is placed upon the need to love, care and respect each other.
  16. Amen – Elvis fans may recognise this track. It uses the same basic structure of the song that Elvis used to feature J.D Sumner most nights. It is widely known that Ernie is a big Elvis fan so maybe that is where the influence was derived from.  It goes over well in a live setting. The crowd all become backing vocalists and sing the under current “Amen, Amen, Amen” part whilst the featured vocalist does their part on top. A great way to close out the album.

Easily the best of their two Christmas projects. It is a fun project, with elements of sincerity thrown in. It is a very uplifting and enjoyable CD. A friend of mine who works in a premier menswear shop, commented that they would have no problem playing the CD over the PA system for customers to enjoy. This exemplifies just how flexible Ernie Haase & Signature Sound can be with their music. It has something for everyone, yet it is uniquely EHSS in its musical stylings and delivery.

Vocally they have never sounded better. Bold statement yes, but give the CD a listen and let me know if you agree. I think it’s only natural to get better and better vocally as time goes on with the same group. Ernie Haase and Ryan Seaton in particular sound very good on this album. A fun album for a fun time of year!

Verdict – A must have.  :)

This project is available from www.ehssq.com

 

Philip Boles

Philip is the biggest Southern Gospel fan in Northern Ireland and possibly outside of the USA. He sings with a Northern Irish trio called, "Solid Ground" and blogs when spare time allows. You can follow Philip on Twitter.

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4 Comments

  1. JayTee
    Reply November 10, 00:16 #1 JayTee

    That’s a very positive review, Phil, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I hadn’t decided to buy this project yet, but I’ll definitely consider it after reading these highlights, especially the a cappella mentions. )




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  2. Sandy
    Reply November 14, 23:52 #2 Sandy

    I just bought this CD last week, it is AWESOME. It is the only CD that I have played in my car all week. Will probably have it worn out by Christmas. If you are on the fence about buying it, go for it, you will not be sorry.




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  3. Chloe Brown
    Reply November 16, 22:14 #3 Chloe Brown

    I agree.. definitely a must have this Christmas :) putting me in the mood already!




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