There are only two places in the world where a compass does not matter; at the North Pole every way you turn is—south. And at the bottom of the world, there is only one direction to go—north. If we all lived at the ends of the earth there would be no need for “directions.” But since we each reside at the crossroads of left, right and wrong, the best option to find your way is to use a GPS device… Or, simply follow Jason Crabb; he seems to know where he’s going.
“Jason is just different,” smiles long-time manager Phillip Morris, “He sings about things above. In the music business that’s dangerous. There are not many Carrie Underwood’s out there—and for sure only one Jason Crabb. He’s not afraid of belting out a lyric.”
If I had my way, I’d take this from you
But God, He knows what he’s doing *
“Now, there’s nothing wrong with singing about everyday life—we live it everyday,“ Morris explains, “But there is something about focusing on The One who can make our every-day amazing …that’s what Jason does.”
Every life’s a different story
How He led us out of darkness into light
But there’s no way to keep us silent
Every breath’s another chance to testify, testify **
From his Beaver Dam, Kentucky roots, through every city and state he travels, GRAMMY Award winner, Jason Crabb has relied on a rare kind of map. This leather-bound chart of lyrical lines not only helps to navigate the paths he travels, it likewise guides him to chose just the right tracks to record. And despite the twists and turns of every day life, this internal moral compass always seem to point him in a positive direction…whatever the road.
The eldest son of country gospel’s dynastic Crabb Family, Crabb first got his bearings on a small church platform in rural Kentucky. Standing alongside his parents and four siblings, the group’s tight family harmony reverberated past the sanctuary’s back pew, into the hallowed halls of the Grand Ole Opry and eventually onto the stage of Manhattan’s Carnegie Hall. Along the way their rare brand gospel accumulated fifteen number one hits, multiple GRAMMY nominations, and eleven GMA Awards.
Finally, after twenty amazing years of road maps and rehearsals, family patriarch Gerald Crabb handed the keys of the family bus to Jason. And though the clan was a vocal bunch, that silent gesture between father and son said more than words. It was not just an exchange of keys, but an intangible change of key. The father’s mantle and moral compass were now in the hands of the next generation. And the family rolled on… whatever the road.
After passing a few more mile markers and garnering even more awards, each of the Crabb siblings gradually began to consider their individual paths. In time, setting off in every direction, Crabb’s two brothers and two sisters each launched their own exploration into music’s north, south, east and west.
Younger brother Aaron Crabb not only became the founding member of the quartet Canton Junction, both he and wife Amanda also stepped out to create a duo of their own. Eventually those multiple platforms led the couple to a single pulpit. Today, the duo pastors Restoring Hope, a thriving congregation in the Nashville suburb of Hendersonville.
Like his twin brother Aaron, Adam and sister Terah initially formed a band called, Crabb Revival. Then Terah created a little spin-off of her own, eventually leaving the group to pursue the adventures of family and full-time motherhood.
Sister, Kelly, likewise performed her own variation of the theme when she joined her husband Mike Bowling, becoming the newest member of the equally talented gospel clan, The Bowling Family. Finally, not be left out, lead singer Aaron had a “Crabb revival” of his own when he was asked to join the iconic gospel super group, The Gaither Vocal Band.
With his folks retired and his siblings off exploring the four-corners of the world, Jason was left at the crossroads of his career. But though he was surrounded by 360 degrees of choices, he might as well have been standing where the compass doesn’t count; for every musical direction he turned the lyrical theme was the same.
When all is said and all is done
My time on Earth is through
May all my days say one thing
I live this life for You. ***
“Since he set off on his solo career,” Morris leaned in as if to reveal a secret, “Jason has traveled every musical direction an artist can go, yet without compromise.”
With four solo albums to his credit and a new offering to debut September 2015, Crabb has taken the keys of the family bus and accumulated more than just miles. And the numbers are impressive.
Each of his four previous collections have debuted in the Top 10 of his Billboard category; starting with his first self-titled album which stayed on the charts for 77 weeks. Since 2010, the singer’s accolades have been as diverse as the music he performs: Country Recorded Song of the Year, “Somebody Like Me” (2010), Traditional Gospel Recorded Song of the Year, “Go Tell It On The Mountain” (2011), Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year, “Joseph” (2011), Song of the Year, “Sometimes I Cry” (2011), plus both Male Vocalist & Artist of the Year (2012). And in 2013 Crabb earned kudos for Inspirational Album of the Year, Love Is Stronger, Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year, “Satisfied,” as well as Southern Gospel Recorded & Best Performance of the Year, “What The Blood Is For.”
Though the diversity of his artistry is obvious, Crabb has never veered from his map, his leather-bound chart of lyrical lines. And using that scriptural direction as his bearing, he has found himself in some interesting places.
He’s performed at the Choctaw Labor Day Festival with CCM artist Matthew West and co-hosted the Dove Awards with Nicole C. Mullen. He’s been a Celebrity Apprentice on Donald Trump’s NBC hit show, and appeared alongside Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson. Crabb has been a regular at the Grand Ole Opry, hosted his own program on TBN, and had the honor of being a part of Billy Graham’s Farwell Crusade in New York City.
