Written by: Celita Diaz-Perillo (7/9/2021)
“Southern Gospel”. The words evoke so many thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and most of them have to do with memories I have of the church I attended from the time I was 18 up until when I got married. Ernie Haase’s name is no stranger to me, though I have not really listened to an entire album all at once. I usually listened to a song here or there. I am pleased to be able to sit and soak up this album and share my thoughts with you. I hope you find my observations helpful and interesting.
“Morning Song” is a wonderful entrance to this album, an edifying, encouraging beginning of praise and worship. There is a wonderful and simple harmony and a cavorting flow, reminiscent of some of the classic works of contemporary christian music of the 1990’s, in the best way possible. Easy to get into and enjoy. “Good to Be Home” reminds me of a perfect chores song. Joyful even if referring to life challenges. Hopeful and skipping, an uplifting tune.
“Keeping On Keeping” is slower and a call to trust, persevere, and hope in Jesus. It has a smooth sound and an encouraging message, even if the rhythm is a bit basic. “I Know My Savior Cares” reminds me very much of the Gaither Vocal Band. It contains such spectacular assurance and some of my favorite harmonies.
“Terminal in the Sky” starts off sounding like an opening for a classic 40’s-ish movie. Love that. Then, BAM, it changes things up with that southern gospel twist. It then winds down with an ebbing train whistle. Fun and unique. “Make Us One” starts off with classic big band and some jazzy sounds and follows through with fantastic harmonies and melody. Nice. I could definitely see this one being used to start a church service, or during the offering. A call to unity, to be sure, in an enjoyable way.
“Overcome” is reflective of the christian life, with all its ups and downs, the moments of weakness and strength, and the promises of God in the midst of the storms of life. There is a theme of the battles of the mind, and finding strength, confidence, and rising in the help of the Lord. Will certainly be meaningful to many souls in that it gets a little deeper into the different ways we are challenged in our faith, and how our reliance must always be in Jesus, our Healer, Strength, Helper.
“Not That Far Behind You” is a slower walk through a field of lovely flowers, reflecting on hard times of loss, and how the Lord pulls us through. It hands us a bouquet of reminders to prompt us to hope, trust and cling to our faithful Lord, and encourages us to have a different perspective of sorrow, loss, and time. It has some late 70’s/early 80’s tones. Neat song. “Ready” reminded me so much of earlier songs by the Imperials. It is like a commission of action and surrender. Lovely vocals. Like a quirky Christian movie song to take a movie plot along. It felt like something I would have grown up listening to!
“The Ground is Level” is definitely more southern gospel and old hymn-like. It really reminded me of riding a horse across a plain at a slow, steady gait. Wasn’t one of my favorite songs, but the message is a blessing.
“What He Says To Do” jumps right into a great, jiggy tune. Loved the entrance with the violin and banjo, and while it is a call to obedience and persevering in the faith, it is done with the most country-line-dancing upbeat sounds. This song also reminded me of one of the bubblier songs done by the Gaither Vocal Band.
“Good Friend” is an ode to friendship, and quite sweet in its way of telling the story of the ups and downs of life as friends. “When We Fly Away Home”is all about getting to heaven. It is super upbeat and fun. The use of drums, trumpets, and other instruments remind me of a late 80’s-ish/ early 90’s-ish song often played on the local christian radio station. Great way to start the day. This may go into my chore playlist. Easy to move along to.
“Wake Up” is one I would consider a great morning song, not blasting and aggressive, but a prodding to get up, to go, to do, and be for Jesus. It speaks of the choice of seeking, knowing, seeing, hearing, and believing in- and to live for- Jesus. It is a WAKE UP call to the church and to individuals. “Shake Your Faith Up”!!!
Overall, this is a really interesting album. I didn’t feel it was exclusively southern gospel. It included sounds of different time periods, almost, which may affect the transition and flow from one song to another. I love the songs that made it hard to sit still because I wanted to sway and dance along. The lyrics are easy to recall, even after only listening to the album twice. I do think that it is one that is growing on me, and not one I immediately would have said I love, but I appreciate it so much for its encouragement, edification, and prompting. I also love that it is a bit more eclectic. It is a fun album, and I would recommend it to some of my friends, for sure.