AbsolutelyGospel Features Interview with Ernie Haase

AbsolutelyGospel Features Interview with Ernie Haase June 25, 2012

I found this an interesting read even though I’ve read and seen a lot of interviews with Ernie. He finds something different to say every time. I’m looking forward to part two, though I’m somewhat curious as to exactly what they mean by “rumors” when they say he’ll address some of the rumors about Signature Sound. I guess we’ll find out [I just fixed this from “found out.” I must be really exhausted.] Meanwhile, here’s a good quote from Part 1:

So do you think it leans more towards trying to get the younger, the teens and the youth? “No, that’s never been, I know that’s what people keep saying but I know what caught my attention at age 15 and it was the harmony and the professionalism of George and Glen. I don’t get on the TV, and there’s not enough time to get on interviews, so I always just kind of concede that yeah we want to reach the youth, because we do, but I don’t set down and record a record saying ‘Okay, how can we reach the youth?’ “

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  • joshvanklomp

    This was what I found most interesting
    You’ll see me probably step back a little bit in another three years and instead of being out here 140 dates a year I can see cutting back to about 90 or 95 dates a year. Then the guys can go out and do their thing and I can spend a little more time writing and helping other groups and then hopefully, by doing that I can prolong my career because there’s not a lot of old tenor singers out there. I’m getting closer to that 50 mark and I would love to be able to stay out here you know, another 10 or 15 years, if the Lord tarries His coming.”

  • Yeah, that was also interesting. I’ve been told that Ernie thinks much farther ahead than most group leaders.

  • Penny

    Some friends and I (elderly) traveled to one of EHSS’s Christmas concerts in December. Some things that stood out: there was a big push within the auditorium by the artists to sell a “Special” CD package before the concert, there was stage floor fog/cloud (or whatever it is supposed to be) production going on through much of the evening, Christmas songs were almost all secular, Ernie’s hairdo defied description, their current songs seemed more contemporary than Southern Gospel. We felt let down. I have since seen them at a Gaither event (with Devon now sporting an attention-grabbing hairdo) and believe they are aiming for CCM stardom.

  • We’ve seen them offer a special at two concerts as well. I don’t have a problem with it—it’s called “moving product.” 😉 I’ve noticed the “cloud” stuff before as well and felt it didn’t add anything, but I don’t believe they used it at the concert where I just saw them.
    The Christmas songs were probably mostly secular because those were the songs they happened to pick for their most recent EP. I think they wanted songs that all ended in “Christmas,” and naturally that leads to songs like “White Christmas,” “Blue Christmas,” “Tennessee Christmas,” etc. Their two full-length Christmas albums contain a balance of Christian and secular. I don’t know whether they were consciously trying to avoid Christian Christmas songs on the new EP or if that’s just how it happened to fall out.
    As for the newer material, I listened to their latest album, and some of the songs definitely push the boundaries of what can still be called southern gospel. But a lot of the material still retained a classic feel. You should check out “Love Carried the Cross” and “Sometimes I Wonder.”
    Hairdos, I can never predict what they’re going to do. At the moment I think their hair is pretty normal. I will say that they’ve relaxed on the clothes/hair front since the era when they were first trying to break out and be different. The other thing about the hair is that I think Ernie in particular just gets bored and likes to try different things for himself—not particularly because he’s trying to appeal to anyone else.

  • Interesting interview. My thought about the “rumors” that they discussed would be that they are about Ryan and Tim leaving. There seemed to be a lot of speculation about that. I, for one, am not sure that there isn’t anything to it. It just seems that something weird happened there, at least with Ryan. Since they left, I just kind of lost interest in EHSS. It didn’t help that Ernie was quoting Joel Osteen (please, Ernie, really?) devotionals and singing songs like “A Good Heart”. (However, I must say that I am starting to enjoy them again, with songs like Singing in the Midnight Hour and Sometimes I Wonder.) Anyway, I’d like to believe that the split was amicable, but I just really can’t shake a bad feeling about it. Do you have any thoughts?

  • I had the same thought—that he might address the departures of Ryan and Tim. I’ve heard the speculations as well. A mix of first and second-hand info has come my way regarding both splits, but I was asked not to disperse it publicly. However, the most plausible explanations I have even in the lack of first-hand knowledge don’t involve any parties behaving immorally. At one point I shared your concerns, but now I’m not as bothered. I trust Ernie and believe he genuinely has his members’ best interests at heart.
    I must have missed the Joel Osteen quote, but it doesn’t surprise me. I think Ernie is a great guy who’s using his talents to minister effectively, but theologically speaking his instincts can sometimes be shallow. However, I think he also quotes more conservative pastors like Tim Keller and John Piper. He likes to try different things. I’m sure he and I would have a lot of disagreements if we got into a discussion along those lines, but I don’t feel a need to provoke those discussions, or to let that get in the way of my support for the group and my enjoyment of their music. (Hey, even Michael W. Smith endorsed _The Shack_!) If I really wanted to complain, I’d point out the fact that Devin seems to be deeply into the emergent movement with the likes of Rob Bell and Matthew Paul Turner. Though I was encouraged to see him reading Francis Chan’s response to _Love Wins_. But regardless, as long as they’re singing good music, and as long as Ernie’s emceeing doesn’t just turn into outright heretical preaching, I’m happy to continue being a fan.
    I personally loved “A Good Heart” and thought it was one of the best songs on _Dream On_, an album that generally left me cold. Maybe you’ll be more touched by it if you have kids some day. 😉

  • AmyH

    Wow, that’s not an interview, that’s a transcript. There’s a book called _On Writing Well_ by William Z???? that bloggers need to read. (I figure I can get away with saying this on your site…)

  • To say it could have used some tidying up is a vast understatement. But then nobody asked me…

  • Chris Unthank

    Yes – it’s long. Yes, it probably could’ve been tidied a bit more, but the interview was so long we could’ve done a 4-parter article on it. I usually am a much bigger staunch when it comes to formatting our Q&As – but this one in particular had a nice flow – and I liked the way it read, so I didn’t bother it too much.
    However, that doesn’t really seem to bother our readers as it’s been one of the biggest and most read articles we’ve posted in years…

  • Actually, I didn’t mean tidying up in terms of length. I thought the amount of content was fine. But the layout looked thrown together. There were typos and the paragraphs weren’t broken up.

  • To the person whose comment was just deleted: It’s clear that you haven’t been around this blog for very long, because you would know that I don’t publish pointlessly negative comments like yours. If you have something constructive to add to this conversation, or if you would like to frame your criticism in a civil and courteous way, do so. Otherwise keep your opinions to yourself. Thank you!