Called, “one of the greatest male voices of any generation,” Crabb nevertheless continues to diversify. Not only is he making his mark on stage and movie soundtracks, he has started to appear in front of the camera, too. Just in the last two years Crabb has lent his voice and face to such cinematic efforts as Uncommon (2014), playing opposite Erik Estrada, and Welcome To Inspiration (2015), featuring Crabb in both the starring role
All of this visibility and notoriety has made Jason Crabb a household name. But when it comes right down to it, this artist knows that the real stars are the names of those inside his own household. With every mile he travels Crabb is not just building a career, he’s raising a family. And when those miles put added distance between him and the house he holds so dear, the sacrifices along the way are the stuff songs are made of.
We’ll cry tears when we are happy
We’ll laugh out loud when we face our fears
We’ll weather any weather
‘Cause we’re better when we’re together ***^
“For the longest time my amazing wife Shellye could not get pregnant, “ Crabb remembers. “Then we had two miscarriages. It was a difficult season. We prayed, we cried. Then we prayed some more. And in His time, God gave us Ashleigh and Emma, the joys of our lives.”
“Eventually when our tour dates started growing as fast as the girls, they started calling me on the road. ‘Daddy, please come home. You can get a job here in town. We want you here more.‘ It tugged at my heart a little.
“But now that they are older and understand what I do, and why, they want to tag along; go out on the road with me and experience the adventure. They’re just starting to see what I do firsthand. And its fun for us all when they get to take the stage with me.”
With his children’s generation on his mind, Crabb has added yet another facet to his diversified journey; author. Attempting to point today’s young, impressionable minds in the right direction, he has mapped out a ten book series looking at the Ten Commandments from a kid’s point of view. “…And the narrator guiding the kids though the journey is, of course,“ [chuckles], “a little crab.”
After all of the diversified projects of this TV host, actor and author, the mainstay of Jason Crabb’s repertoire remains his music. And if, as they say, “everything you do prepares you for everything you do,” then Crabb’s latest studio effort, titled, Whatever The Road, promises to be a mature, multi-directional effort; a lyrical sampling of all the miles, memories, detours and destinations this artist has experienced so far.
Due to release September 18, 2015, this collection’s ten tracks of inspiration will take you to the crossroads of life’s 360 degrees of choice and compel you towards that moral compass that always points the right way…Whatever The Road.
I’ve seen some crazy things, looked like coincidence
Stuff that shouldn’t have happened in the natural, didn’t make sense
Granddaddy used to say, the good things he couldn’t explain
So don’t try to understand everything
God works in mysterious ways ***^*
Produced by Jason Ingram, Paul Mabury and Terry Hemmings, Whatever The Road is Crabb’s fifth solo album and the first with his new label Reunion Records, a division of Provident/Sony Music. By the palpable energy of everyone involved in the project this collection promises to be another chart topper.
“When we were trying to find a title for the album,” Crabb explained, “we all pored through the lyrics. When we got to the song, ‘He Knows What He Is Doing,’ our A&R gal, Jordyn Thomas, came across a double-line in the bridge. It was simple, yet it said it all; ‘whatever the road.’
“It was perfect. Whatever the road, God knows what He’s doing. I can’t wait for people to hear it.”
Not long after the new album’s christening. Jason got a call from his ol’ stompin’ grounds in Kentucky. To his surprise the artist was invited to take part in yet another christening—of sorts.
The request came from his hometown, Beaver Dam; (a place not much bigger than a real beaver’s efforts). In fact its so small the community only has two claims to fame: it is the birthplace of favorite son Jason Crabb and it is the location of the new, state-of-the-art entertainment venue, the Beaver Dam Amphitheater.
Having already played host to artists like Merle Haggard and Aaron Tippin, it seemed only natural that the theater would invite their most notable neighbor back for a special concert. Of course, he was honored by the July 23, 2015 invitation. But when he arrived for the event, rolling down its old familiar road, Crabb had no idea how much he, and the town map, were about to change.
It happened somewhere during the course of his performance; first, the amphitheater stage filled up with members of the local city commission. Then, out of nowhere the music stopped, and Mayor Paul Sandefur stepped into the theater spotlight. “We are thrilled to have Jason come home for this concert,” he announced, “But we are even more thrilled to show him how proud we are of him and his work.”
Holding up an object for the hometown crowd to see, a wave of applause and whistles filled the venue. As the echo traveled throughout the hall, the mayor, beaming with pride, turned toward Crabb and handed him the item. The gift was altogether unexpected.
Placed in the musician’s hands was a green aluminum street marker, boasting white reflective lettering; the kind usually displayed on a pole, at the corner of a street. The sign itself was so common that Jason no doubt glimpsed a version of it as a boy peering out the windows of the old family bus. But the marker in his hands was far from ordinary, for this one would signify the name of the street connecting the town with its new theater. And it would bear the name of a man who seemed to already know where he’s going…. JASON CRABB DRIVE.
Everybody has a message they are sending
Everybody’s living Life Oh, so loud
I only have one chance to make a difference
And I don’t want to be just an empty sound ***
If we all lived at the ends of the earth there would be no need for directions. But since we each reside at the crossroads of left, right and wrong, the best way to find your way is check the street signs… Or, simply listen to Jason Crabb; his music is a kind of compass. It will point you in a positive direction… whatever the road.