|Dynamic Duo | Posted April 25, 2013
Aaron Crabb became known during his time performing with his parents and siblings in The Crabb Family. Beginning in 2009, Aaron and wife, Amanda, have shared their hearts and testimonies leading worship in San Antonio, Texas, at Cornerstone Church, home to more than 20,000 active members.
As a recording artist, Aaron does double duty. In addition to working with Amanda, he is lead vocalist for the progressive Southern Gospel quartet Canton Junction (with Matthew Hagee, Tim Duncan, and Shane McConnell).
Aaron and Amanda have twice been nominated for a Dove Award in the Inspirational Album of the Year category, first for their 2008 debut After the Rain, and again for their sophomore CD/DVD release Live at Oak Tree.
While they were attending the 2009 Dove Awards, Amanda got a phone call with frightening news: their little girl, Eva, had fallen from a second-story window. Though everything turned out okay for Eva, Aaron and Amanda learned about the power of music to bring peace when a song alone could calm Eva on that scary night. Both then and through other trials, the couple has experienced first-hand God's mercy. And that is just what they've titled their latest project: Mercy.
The duo's fourth recording, Mercy is their first on new label Difference Media. Aaron and Amanda had a hand in writing seven of the album's 11 songs, and Aaron co-produced the project with Ben Isaacs.
Mercy takes its title from the lead track and surefire hit, "If I'm Guilty." Written by Tony Wood, Don Poythress, and Gerald Crabb, the song has an easy, country-tinged groove. Aaron's vocals and Amanda's supporting vocals highlight the lyrics and their compassion-promoting message. The song sets the stage for the album's thematic focus on God's mercy.
The duo shows their soulfulness on the bluesy Sue C. Smith tune "Somethin' Bout Love." To illustrate Jesus' power to heal, the song references Biblical miracles as well as personal redemption: "It was 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 Savior and the way He saves."
While on a trip to the Holy Land, almost immediately after she placed a prayer slip on the Western Wall, Amanda was inspired to write the powerful "Take Him to the Place." The song reminds us that there is no problem too great for Jesus' mercy, no mistake too terrible for His forgiveness, while urging the listener, "Don't be afraid / Just take Him to the place."
The pair has perfect country voices on "I'm Learning," the first single to Country radio. Amanda sounds terrific when she comes in for her first solo lead of the record. With its melodic chorus, great instrumentation, superb production, and relatable message, the song is an album highlight.
Amanda's performance is touching on the tender "God Loves the Broken," which assures us that we need not approach God with fear or shame: "God loves the broken / His arms are open / There is no shame / There is no blame / Where love is spoken." I enjoy the song's analogy of God as potter, molding and changing our broken pieces, making us whole.
Wisely, Aaron and Amanda follow that emotional moment with worship. "Holy" picks up the pace and sets the stage for the funky, soulful "It's Gonna Rain," which promises an end to spiritual drought: "It's gonna fall, it's gonna flood, it's gonna pour / It's gonna rain / A cloud-bursting glory like we never have seen before / It's gonna rain."
Some of Aaron's most effective vocals and the pair's best harmonies happen on the heartfelt "Without You." You'll find yourself singing in agreement as they declare, "I don't wanna live without You / I don't wanna move without the warmth of Your love." And chances are you'll get misty-eyed when Aaron sings of Jesus, "He don't wanna live without you."
Aaron and Amanda show they can carry more than ballads and mid-tempos with the exuberant "Come On, Come On." Its only flaw is that the fun ends too soon!
Terrific team effort "Reaching Out" is one of the best duets I've heard in a while. Aaron and Amanda's voices are alternately tender and passionate, meshing with and supporting one another perfectly, to lend emotional punch to the message that Jesus' mercy can always reach us, even when we think we are undeserving.
Amanda takes the lead and turns in a jaw-dropping performance to piano and string accompaniment on gorgeous final track, "Guide Me." A hymn-like piece written by Aaron and Amanda, the song's prayer, "Holy Spirit, please guide me," is the ideal way to end a Christian record: leaning on and looking to God.
As Aaron and Amanda Crabb's best album to date, Mercy marks a defining moment in their career. Amanda's emergence from supporting role to co-star establishes the couple as a formidable duo. Additionally, their vocal versatility allows the pair to excel at a variety of styles. As a result, the album is consistently interesting and should have broad appeal.
With its sparkling set of musically diverse songs, Mercy showcases two talented artists while revealing the unfailing hope found in Jesus, whose arms are always ready, reaching out with loving mercy.
Song to Download Now:
"Take Him To The Place" (Get it on iTunes here
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