I had the opportunity to sit down for a little personal time with one of Christian music's favorite artists, Jason Crabb, while he was playing in Kinston, NC this past Friday night. What a great guy. There is nothing about Jason that isn't genuine or honest. He doesn't play a part, he doesn't pretend to be someone in the room and someone else out of the room. What you see is exactly what you get, he speaks from his heart and he speaks his personal truth. I think I could be good friends with this one. Thank you Jason for taking your time, especially so last minute, to just talk honestly about life, the Lord, the music and what truly drives you. I left forever changed Friday night and I thank you for that.
Describe your journey of faith
Well my journey of faith started when I was a young kid. I grew up in the church, my dad was a pastor, grew up a PK (pastor’s kid). Um, there were a lot of twists and turns, we moved to a lot of different churches. He pastored quite a few different churches around, the Church of God is what he pastors. Then we kinda took a trail that was not so positive. My dad got out of church and um, just, things went really downhill, really fast. My parents separated for awhile, the divorced and the my dad remarried, married a lady who a lot of people know. Cathy Crabb. She’s kind of the Crabb Family matriarch so to speak. She had 2 daughters, one of them loved to sing, the other didn’t and that’s how the Crabb Family started, a blended family. My mom still lives back in the same town we grew up in, an incredible woman. Of course a lot of people know my dad was a songwriter for the group and you know, it really was an incredible journey. We traveled on the road for 14 years as a family, then I came off the road with them and I’ve been on the road now traveling for 16 years solo so I’m going into my 31st year on the road with about 170 dates a year.
How do you, in today’s climate and industry, how do you maintain your beliefs and integrity while trying to grow a larger audience?
Well, the thing about it is, there are a lot of things about it you can include yourself in. There are some things, you know, well, let’s put it like this … I remember back into day, you had to go “Okay, does this stage look right for me?” Ok, let me put it like this, do I trust myself in this place? I think that’s the best way to look at it. You have to do that yourself. A lot of times, the problem is with artists they look at how other people look at them on that stage. The best way to look at it is“Do you trust yourself” in that place? Because if you do, of course, follow the steps of Jesus, because He was the only perfect One but goodness, He sat with prostitutes and tax collectors and the people in the city were going around asking “Who’s this man sitting with unclean folk?” Well who’s to say who’s unclean? The ones making the judgement sounded to me like they might be the most questionable. You know what I’m saying? So, I think the best way is to just look and see if you honestly have that judge of character on yourself and say, no matter what anyone else thinks, “God opened this door for me” and decide if it’s a door He opened for you and if it’s not, ask yourself if you trust yourself in that place. He’s not going put you anywhere He doesn’t trust you or you don’t trust yourself.
So you have a new song out with Dylan Scott called “Good Morning Mercy”, tell us about this one.
Dylan’s a good one, I saw my buddy just got nominated for an ACM Award this week. Very excited about that for him. I am very proud of him, if anyone deserves it, he does. I love how he involves his family in his music. Country music to me is a really neat platform of music. Country music, if it’s authentic country, then it involves many things, it’s kind of like a patchwork quilt. It’s like here’s my wife, here are my children, the town I grew up, here’s the farm, here’s grandma, here’s grandpa and it’s all the little pieces that tell the story. It’s family, friends, faith, my country, our veterans, my experience … they’re all part of the story. Those things create the most beautiful quit. Then there’s a different kind of country, the commercial side of it, driven more by the sponsors. It’s like “Hey, I love music” but I’m playing the music in angles vs here’s my life. I’ve got an angle for this that I know I can do so the beat’s gonna have to be here, it’s gonna have to appeal to the sponsor and be about the part. You know what I’m saying. It’s very industry driven vs. here’s the authentic. There are those artists like Chris Stapleton and Tyler Childers that you don’t have a question in your mind that they’re singing about what matters to them, what drives them. That’s who Dylan Scott is. He’s that kind of person, he’s refreshing, he’s what we need. It’s nice to be able to do a song with someone like that. This song is something we were both driven to do, the content matters to us.
You have another song out, “Do It For You”. What’s the story there?
