Prime Cuts: You Never Walk Alone, Bring Him Home, Climb Ev'ry Mountain
Broadway musical shows are the arteries of New York City. If you take a stroll across the city at night, you will find the neon lights flushing with adrenaline-like music pumping out from their copious theaters as night after night they tell stories of life, faith, and love over tunes that will automatically go on repeat in your psyche for ages and ages to come. One of Broadway shows greatest draws is their music. Companionship has never sounded more heart-tugging than a tune like "You Never Walk Alone." And prayer for our children has never sounded more urgent as "Bring Him Home." Ernie Haase and Signature Sound (EHSS) know the power of a show tune. This is why when they recorded "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" for their "What a Savior" release, one gets an intuition that one day they'll record an album's worth of Broadway tunes. Compounded to that is producer Wayne Haun's love for the classic love songs of yore, "The Inspiration of Broadway" seems like the perfect combination.
However, "The Inspiration of Broadway" isn't strictly just the sole project of EHHS. Rather, the album also features the vocals of J. Mark McVey. The idea of a Broadway album was first ignited when a conversation was struck between Les Miserables' star J. Mark McVey and EHHS at the merchandise table after an EHHS' concert. One of the greatest attractions of "The Inspiration of Broadway" is that the songs are judiciously chosen between the more familiar numbers as well as the more obscure ones. This way the album conterminously creates both a familiar as well as a refreshing feel to it. And more importantly for EHHS' core audience who are mainly Southern Gospel music fans, they are not left out as faith-centered songs are also chosen to balance out the more secular leaning ones.
In regard to songs that incite our Christian faith, one doesn't have to look farther than EHHS' take of "Bring Him Home," which features McVey on lead vocals. What makes this song especially poignant is that McVey made his Broadway debut as Jean Valjean after having won the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actor while tour in "Les Miserables." Devin McGlarmery showcases his ability to not only soar but reflect the variegated shades on emotions on the faith-inciting "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" and the Gospel awakening "Blow Gabriel, Blow." On the inspirational side is harmony-laden "The Impossible Dream," which still has the best lines as far as the Gospel is concerned: "And the world will be better for this/That one man, scorned and covered with scars/Still strove with his last ounce of courage/To reach the unreachable star."
But not everything is hefty and heavy handed, toe-tapping tunes the ones that will get us singing along also abound. This includes the brassy and lilting "Get Happy" and the breezy "I Got the Sun in the Morning." Not to be missed is Ernie Haase's powerhouse delivery of "You Never Walk Alone." Taking his time to build up to the song's dramatic crescendo, Haase reveals his mettle as an artist who not only understands the nuances of the song but his uncanny abilities to bring them out with just the right emotions. This is a performance that deserves multiples standing ovations. This can also be said of the album on the whole too.
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