CD Review: Surrender, by Adam Crabb

I put off reviewing this one all last year, but it seems to be perfect timing now that Adam has been hired by the GVB. This solo outing shows him exploring similar progressive ground to his brother Jason Crabb—country/pop with a gospel twist. As usual, I’ll present my thoughts in “Likes/Dislikes” format.

Likes

* “I’ve Got a Right to Pray” — Adam is at his best when he’s rocking that swampy gospel sound with his signature harmonica work. I also loved the jazz organ’s contribution. But most of all, I just love the message of the song (originally recorded by the Paynes and then the Crabb Family in 1999). It’s a spirited application of the story of Daniel to contemporary stifling of religion in the public square. “I wonder what old Daniel would say if he were alive today?”

*As worship songs go, the title track isn’t too bad. It has a pleasant Matt Redman vibe. I’d like to hear Chris Tomlin sing it.

* “Why I Am Who I Am” — A heart-felt, well-written ballad about setting an example for our children. “They’re why I do what I do, why I am who I am.”

* “Higher Ground” breathes new life into the familiar hymn, with some help from Gene McDonald! You’ve never heard such a rockin’ version of this one.

* “Hey Now” may sound a little too much like Eric Church’s “Homeboy,” but hey, that song was wicked cool so why complain?

* “Sometimes He Whispers” starts off slow but builds to a strong chorus:

Sometimes he’s water to the thirsty

Sometimes he’s fire all-consuming

Sometimes his voice is louder than thunder

Oh, but sometimes, sometimes he whispers

Dislikes

*Inserting “Amazing Grace” into “That Whosoever Was Me.” It’s been done, and done, and done. Everyone stop it!

* “Sometimes God Allows” — A promising lyrical hook is wasted by a dull melody that doesn’t allow any lyrical impact to come through.

* “Jehovah Jireh” — Again, very poor melody. Particularly awkward cadencing on the verses and bridge.

*Kids’ choir kicking off “Hey Now” did not work. At all.

*Several songs that I’m struggling to remember and critique by name because… they just weren’t that memorable.

Final thoughts: While Adam has a good voice, he’s not as powerful a soloist as his brother Jason. The good side of this is that he has the ability to blend better with a group, as Bill Gaither has noticed. However, the best thing about Adam is his open heart for God and for people, and that definitely comes through on this project. Anyone who is already a big fan of the Crabbs or of Jason’s solo work will want to pick it up. However, more casual fans who are more interested in really memorable new songs may prefer to download select tracks on iTunes.

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5 Comments

Filed under 3.5 star, CD Reviews

5 responses to “CD Review: Surrender, by Adam Crabb

  1. I completely disagree that Adam is not as strong a vocalist as Jason. Jason may be the more compelling overall performer, but Adam’s got some nice subtleties and nuances that Jason doesn’t. I also feel like Adam communicates the lyrics – particularly in ballads – stronger than his older brother. Both are phenomenal, but neither is “better” than the other, IMHO.

    • Well, if I’m being completely honest, NEITHER of them is my particular cup of tea. However, I agree that Jason can be “too much” sometimes, so in that respect Adam’s more laid-back sound is a plus. I was using the word “strong” a bit more literally to refer to vocal power or “punch.” Jason sounds more like a solo artist to my ears. I also would say that to me Jason is at his best when communicating a quiet song. See “Ellsworth.”

      • We’ll just have to agree to disagree here. Jason soars and really connects with people on his power-anthems, a la “Through the Fire,” “Somebody Like Me,” Love Is Stronger,” “I’m Amazed,” and “Greater Is He.”

        I never understood the appeal of “Sometimes I Cry,” and honestly, “Ellsworth” bores the snot out of me.

      • Hey, you won’t hear me arguing the fact that Jason soars on songs like “Through the Fire!”

        I don’t like “Sometimes I Cry” either, but I blame that on the song. “Ellsworth” is a different story though. I personally gravitate toward story-songs that have specific, vivid imagery, and that song really brought its characters and scenes to life for me. Plus I really like what Gordon did with the piano on that Gaither video.

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