BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Jason Crabb: Somebody Like Me
By Hannah Goodwyn
Jason Crabb is known for his countryfied-soulful voice and the Southern Gospel music he made with his brothers and sisters as part of The Crabb Family ensemble. Going in solo in 2007 seemed like the next step for the Gaither Vocal Band favorite, and the Christian music community thinks so too (Crabb received six Dove Award nominations this year, including Artist of the Year).
Recently, I sat down with Jason in Nashville to chat about his Dove Award nominations, the debut album, his solo career, and the music he really wants to make.
Hannah Goodwyn: What was your reaction to getting six Dove Award noms this year as a solo artist?
Jason Crabb: OK... Can I be country? (laughs)
Goodwyn: Yes, of course.
Crabb: I grew up in Beaver Dam, Kentucky, and one of the shows we watched was Dukes of Hazard or Andy Griffith. And I kind of feel like one of them, “Golly, or shizam!” Like, how did this happen? Seriously, I’m, it blows my mind, really. But I’m very thankful, because I give all the credit and glory to God for anything that should ever happen that’s great, because I know who I am to Daddy. It’s no good, but you know, I also am a witness that if you surrender your heart to the Lord and you surrender your life to Him, not only your sins but your life and fellowship with him, He creates paths for you that just blow your mind. So I think they might have made a mistake on the Grammy, but we ain’t gonna tell them.
Goodwyn: What have you learned the most transitioning from the group to soloist?
Crabb: Well, it’s quieter on the bus. (laughs)
You know, I miss my siblings so bad. I miss them a lot. A lot of times I crave to be on stage with them. So, who knows, one day we’re liable to do a record together and tour about 30 cities, do that.
Crabb: Yeah, that kind of thing. It would be fun to do, you know. But there’s a lot to learn. There’s a lot of responsibility, a lot of chores and a lot of different things passed down that had to be taken care of, and now I have to make sure that all of that’s done. We have a good team. I have a great team, great management, great road managers and all of that, that actually are working right now for the next thing that we’re getting ready to do. So with that said, I do miss them in a lot of ways. Sometimes I’d really love to hear some of that harmony that they can only do.
Goodwyn: Is it strange singing by yourself?
Crabb: Not now. At first, it might have been a little bit, but now I just go out there.
Goodwyn: Taking one note at a time?
Crabb: Yes, that’s it. I’m going to remember that. Take it one note at a time.
Goodwyn: Sounds like a song title.
Crabb: Yeah, "even if this is a wrong one, we’re taking one of them at a time!"
Goodwyn: Are you glad to be labeled Southern Gospel?
Crabb: You know what, I love Southern Gospel music. And that’s where I grew up, and that’s my heart. There are so many great groups in southern Gospel music that are my friends and that have taught me so much over the years. You know with this record, I really didn’t go after a certain style or a certain feel or a certain anything. I just let the songs do it, and some of them fit even in a country format.
Goodwyn: Do you want to keep going into the other genres?
Crabb: Oh, absolutely. I want to venture out into every genre . . . .
Goodwyn: Are you going to do, Jason Crabb, The Rock Album?
Crabb: Who knows, you know? I love all different styles of music, and it’s just so funny, it’s like, “Well, you gotta be one thing, or you gotta be the other.” I’m like, “No, I’m just going to make music.” And make sure that it’s good lyrics and go from there. I think I drive people crazy, especially people that are trying to push my record. You know, it’s like, hey we’re building a foundation here. But that’s OK. I get that.
Goodwyn: What’s a good lyric to you?
Crabb: A good lyric to me is something that not only speaks to my situation where I’m at, or even the help, of where my help comes from to get out of that situation, but also something to challenge me. I think if it has one of those three factors. “Jesus Christ can help you through whatever you need to,” but it also challenges us to be better. I think that’s something today that we need more than anything, is something that challenges us. I’m not saying that’s preaching to us, that scolds us, but that challenges us. I can hear a lyric about how a Dad spent time with us kids. He didn’t mean to, in the song, but it challenged me. That makes me want to go home and get my two little girls, Ashley and Emma, and just jump on the trampoline out back with them, and take them to the park or whatever. So I think that type of thing is where I’m at. I’m real all about family right now, because I guess I’m sensitive to that.
Goodwyn: For music lovers who haven’t heard your album, what song should they start with?
Crabb: Wow, I would start with “Somebody Like Me” because that’s a great message. Whether you’re young or old, I think the style of this song still might strike a taste flavor there that you would like. And then I would go next to “Walk on Water”, and that’s the first and second songs.
Goodwyn: Which one would give them the best picture of who you are if they never heard you before?
Crabb: Well, if you were 40 and over, “Walk on Water”. And if you are younger, I’d say “Somebody Like Me”.
Goodwyn: It’s divided by age?
Crabb: Yeah. It’s a sad thing these days, but that’s the way it’s always been. I’m having to battle that ugly monster right now, you know? I’m in the middle of this thing. Where we’re playing to a lot of kids, and they’re loving it. Then also they book us at conventions and other things like that, so we gotta be able to mold with them, and I love it, though. That’s the part of me that I love, because I love the challenge to go in and go, “Man, I gotta pick the right songs and play the right tune, and play the right ways for these people to grasp hold of what we’re doing.” Because if one person leaves and says, “Hey, I wasn’t influenced, “ or “I wasn’t touched or wasn’t challenged,” then we failed. If it was too loud for them, or it was too crazy for them. And I know there’s always going to be that one opinion that you couldn’t help, but there’s some things we can help.
Goodwyn: It gives you a good opportunity to speak to people of all ages.
Crabb: And the elders buy CDs more, so.
Goodwyn: What’s the origin for “Somebody Like Me”?
Crabb: It talks about kind of really what the song is about. The way the song portrays it is like somebody that’s battling alcohol or something like that. Someone’s in a church house, actually a drunk is what the song says. He stumbles in the church house right in the middle of the congregation singing “Amazing Grace”, and it portrays a picture of him coming in to find grace. But he doesn’t find grace, because he finds the judgment of all the people that are sitting around him. And he says, “I feel more love out on the street than I do here.” So he gets up and leaves, and, the chorus... "you think somebody would put their arm around him, or you think somebody would have hit a knee, you think somebody would have practiced what they’ve been preaching", and it says, “He should have been somebody like me.” And so, to sum it all up, I think it challenges the Church, us, as a judgmental kind of people. We look at somebody, and we’ve already got them sized up, and really what are we here for? We’re here to help one another in the good times and the bad. So I think that’s a good message to portray.
Goodwyn: At the end of the day, what’s the takeaway from this album?
Crabb: Well, it’s got a lot of things. I think I’d really like for this record to be a record that what my family listened to when we were driving down the road. Because I remember many times we’d go for Sunday drives, and they’d grab the certain cassettes and certain eight-tracks, whatever, and that’s what we’d listen to. And I remember those moments of singing those songs in the back of the car, driving down the road hearing those songs, and everybody in the car liking it. And I want a record, this record, to be able to do that, but also to speak to the hearts and it be one that they’d listen to in pleasure and also in time of turmoil and hurt. So that’s what I hope happens.
Hannah Goodwyn serves as the Family and Entertainment producer for CBN.com. For more articles, visit Hannah's bio page.
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