Prime Cuts: I Know My Savior Cares, Terminal in the Sky, Morning Song (Thank You Lord)
Overall Grade: 4.75/5
Ernie Haase and Signature Sound's Keeping On returns to the Big Band days where saloon crooners such as Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra reigned the airwaves. A time when the lush orchestration of strings and the brassy blast of horns and trumpets were the accompanying sound. Whether you swing or croon, music was melodious, contemplative, and memorable. Keeping On is a time capsule back in time. Produced with class by Kris Crunk and Wayne Haun, Keeping On features 14 new songs all of which came from the genre's best scribes including Haun, Haase, Joel lindsey, Lee Black, Jeff Burngardner and others.
The set opens with "Morning Song (Thank You Lord)." Preluded by a long instrumentation section that sounds like it was lifted out of a Broadway musical, this opens the disc on a glorious note. Moreover, the burst of the majestic sounds of strings is so befitting of the song's theme of how hope also emanates out of darkness. Whilst many songs these days thrive on repetitive loops, "Good to be Home," with its strong melodic structure, is a treat.
Sounding like it belonged in a '60s movie soundtrack, "Terminal in the Sky" is a gem. The train whistles and the layered vocals are wonderful vehicles to drive the song's lyrics about how our lives are heading towards eternity. The Jason Mraz-esque piano riffs on the bebop tune "Wake Up" is a delight not to be missed. Less effective is the contemporary sounding "Keep On Keeping On" which is full of those inspirational cliches that Hallmark loves.
Together with Haase and Joel Lindsey, Wayne Haun (who has a reputation of writing heartfelt ballads) puts his pen to work on the hymn-like "I Know My Savior Cares." Also not disappointing is "Overcome," which continues the theme of how Jesus cares enough to save us. The orchestral build-up, the use of dramatic pauses, and Haase' soaring tenor all contribute to the song's greatness. God's abiding presence is celebrated in the country-sounding melodically superior "Not that Far Behind You."
In short, if you like songs with bright and singable melodies over a bevvy of strings and powerfully executed, Keeping On will not disappoint.