Well, this was going to be a busy week for me, so I worried about finding time to fill it with content for y’all. Turns out, this announcement will be enough for a whole week: Signature Sound has just released a press video breaking the news that charter member Doug Anderson is leaving to pursue a solo career. His last concerts with the group will be June 19th and 20th.
This is clearly Doug’s decision, with the more flexible schedule cited as a major factor. In the video, Doug explains that as his girls grow up, he wants to be a bigger part of their lives and have more control over when he can be off the road. This has motivated many a quartet man to step down, and with Doug’s popularity, it’s probably not a bad economic decision either. He also says jokingly that he hopes to “hop back on the bus” with Signature Sound at any time, and Ernie assures him that the corner bunk is always his. Ernie is clearly trying not to sound too bummed about the whole thing, but obviously he’s happy for Doug to pursue what’s best for him. Doug has been Ernie’s right-hand man and the glue of the group for about 13 years now, and it must be tough to see him go.
There are so many things I could say about how Doug’s voice and personality will be missed as a part of the Signature Sound unit. As I try to think about favorite performances, I realize there are so many that it’s hard to know where to start. He could own ballads as completely as up-tempo numbers, gritty soul as well as tender story songs. Very few singers command that kind of versatility.
It’s a testament to Doug’s talent that I’m going to reach all the way back to the beginning of his career for two favorite moments to showcase. One is the group’s old version of “Happy Rhythm,” which features one of my favorite Doug improvisations ever on the encore. The other, from that same concert, is his take on the standard on “Had It Not Been,” of which I have yet to hear a better version.
Heartiest best wishes to Doug for a blessed future and a fruitful career. Now, let the speculation about his replacement begin! Who do my readers favor? Personally, I think Andrew Goldman wouldn’t be a bad bet. He’s the only young singer I can think of who holds the potential to fill Doug’s shoes.