Ernie Haase and Signature Sound released Happy People on May 5. The release came on the heels of Doug Anderson's announcement that he is leaving the group. He has been a mainstay in the group, so it's a little bittersweet reviewing this as Doug's last project with the group.
Ernie Haase and Signature Sound has been a fan favorite quartet for many years. With this project it's easy to see why. Happy People is sure to make a lot of people happy, especially Signature Sound fans.
The album starts with "One of These Mornings," which stylistically is very different from the other songs on the project. It has a very classic sound with a lot of horns, more retro than anything else on the project. It's a great song to grab you and pull you into the album.
Ernie Haase along with Doug share the feature on "Jesus Changed Everything." This five-minute ballad is a must-listen. The message of the song is the core behind the Happy People title. Because He has changed everything, there is "joy overflowing." Doug and Ernie shine on this song, and I love the orchestration and arrangement.
"Angels Everywhere" was written by Ernie and Dianne Wilkinson. In contrast with the previously mentioned song, I love how stripped down the arrangement is and how it features each Ernie, Devin McGlamery and Paul Harkey.
Ernie takes the verses on "Let Your Love Light Shine." This Rachel McCutcheon penned song seems to fit the group perfectly with their style. The message is simple but profound, may we show the love of Christ and be a light in a lost world.
Devin McGlamery also has an incredible performance on "Thank You For Saving Me." I think this could be a big song for them. It has a more worship feel to the song. This song is exactly in Devin's wheelhouse, and I think this is not only going to be a big song for the group but also for Devin. Do not skip over this song!
Paul Harkey shows off his higher range on "Soldier Going Home." I enjoy hearing this side of him more.
"I Do Believe" is one of Doug's features on the project. This Gaither song is one of my favorites. They stray from the original Gaither arrangement especially with the end. It almost seems the song is over, and then there is a big drum fanfare and orchestration with a big finish. Doug is also featured on "Love Walked In." This is a another personal favorite. It stretches the bounds of gospel with its uptempo country flair.
"Joshua Led God's Children" is a fun uptempo song. This is a song quartet fans will love. Doug takes the verses and later Ernie take the chorus up a notch, but I love Paul's bass lines on the song! This is one I would love to see them sing live. Definitely a highlight of the project!
The title track is one I really wanted to like more. It's one that you find yourself getting caught in your head because it's so catchy. But I'll confess I felt a bit like a liar singing along in my head. I get the point of it that we should always have the joy of the Lord and we should always be happy because we are God's. But I'm not sure that's always the case.
Happy People is definitely a must purchase album of the year. I love how the project really shows off each vocalist in the group and thus shows how strong the group is as a whole. While Doug will certainly be missed, this project was a great one to end on.
Song List -
1. "One of These Mornings"
2. "Happy People"
3. "Thank You for Saving Me"
4. "Love Walked In"
5. "Jesus Changed Everything"
6. "Let Your Love Shine"
7. "Angels Everywhere"
8. "It's Good to See the Sun"
9. "Joshua Led God's Children"
10. "Soldier Going Home"
11. "I Do Believe"