Audio Review: Jason Crabb – “Unexpected”

Audio Review: Jason Crabb – “Unexpected”

Unexpected
Produced by Jay DeMarcus
Daywind Records
www.jasoncrabb.com
Format: CD & Digital
Release Date: April 20, 2018

Format Reviewed: Digital Preview (provided by label)

Tune-O-Meter: Low

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

SONG TITLES: Expect The Unexpected (Jason Crabb/Jimmy Yeary/Tony Wood) / Day One (Chris Stevens/Gloria Gaynor/Jason Crabb) / Chose To Be My Friend (with Gary LeVox) (Gerald Crabb) / Mercy We Can’t Go Beyond (Don Koch/Jason Crabb/Jay DeMarcus) / Let It Be Love (with Kaya Jones) (Jason Crabb/Kenna West/Michael Farren) / Short Are The Years (Michael Boggs/Neil Thrasher/Bryan White) / Washed By The Water (Dave Barnes/Jason Crabb/Jordan Reynolds) / He Made You (with Sonya Isaacs) (Al Babcock) / Love Will Have The Final Word (Jason Crabb/Michael Farren/TonyWood) / The Love In Your Heart Knows The Way (Chadley Brasfield/Jason Crabb/Ronnie Bowman)

After an attempt at broader exposure via Essential Records, Jason Crabb returns to Daywind Records (former label home of the Crabb Family) for his latest release, Unexpected. Working with producer Jay DeMarcus (Rascal Flatts, Michael English, the Martins), we get lots of high-energy uptempto numbers, powerful ballads, and Crabb’s trademark soulful vocals throughout.

“Expect The Unexpected” is an aptly-titled opening track, as Crabb and DeMarcus have crafted an album that delivers several unexpected moments, such as a duet with DeMarcus’ Rascal Flatts bandmate, Gary LeVox, on “Chose To Be My Friend,” a moving power ballad about Christ’s decision to become a living sacrifice. Kaya Jones likewise gets some duet time on “Let It Be Love,” another solid ballad, while Sonya Isaacs makes an appearance on “He Made You.”

That doesn’t mean the entire album is ballads. “Washed By The Water” and “Love Will Have The Final Word,” as well as the opening track, are all catchy and bouncy uptempo numbers that allow Crabb to have some fun. There seems to be a noticeable Michael English influence throughout the album, especially on “Mercy We Can’t Go Beyond,” which hearkens back to English’s “There Is A Love” with it’s energy and horn arrangement (this is not unsurprising, as DeMarcus is a long-time English collaborator).

Mid-way through the album is “Short Are The Years,” a song that really stuck out to me and struck a chord. As a father of three with a typical hectic schedule of school events, sports, cub scouts, etc., it’s easy to feel like these days are taking forever. Hearing the words, “Long are the days but short are the years” hit me in the heart (and gut), a call for parents to realize that while your days may be filled with stress, it will pass far quicker than you expect. This would be a wise choice for both a gospel and even country radio release (take note, Daywind!!).

On all of the projects I’ve heard produced by Jay DeMarcus, the production has been incredibly solid, and this album is no exception. It has a modern sound without sounding too processed or digital. The mix is well-balanced, and the vocals sound natural and not over-tuned.

Readers know I am VERY picky and critical of music in general, and giving a 5-star rating is virtually unheard of from me, but I honestly can’t find a single complaint with this album. This is one of the best gospel albums I’ve heard in a long time.

Overall
5 out of 5

5

Excellent
5 out of 5
Category CD Reviews, Reviews

Kyle Boreing

Kyle has been writing for MusicScribe since 2008. He is a musician, producer, arranger, and occasional quartet singer, who pays way too much attention to recordings. He is an alumni of Stamps-Baxter School of Music and has shared the stage with many different artists. He also really likes movies that are "so bad they're good." Visit his website at www.kyleboreing.com, or follow him on Twitter @kyleboreing.

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