The Herald Bulletin

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Columns

March 13, 2013

Jim Bailey: Doug Anderson has best of both worlds

It was something of a short-notice gig practically in his backyard. And Doug Anderson was glad he was on the right boat at the right time — and back home to fulfill it.

The Lapel-based gospel singer, who travels the world as a member of Ernie Haase & Signature Sound and does some dates on his own as well, spent the eve of Valentine’s Day as the primary entertainment for Gaither Family Resources’ annual sweetheart dinner. A heavy natural tan exposed the fact he had spent the previous week lounging around on a cruise ship hosted by Signature Sound. Fortunately it was not the Carnival cruise liner disabled by a fire and stranded at sea for several days, though the two ships’ paths crossed during their respective voyages.

Michele Anderson ran the sound for her husband. Their daughters, however, opted for their regular gymnastics sessions instead of accompanying Dad to still another concert. Priorities.

Anderson and the rest of Ernie Haase & Signature Sound will be singing in Anderson Saturday, July 20, at Madison Park Church of God. Tickets are now on sale.

The EHSS baritone and soloist was glad to be back home. It offered a perfect opportunity to introduce his new CD, aptly titled “Feeling at Home: The Back Porch Sessions.”

Like Doug’s Dove Award-winning debut album, “Dreamin’ Wide Awake,” his newest project has a flavor all his own, heavy on country and branching out from traditional gospel. He and Benjy Gaither collaborated on it with the help of guest musicians ranging from Bill and Gloria Gaither and Ladye Love Smith to Buddy Greene and Ben Isaacs.

A couple of songs are immediately recognizable, such as the Gaithers’ “Feeling at Home” (albeit in an altogether different tempo) and “Gentle Shepherd” with Gloria Gaither doing the recitation. Added to them are all-new material by Benjy Gaither and Anderson: “Home,” “The Man She Thinks I Am,” “It’s All Right” and “Back Porch Perfect.”

Rounding out the CD are some songs you might not expect on a gospel album: Billy Joel’s “She’s Got a Way,” Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” as a duet with Ladye Love, and Hank Williams’ “Cold Cold Heart.” Capping the list is Neil Diamond’s “Song Sung Blue,” in which Doug is joined by Bill Gaither, Woody Wright, Ernie Haase, Wayne Haun, Gene McDonald, Nick Thalls and Doug’s daughters Isabel and Emma. That gives the project a real back-porch family feel, Anderson explained.

“Woody Wright told me, ‘Doug, you’re the only one who could bring Billy Joel and Carole King into a gospel album and pull it off,’” he cracked.

The CD’s back cover features a view from Doug and Michele Anderson’s back porch in the town where they grew up and where they relish spending their time when he’s off the road.

“We want our backyard to be the place where our girls’ friends want to come,” Doug observed.

Jim Bailey’s column appears on Wednesday. He can be reached by email at jameshenrybailey@earthlink.net.

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