Ernie Haase & Signature Sound In Concert August 25th at Central Church

For two decades, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound have been sharing songs of hope around the world in four-part harmony. As Gospel music’s premier quartet, Ernie Haase (tenor), Doug Anderson (lead), Dustin Doyle (lead) and Paul Harkey (bass) step up to their respective mics each night and perform with as much gusto as a burgeoning act.

Consistently topping Southern Gospel radio charts, the group has earned four GRAMMY® nods, numerous Gold® and Platinum® DVDs and six GMA Dove Awards. From singing on the hallowed stages of the Grand Ole Opry and Carnegie Hall, to delivering stirring renditions of the national anthem at NBA games and NASCAR events through the years, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound have also been a beloved fixture at Gaither Homecoming gatherings across the country.

As leading innovators of the genre, the quartet’s musical risks have earned big payoffs as well. Their 2019 holiday collection, A Jazzy Little Christmas, landed in the Top 10 on Billboard’s Jazz Albums chart and was named among the “Best Christmas Albums of 2019” by the Los Angeles Times. In addition, 2022’s Decades of Love—a whopping 29-song set—showcases Ernie Haase & Signature Sound’s unique arrangements of some of the world’s most romantic standards, including “It Had To Be You,” “Blue Moon,” and “I’ll Be Seeing You.”   

From the very beginning, the quartet has also maintained a global presence, performing to audiences in countless countries, including South Africa, New Zealand, Romania and the Netherlands—the latter where they returned to record their latest album, Live in Amsterdam: A 20th Anniversary Celebration, a legacy project that commemorates two decades of ministry.

Haase first garnered national attention as a tenor for the iconic Cathedral Quartet, whose founding member, George Younce, eventually became his father-in-law. Following 10 years with The Cathedrals — his musical heroes — Haase spent two years with the Old Friends Quartet (featuring Younce, The Statesmen’s Jake Hess and Wesley Pritchard) and briefly performed as a solo artist. This led to the official formation of Ernie Haase & Signature Sound in 2003.

After the group appeared at a Gaither Homecoming “Jubilate” New Year’s Eve celebration in 2005, Haase received a call from Gospel music trailblazer Bill Gaither, who said, “I think people need to see Signature Sound instead of just hear Signature Sound. People need to see your infectious joy.”

With the backing of Gaither, 2007’s Get Away Jordan released as a CD/DVD set and shot to No. 1 on the sales charts, solidifying Ernie Haase & Signature Sound’s foray into visual media. The title-cut became the quartet’s breakout hit, catapulting them to new heights. “There have been a lot of defining moments,” Haase reflects on the group’s career thus far, “but ‘Get Away Jordan’ was definitely a defining moment for us, and still is every night.”

“Reason Enough” marked another milestone for the group, as friends encouraged Haase to further explore his talents as a songwriter. He penned “Reason Enough” with longtime producer, former Signature Sound member, and business partner Wayne Haun, as well as decorated songwriter Joel Lindsey. The original offering went on to be named Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year at the 2009 GMA Dove Awards.

Boasting a vocal lineup with few changes through the years, the quartet currently consists of founding members Haase and Anderson, along with Doyle and Harkey. Rounding out the group are Tyler Vestal on piano and Wes Jones on bass. “We’ve formed a really close-knit family, and there’s a lot of grace and a lot of forgiveness between us,” Haase reveals, “but there’s also such a mutual love and admiration we have for one another.”

In addition to the rare bond he shares with his Signature Sound brothers, Haase has created a family atmosphere that permeates his business venture, StowTown Records, the label he and Haun co-founded in 2011. With the intention to mentor and support other artists, StowTown’s roster includes some of the most revered names in Southern Gospel, including Booth Brothers, Triumphant Quartet and Legacy Five, as well as comedian Tim Lovelace and pop/inspirational artists Charles Billingsley and TaRanda Greene. In addition, the label launched its StowTown Worship imprint last year with renowned genre pioneer The Brooklyn Tabernacle.

“Had it not been for George and Clara Younce and Bill and Gloria Gaither coming around us and saying, ‘We can’t do that, but we can help you do that,’ I don’t know that Signature Sound would have had the impact we’ve had,” Haase asserts. “With StowTown, we’re now able to do that for other artists we believe in.”

As a forward-thinking artist and record label executive focused on the future, looking back isn’t something Haase makes a habit of. However, as the two-decade anniversary approached for Signature Sound, such a momentous milestone couldn’t go unnoticed. Live in Amsterdam: A 20th Anniversary Celebration marks the occasion with full orchestral arrangements of some of Ernie Haase & Signature Sound’s most beloved hits, all helmed by Haun, a 39-time Dove Award winner. The location of the seminal recording holds a special place in the hearts of the quartet members as Amsterdam has provided some of the largest and most enthusiastic crowds the group has ever played to.

“This is my story, and this is God’s grace in and through me,” Haase says of the landmark project. “Sometimes to move forward, we have to understand the past. This record is me saying, ‘For one shining moment, this is how it happened.’”

The 10-song collection boasts two selections with special significance to Haase, including “Oh, What A Savior”—a song he first began performing as an 18-year-old harmonizing with The Noblemen Quartet. “A singer needs a song, and a messenger needs a message, and ‘Oh, What A Savior’ has always been mine,” he shares. “Jesus Changed Everything” is another personal track for Haase. He introduces the song on the recording by sharing the touching story that inspired it— the marriage and faith journey of his beloved parents.

While Live in Amsterdam: A 20th Anniversary Celebration serves as a prominent time capsule preserving the first two decades of Ernie Haase & Signature Sound’s rich contributions to Gospel music, as always, their fearless leader can’t help but look ahead.

In recent years, the vocalists have found unique new ways to expand their audience. “Friday Night Sing,” a virtual time of stories and songs the group instated during the pandemic, has evolved into a weekly tradition, while their annual Signature Sound Fan Retreat continues to connect the quartet to their listeners in personal ways. Regardless, Haase contends the next 20 years are sure to hold even more innovation, growth and influence.

“All these years later, I still love bringing people together. I’ve been able to stick with it because the love has not run out — for making music, for singing harmony, or building events,” Haase says, adding, “I think Signature Sound’s biggest impact is yet to come. I don’t have any proof of that, but I can tell you that it has always served me well to follow the promptings I feel are from the Lord. So, I’m ready to see where He takes us next.”