If I had to list my favorite hymns, several Fanny Crosby songs would make the list! Earlier this
month, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound released an album of just her hymns. I'm always interested to see when groups release a hymns project if they will cut them as we are used to hearing or put their own style to the song.
With Ernie Haase & Signature Sound you can guarantee they aren't going to put out any ordinary hymn CD, but do their best to make the songs their own.
The album starts with "Blessed Assurance." This group definitely gives the song a fresh feel with a bluesy feel. Bass singer Paul Harkey takes the first verse and Ernie Haase the second.
Devin McGlamery is featured on the first verse of a soulful "He Hideth My Soul," and again Ernie takes the second verse. I think the organ on this song is a nice touch.
"I Am Thine O Lord/ Draw Me Nearer" has a cool intro that starts with a steady background beat that continues throughout the song. Devin has the lead on this song. I love how this song shows off his voice. When the guys hit the chorus of "Draw Me Nearer," I really liked some of the creative liberties they took.
Ernie starts "Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross" very tenderly. I really like the soft arrangement of the song. Ernie does a recitation for one of the verses. I love how the quartet sounds as a group on the chorus.
Piano starts "Pass Me Not" with the full quartet singing. Then Dustin Doyle takes one of the verses. This verse is further evidence of the great hire EHSS made with Dustin. Even though I love how EHSS can take these old songs and make them their own, this simple arrangement was a stand out to me.
"Praise Him! Praise Him!" starts out with a Celtic feel. The blend of the group is really showcased throughout the song. I also love the start to "Redeemed" with a totally different feel. This one has a country feel with some banjos and "heys" thrown in. Dustin takes the lead on this one as well.
The project ends with "Tell Me the Story of Jesus" featuring Paul and Ernie. This shows off Paul's range as he tackles the upper part of his register. This one was another favorite.
I love how diverse Signature Sound made a hymns project. From Celtic sounds to banjos to organs, they really put their own style to each song and brought new life to these familiar hymns! This project is definitely worth checking out!
Song List -
1. "Blessed Assurance"
2. "He Hideth My Soul"
3. "I Am Thine O Lord/ Draw Me Nearer"
4. "Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross/ In the Cross"
5. "Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior"
6. "Praise Him! Praise Him!"
7. "Redeemed How I Love to Proclaim It"
8. "Tell Me the Story of Jesus"