Well, there are a lot of stories behind this one. The funny thing is we were writing to create and make sure we have our next single. We were kinda positive that we did and I do believe that the song we had will be a single. We already had one and were gonna go with it. The label said why don’t we write a couple more just to make sure this is exactly what we want. So my publicist got with another publishing company and said “You bring some of your writers and we’ll bring some of our writers and we’ll have a great big writer’s circus camp kinda thing.” We have 12 different writers that showed up in one day and under one roof in Nashville and we all went into different rooms. My goal was to go 30 min in this room while they were writing, 30 minutes in this room, 30 minutes in that room and feel the way the song was going. I was with Jay, we were writing, had a great song and me and Phil, one of my very favorite writers, not one hour into the write comes in and says “We’re finished with this song, I want you to come of listen to it and see what you think” and I didn’t even get to get in there yet. I went in there and went, “I don’t know how we’ll beat this song.” I just knew this was the right song and I told them that. This is the single. I just knew it, it felt right and it was. So many people need encouragement right now, they can’t see past their current situation and circumstance. We’re people of emotion, we make so many decisions based on how we feel and what’s around us at the moment and sometimes if we don’t have that glimpse of hope, it seems like a doomsday. But, when someone walks up and you’re in that situation and says “Hey look, I’ve been just where you’re at, I know what you’re going through but I also know the God that made a way for me and if you need that highway through the sea, He’ll do it. If you need that mountain to be moved out of your way, He’s the One to move it and He’s the God of all miracles. There ain’t nothin’ He can’t do. If He did it for me, He can do if for you.
What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
Hmmm … you know, this might sound very weird because of what I do, but when I’m in the truck, I very seldom listen to music. I love silence. When I do turn on music, it’s usually the old country stuff, you know. This is really funny because I tried to explain this the other day when I was doing a tv talk show and I know it’s not aired yet and I’m gonna get killed for it (laughs) but we were talking about worship and what it means to me and when is your alone time with God? I said “Y’all are gonna laugh and think I’m crazy and I’ll get letters for this, but there’s something that happens when I listen old familiar country music.” It takes me to a place of family and thankfulness and I know it’s not every country song, I’m not saying that but there are certain songs that take me there that make me go “God, thank You for my upbringing. Thank You for this wonderful lfe. Thank You for my family.” Isn’t that crazy? You remember that Michael Bolton song, “When I’m Back on My Feet Again” … that was an incredible “man in the mirror” kinda thing. There are songs that make you look deeper.
God has a unique way of redeeming our past What song of yours demonstrates the unique way He’s redeemed you?
Hmmm, boy. There is one song called “I Will Love You” that I recorded some time ago. It says:
Angels see you face to face
If I could I'd take their place
And pour out my heart to you
But what they don't understand
Is to know your grace first hand
How it feels to love like I do.
Yes you bring me to my knees with your kindness
Theres nothing that I can hold back
The thing that got me with that song is that angels are created with choice and they chose the Lord. They chose to be there. It’s different when you’ve experienced the grace of God.They’ve never experienced His grace. Only we have. Only we have been through self-inflicted hell, selfish ways to where we have just failed ourselves and God comes and wraps His arms around you and loves us back and redeems us. Only us as humans can worship in grace and know what forgiveness and love are all about. So, that songs gets me a lot. There’s a song my dad wrote awhile ago called “Shepherd’s Call”. It’s an old tune, one of the best he’s ever written. “There on that ledge one step would have ended it all. But I felt the hand, and I heard the Shepherd's call” and that it doesn’t put you right into a place … it’s truth. It’s just truth. I should have fallen actually, maybe I was going over the edge and He just grabbed me. I’d ask the reader to not judge me on this statement, but just hear my heart in it, but when Jesus told the disciples, I forget exactly who He was talking to, He said “leave the ships and leave the nets”. They said “Let me go home and tell my family bye” and He said “No, let’s leave that too, it’s time to go” and one of the hardest things is that my youngest daughter is going to go to prom pretty soon, she’s gonna be all dressed up and I’m gonna be on the road. Ball games, you know things, things and moments I’ve missed. That’s the hardest thing so I feel like the road gets a lot of me and my family gets, I don’t want to say the left overs because when I’m home, I try to give them all of me, but they’re all mine. My gosh, I love my family so much. I’m trying to wade through the balance of life, it’s so tough. That’s the hardest part.
Do you have a new album on the way?
I have a new EP coming out that I”m very excited about, has some great songs on there. There’s a song on there that will probably be the next single called “Hallelujah Story”, man people just love it. You don’t have to introduce it or say anything, the song introduces itself. It’s coming soon so just watch the social media pages for the official announcement.
Head over to his website, www.jasoncrabb.com and connect with him on social media using @jasoncrabbmusic. Download and stream his music and be sure to purchase his merchandise. You know, in reality, the big corporations and sponsors don't stand behind Christian artists like they do mainstream artists so they depend on your support.