Mike play

Over at sogospeluvers.com, they’re having an “Oh What a Savior” festival … pages and pages about who does or doesn’t sing the best OWAS. Ho hum. But this comment seems worth plucking out of the tedium:

I would agree that Ernie does a good job on OWAS. If you notice though, he really pulls the mike back on his high notes. It might not sound so purty if he didn’t. I also agree it is time to give OWAS and others, a rest!

Huh. I thought it was always pretty obvious that all that mike play Ernie does is mainly about him finding his pitch and giving himself some time to place his tones, disguised as a trademark affectation - an updated stylistic tick in the tradition of Vestal’s Hanky Waving or Shoeless Peg.

We now return to our regularly scheduled message-board rabbit-chasing, already in progress.

Update: Reader KB has a complementary and slightly alternative theory all in one:

Ernie’s voice is not the highest in the business, and in order for him to hit some of those notes, he has to (almost literally) scream to get it out. Rather than destroy peoples’ ears, he pulls the mic back and bring it in, both for dynamic effect and to keep from blowing the sound system. … He may be trying to find the pitch in there as well, but he’s screaming to do it.

I can buy this too.

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Comments

  1. KB wrote:

    Ernie pulling his mic so far back may have something to do with pitch, but it’s more a volume control thing (at least that’s how it seems to me)…

    Ernie’s voice is not the highest in the business, and in order for him to hit some of those notes, he has to (almost literally) scream to get it out. Rather than destroy peoples’ ears, he pulls the mic back and bring it in, both for dynamic effect and to keep from blowing the sound system.

    Saw the Cathedrals in concert shortly before their retirement, and the entire time, he’d pull the mic down to his knees, and slide it up to his mouth, almost to the point (on some songs) of distortion in the speakers. He may be trying to find the pitch in there as well, but he’s screaming to do it.

    If you listen to SSQ’s new single, “John In The Jordan,” you’ll notice that Ernie is singing MUCH lower as of late (lead range) than he has normally done in the past….

  2. Sheldon wrote:

    I’ve always thought it was mostly a pitch issue and Ernie was letting the stacked vocal take over until he located the pitch good and solid. Having worked with the types of mics used in live sound, i don’t think that there’s any way the mic is picking up much of Ernie when it’s down at his belt buckle. If the mic was turned up enough to do that he could never get it to within 8 in of his mouth without seriously messing with the sound system.

  3. Daniel J. Mount wrote:

    “Ernie’s voice is not the highest in the business.”

    I think that is obvious when you listen to Ernie Phillips or Jerry Martin hit the high ending at the end of “Love Lifted Me.” Haase never hits the B-flat above high C.

    I would agree that he keeps the mic away from his mouth to keep from blowing the sound system. At the volume he can put out, he would destroy people’s ears if the microphone was too close.

    Last summer, I heard him fill a 1,500+ seat (full) auditorium with his voice alone. I was sitting a couple rows from the back and I could hear him loud and clear.

    If he can project so that 1,500+ people can hear him without a microphone, then it would stand to reason that amplification of a tone produced at that volume would be deafening.

    I doubt it could well be called screaming. He has been doing OWAS every night for over 15 years. A voice cannot hold up to screaming that long and that hard.

    Finally, there are a few points on the “Stand By Me…Live” CD where he has obviously backed his microphone up to his waist. The only catch is, for a fleeting moment there is essentially no voice audible. The stacked vocals can’t be that heavy when he backs the mic off and for a second or two nothing is heard.

  4. anonymous wrote:

    You can not get the sound they get, while jumping and dancing around and pulling your mic to your belt, without stacks…They are good, but, not that good.

  5. Tom wrote:

    This is Rosie Rozell’s song - everyone else, including my buddy Ernie, should know that they are relegated to the “second row” on this one.

  6. Tee wrote:

    I’m sorry guys, but please do not mention the name Ernie Phiilips in the same breath as Ernie Haas! Haas is way far superior to every other tenor in modern qt history. Save, maybe Phelps who has a whole lot more training. I wish I had enrolled with the voice coach that David Phelps had when I was 10 years old. I would be floating on a large retirement by now. But, my Buck-eye buddy is definitely the Number 2 here. Haas has created a marketing theme around his group in order to capitalize on his efforts. I for one can’t wait to see them. Watch and listen as Haas redefines the Industry.

  7. DM wrote:

    Rosie Rozell was the best at that song, and always will be.

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