Aaron Crabb, former member of the Crabb Family southern gospel group with 16 # 1 national radio songs, split off to perform with his wife, Amanda, in 2007. On April 23, they released their fourth album, Mercy, the first to be recorded with Difference Media.
The album mixes southern gospel music with melodic, soothing country – minimal twang with a powerful message.
The title – Mercy – comes from the first song "If I'm Guilty." "If I'm guilty, let me be guilty of too much mercy," Amanda quoted.
"That became the theme of the record," she told Difference Media. "God has given us so much mercy in our own lives, in our marriage, in our three children. I want to turn around and give mercy to those in need and to those who don't even know they need mercy."
From decidedly gospel songs like "It's Gonna Rain" to the intentional country song "I'm Learning," the message of mercy shines through. "We really tried to search for songs that are true to who we are, what we believe and experiences we've been through," Aaron said.
"Tribulation, patience, and experience bring about Hope."
The song "Take Him To The Place" carries deep significance for Amanda. In this video, she tells how she wrote it after a visit to Jerusalem's West Wall, near the traditional site of the Holy of Holies.
At the wall – a sacred place for Jewish and Christian prayer – she prayed "God, I'm ready to be creative for your glory again." She testified that, while touring Jerusalem, she heard Jesus say "Amanda, come forth," as in the story of Lazarus.
"We have all felt a piece of us die," say the lyrics. "Take him to that place, and watch dead things live again." The mercy of Christ waters the deserts within, awakening new growth in mind, body, and soul.
As MusicScribe Blog's David Bruce Murray points out, "If I'm Guilty" and "God Loves The Broken" stand out as excellent vocal portraits of Aaron and Amanda.
The lyrics in "If I'm Guilty" set a high standard for southern gospel. Award-winning songwriters Tony Wood, Don Boythress, and Gerald Crabb (Aaron's father) teamed up to write an articulate call for more mercy in a church far too known for judgment.
Murray does not restrict his comments to praise, however. Many of the songs fall short of his standard, and tend to drag. The album does favor a slower tempo, and Murray's comment on the CD cover – that Aaron and Amanda "look like they've just been told their favorite dog has died" – bears some merit.
Lyrics to "If I'm Guilty:"
It's so easy to criticize when someone else fails,
It's so easy to see faults in them when we overlook ourselves.
Lord knows I'm not perfect and I don't deserve to throw rocks at anyone.
So if there's a mistake you see in me, let it be this one.
If I'm guilty, let me be guilty of too much mercy.
If I'm going to be wrong, let me be wrong for treating someone else right.
I don't want to push down, what I want to do now
Is help a brother back on his feet.
If I'm guilty let me be guilty of too much mercy.
So many moments I'm busy taking when I should be giving.
Too many moments I'm busy talking when I should be listening.
I need to make it more about others, time after time.
I have found the simple truth is whatever you give, it's going to come back around.