Aaron Crabb was previously a member of the highly successful Crabb Family singing group. They won ten Dove Awards and had two Grammy nominations. The group disbanded in 2007. Aaron married Amanda in 2001. Their first two projects as a duo, 2008’s AFTER THE RAIN, and 2009’s LIVE AT OAK TREE, were both nominated for Inspirational Album of the Year at the Dove Awards. In 2010, they put out their third project, LOVE WITH NO END. Fast forward to 2013 and they have released MERCY (Difference Media). It was produced by Aaron Crabb and Ben Isaacs, with Matthew Hagee executive producing. Aaron and Amanda are worship leaders at San Antonio’s Cornerstone Church.
The album opener ‘If I’m Guilty’ was written by Gerald Crabb (Aaron’s father)¸Tony Wood, and Don Poythress. It is a Southern Gospel ballad with some of the best lyrics to come out of Christian music in quite a while: “It’s so easy to criticize when someone else fails/It’s so easy to see faults in them when we overlook ourselves/Lord knows I’m not perfect/I don’t deserve to throw rocks at anyone/So if there’s a mistake You see in me let it be this one/If I’m guilty, let me be guilty of too much mercy/If I’m gonna be wrong, let me be wrong for treating someone else right/I don’t want to push down, what I wanna do now is help a brother back on his feet.” ‘Somethin’ ‘Bout Love’ is a soulful song of testimony written by Sue C. Smith: “I was a cripple in my soul, I was so paralyzed with guilt and shame/I was begging for some peace, for release from the sin that kept me chained/But then the Savior gave me sight/Brought the Light of the joy into my heart/There’s no way I can describe what it’s like, but I know that it starts with/Somethin’ ‘bout love, somethin’ ‘bout grace, somethin’ ‘bout a hope to chase your blues away/Somethin’ ‘bout a cross, somethin’ bout a grave, somethin’ ‘bout a Saviour and the way He saves.”
‘Take Him to the Place’ is one of three songs on this album penned solely by Aaron and Amanda. It was inspired by a trip to the Holy Land and speaks of how Christ can truly transform lives: “Take Him to the place/And watch dead things live again/Where one touch of His grace and it’s all washed away/He’s calling out your name/Doesn’t matter where you’ve been/Or whatever you have faced/Don’t be afraid/Let Him heal your heart/Give you a new start/You’ll find life brand new/He will calm all fears/Wipe away your tears/Show you love so true.” Next up, is a slow country tune called ‘I’m Learning’. Here are some of the words: “I’m learnin’/With all its twists and turnin’/Oh, it’s a good life/And I wanna get it right/And I’m findin’/As the road keeps windin’/I don’t know which bridges to be crossin’ and which ones I should be burnin’/But I’m learnin’ from a man who’s walked this road before me/And showed me how it’s done/I wanna follow in his footsteps like a good and faithful son.”
‘God Loves the Broken’ finds Amanda on lead vocals and was written by Jeff Ferguson and Reggie Stone. It is an encouraging easy listening song for those who are wounded and discouraged: “God loves the broken/His arms are open/There is no shame, there is no blame/Where love is spoken/God loves the broken/His hands, His touch, can heal/Now He has placed you, on His potter’s wheel/The pieces that He found/Left scattered on the ground/He’s molding and changing.” ‘Holy’ is an upbeat song of praise: “You are the door, the truth, and way/The Light that guides me through the day/The heaven’s declare Your majesty/We stand with angels as they sing/Holy, holy/You are Holy/Holy.” ‘It’s Gonna Rain’ includes these words: “We gotta keep prayin’/Gotta keep believin’/Just let your faith arise/And soon you’ll be receivin’/It’s gonna rain, it’s gonna rain.” I would add that even if we do pray and have faith, we don’t always get what we want. We receive what God wants us to have. He knows what’s best for us.
‘Without You’ is a song about intimacy with God: “I hear Your voice/In the quiet of my soul/Yes, the quiet of my soul/And I feel Your peace/When the waves begin to roll/Yes, the waves begin to roll/I feel safe because You’re with me/And I’m thankful knowing You will never leave/And I don’t wanna live without You/I don’t wanna move without the warmth of Your love.” ‘Come On, Come On’ has a rousing, modern Southern Gospel feel to it musically, and is a call for charismatic revival: “You better wake up/Stay up/Pray up too/Let me tell ya brother, here’s what you must do/Step in the water and be baptized/Get yourself filled with Holy Ghost Fire/Jesus is coming and it won’t be long/All of God’s children gonna be gone.”
‘Reaching Out’ is a terrific country ballad penned by Aaron Crabb, Matthew Hagee, and Justin Ellis. Steve Brewster plays drums, while Scotty Sanders plays steel guitar. The song speaks of how God is faithful to us even when we are at our lowest: “I can’t reach out to You/But You’re reachin’ out to me/I can feel You pullin’ deep in my soul/Although I don’t deserve Your touch/I know I need it so much/I can’t reach out to You/But I know You’re reachin’ out to me.” ‘Guide Me’ uses strings and arrangements by Dave Davidson. This closing song reminds us that we should fully depend on God regardless of our circumstances: “When I stand on mountains high/I need Thee/When I cross the valley wide, I cry to Thee/For I know the only place I will find true endless grace is at Your feet/Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit/I need Thee/Every hour I pray.”
Aaron and Amanda Crabb are both wonderful vocalists whose voices blend well together. Another strength of this album is that musically it spans many genres, including country, Southern Gospel, adult contemporary, and inspirational. This great album clearly points listeners to God. A theme verse for it is Luke 6:36. It tells us: “Show mercy just as your Father shows mercy.” I’m rating MERCY 90%. For more info visit: www.differencemedia.org, www.turningpointpr.com, or contact Aaron and Amanda on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/aaronandamandacrabb?fref=ts