Message Behind the Music: Jacob Crabb
There’s a wealth of diversity under today’s Christian music umbrella and few artists embody that better than Jason Crabb. The Gospel Music Association’s reigning Male Vocalist and Artist of the Year is equally comfortable performing with the famed Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, on the stage of the legendary Grand Ole Opry or as part of Bill Gaither’s platinum-selling Homecoming concerts.
Possessing a distinctive voice capable of covering such diverse musical territory can be both a blessing and a challenge for an artist who wants to do it all and has the pipes to pull it off. With his new Gaither Music Group album, Love Is Stronger, the GRAMMY®-winning artist skillfully delivers a collection of songs that will appeal to fans who’ve loved Jason since his early days with the Crabb Family; and yet he pushes the envelope with the help of producers Ed Cash (Amy Grant, Chris Tomlin), Wayne Haun (Celine Dion, Earl Scruggs) and Jay DeMarcus, a member of country super group Rascal Flatts. The result is a rich, multi-textured album anchored by that amazing voice.
“This record is exactly where I need to be and what I need to do,” Jason says. “I love all different styles of music; and the way I look at this record, there are more opportunities with it. There are more avenues for people to be touched. I want to sing my songs and share my heart with a whole new generation coming up. I want to let them know how important they are, and music is a tool to be able to get in front of them.”
Jason began sharing his heart and spreading the Gospel at an early age. Born and raised in Beaver Dam, Kentucky, Jason hit the road at 14 with his family and built a vibrant ministry. The Crabb Family became one of southern gospel’s most successful acts, known for pushing the boundaries of their genre and bringing a younger audience to the music. The group traveled extensively and became core artists on southern gospel radio and at industry events.
In 2007, the siblings decided to develop separate ministries, and Jason launched a successful solo career with his self-titled debut album in 2009. The following year, Jason won his first GRAMMY® Award; and in 2012 he dominated the Dove Awards, winning Male Vocalist and Artist of the Year, bringing his total number of Dove wins to 17. He has also gained acclaim as an author, sharing his life story in the compelling book Trusting God to Get You Through, published in 2011.
With his previous album having yielded such compelling songs as “Somebody Like Me,” which earned fans at mainstream country radio, and “Sometimes I Cry,” which was named Song of the Year at the 2011 Dove Awards, it’s obvious his first solo album set the bar extremely high in terms of song quality.
“The lyrics are everything,” Jason says. “We didn’t cut a song because it felt good on this record. It just didn’t happen. It had to be the right thing, the right message. We looked for those songs that would speak to a broad audience. We wanted to speak to everyone. We’ve got some very strong lyrics on what our fundamentals and beliefs are, but there are also songs that could touch anyone whether you’re a Christian or not. Hopefully it pushes you more towards being one, but I think these songs could touch anyone.”
The title track is one of the most special to Jason, now a resident of Hendersonville, Tennessee. It reminds him of a struggle his wife, Shellye, was facing and how the love and prayers of their youngest daughter, Emma, made a difference. “Shellye was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis two years ago and went from having a normal life to barely scooting her feet across the floor, not being able to get up and help the kids, fix them breakfast or comb their hair,” Jason relates. “When I was singing these lyrics, I was thinking, ‘Wow, that was her life!’”
Shellye changed doctors and tried different things and all the while, little Emma kept praying. “Our little girl was praying for her every night, praying for her mama’s hands to be better. I think visits to the naturalist and my baby’s prayers are why she’s as good as she is. Now she’s working out and she’s got me working out.”
At a time when the world seems to be unraveling and people are increasingly faced with more challenges, Jason has delivered an album filled with songs that acknowledge the struggles yet reverberate with the hope we have in Christ. And perhaps best of all, he reminds us of the love that is the foundation of our existence.
“Love is a theme,” he says of the album’s contents. “With everything everybody has been through these last couple of years, from the shootings to the hurricanes, the very thing that’s gotten everyone through it is love. Love wins when you are broken. Love gives us hope. Love is stronger than whatever you are facing. If you are facing death, love is stronger. It’s love that brings that grace.”
With an infectious smile and an ever-ready hug, Jason Crabb is love personified. Whether he’s on stage in Manhattan or back home in Tennessee, he’s on a mission to lift others up in the name of Jesus and he’s succeeding.