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.
* “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.