CD Review: Crabb Family (Blur The Lines)

RATING: 4 1/2 Stars

Label: Clear Cool Music
Producers: Bubba Smith and the Crabb Familiy

Song Titles: “Friend Of God,” “Redeemer,” “One Day,” “Holding Out Hope To You,” “I Go To The Rock,” “Shout To The Lord,” “Nothing But The Blood,” “Call On Jesus,” “Champion Of Love,” “Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus,” “I Can’t Live A Day,” “I’d Rather Have Jesus,” and “Amigo De Dios (Friend Of God)”

With Blur The Lines, the Crabb Family chose their favorite songs from different musical styles. You’ll hear Praise and Worship songs, Hymns, Southern Gospel classics, Black Gospel classics, and songs that were chart topping hits for CCM artists in recent years. Is it possible to take music from diverse styles and create a collection that doesn’t jump randomly from one style to the next? Let’s find out.

“Friend Of God” kicks off the project with a busy, driving rhythm featuring Adam Crabb on the lead vocal. The vocals finish up with the song about four minutes in, but the music carries on for another minute and a half. There’s a cool production effect on the sustained chord at the end. Someone found the resonance control. Next up is “Redeemer,” a song that has been recorded originally (and written) by Nicole C. Mullen and covered more recently by Ivan Parker. It’s much more relaxed than “Friend Of God,” allowing Jason Crabb to do his thing. “One Day” is a soulful interpretation of a classic hymn featuring Kelly Bowling. The melody is completely different, but the words are the same. The instrumentation is drums and bass with an occasional interjection from a B-3 organ, guitar, or harmonica. It kicks into double time before all is said and done. Next it’s back to a ballad as Aaron Crabb covers the Michael English song “Holding Out Hope To You.” Terah Penhollow sings a mid-tempo, soulful version of Dottie Rambo’s “I Go To The Rock,” followed by a slow version of “Shout To The Lord” featuring Jason.

By now, we can see that while the sources for the songs are diverse on Blur The Lines, the instrumentation and vocal stylings tie it all together. There’s also a pattern of alternating the more energetic tracks with slower arrangements. A back porch intro with guitar in the left channel of the stereo mix and soft vocals singing along in the right gives way to a modern, peppy arrangement of “Nothing But The Blood” featuring Aaron. Then it’s time for another ballad. Kelly and Terah share vocal duties for a cover of another Nicole C. Mullen song, “Call On Jesus.”

Featuring Adam, “Champion Of Love” breaks the alternating pattern by following “Call On Jesus” with another slow anthem. Jason cuts loose on a no holds barred, Andrae Crouch classic next called “Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus.” The CD closes with “I Can’t Live A Day” (featuring Terah, Kelly, and Aaron), “I’d Rather Have Jesus” (featuring Jason), and a Spanish version of “Friend Of God” which opened the CD.

With Blur The Lines, the Crabb Family has successfully taken a group of songs and blurred the stylistic lines enough to make them work together in a musical sense. In most cases, the songs resemble their original context enough that people will make the connection. (“One Day” got blurred the most.) At the same time, listeners familiar with the original versions will immediately realize it’s a different artist putting their own stamp on the songs.

If hearing Crabbified versions of classic songs from various genres appeals to you, you’ll want to check out Blur The Lines. On the other hand, if you are disappointed to hear the Crabbs have moved on from the musical vein of their early hits like “Please Forgive Me,” there’s a strong chance you’ll feel the lines have been blurred too much. My personal opinion is that this album was the next logical step after Driven. The live CD recorded last year at Brooklyn Tabernacle hinted at this project as well.

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Category CD Reviews

David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both and David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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