Through The Fire Ministries
Release Date: February 12th 2016
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- In The Garden
- This Little Light Of Mine (feat. Ashleigh Crabb)
- The Old Rugged Cross
- Battle Hymn Of The Republic
- When We All Get To Heaven
- Glory To His Name
- Lord I’m Coming Home
- It Is Well
- America The Beautiful
- When The Saints Go Marching In
Jason Crabb, the high profile and respected southern gospel singer, who branchced out into CCM last year with the much popular and loved Reunion Records debut album Whatever The Road (read the review here!), is back with a brand new album, entirely of hymns, titled Treasures: Timeless Hymns And Classics. Even if you haven’t listened to gospel or country before, or The Crabb Family, or Jason’s previous solo work, Jason’s new hymn album, with well known as well as obscure hymns, is well worth a listen, as we discover some well thought out and smart renditions of timeless melodies as we praise Jesus because of who He is! Coming back to his roots as southern gospel, and also adding a bit of jazz and soul in the album as well, Jason’s efforts in Treasures: Timeless Hymns And Classics needs to be commended! So let’s dive in to hear how well these hymns stack up to other contemporary hymn albums such as from Amy Grant, Casting Crowns, Mark Schultz and Newsboys.
Maybe it’s because Jason picked mostly obscure hymns, or maybe I’m not as familiar with hymns as I would like to think that I am, but with only 2 really familiar hymns on this album, as well as 3 others I somewhat remember the title, Jason’s album was slightly hard to be immersed in straight away. But after a while, his honesty and earnestness in worshipping Jesus shone through, and despite me not knowing half the songs, I found myself worshipping Jesus along with Jason. The first single “The Old Rugged Cross” is an acoustic guitar prominent worship anthem, where Jason ardently outlines the importance of the cross, that ‘…I will cling to the old rugged cross and exchange it someday for a crown…’, complete with the presence of a flute or piccolo for extra depth; while the next familiar melody, the sombre and reflective acoustic guitar led “It Is Well” carries on the musical theme of a reflective ballad, as Jason eloquently stays true to the original melody, and inspires us with the notion that ‘…when peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul…’, reminding us that with God by our side, our soul can be well and restful in the security of Jesus’ love!
With “In The Garden”, a piano and acoustic guitar only song, originally led by Christy Nockels and covered by Selah, being a ‘hymn’ that I semi-recognised, the album opener provides us with a revealing, personal melody, where Jason passionately conveys that ‘…He walks with me and he talks we with me, and he tells me I am his own…’, while both “This Little Light” and “When The Saints Go Marching In” are songs I’ve heard during my years as a young child in Sunday School. Featuring Ashleigh Crabb on guest vocals, the 2-minute fun filled simple yet catchy hymn speaks about letting our light (aka our faith in Jesus!) shine in any circumstance, even in the darkest of times. It’s a toe tapping, bass guitar prominent track that is one of my favourites, despite the musical similarities to Crowder’s “I Saw The Light”. The album closer “When The Saints Go Marching In” has a jazz and soul atmosphere written all over the 3 minute duration, with a gospel choir added for musical variety as well, as Jason powerfully describes the end times (I didn’t believe it either, until I researched the back story of the song on Wikipedia!), giving us much to ponder, as we ask ourselves ‘where we will we be when we die?’.
“When We All Get To Heaven”, “Glory To His Name” and “Lord I’m Coming Home” make up the middle tracks, and while I may have wanted more familiar tracks in a row, Jason is exemplary in his delivery as he delves into the basis behind our praising Jesus. Though only around 2 minutes each (it’s too short in my opinion, and when I’m just getting into the song, it finishes!), “When We All Get To Heaven” and “Glory To His Name” each have their own plus points. An energetic acoustic guitar led dance number, “When We All Get To Heaven”, also includes harmonica as Jason fervently reminds us that we will praise God forevermore when we all are in heaven, while in the trumpet and keys led gospel infused “Glory To His Name”, we are reminded that we can and should praise God all the time because of the price He paid for us. Though both similar in theme, both track still have their place here.
Previously recorded by The Gaither Band, “Lord I’m Coming Home” is yet another standout in terms of delivery, as Jason ardently and prayerfully recounts how he’s walked the path of sin, stumbled and fallen, but now is coming home, similar in theme to the parable of the prodigal son, and similar in theme to Sidewalk Prophets’ “Prodigal”. Jason also includes two patriotic pro-American melodies here with “Battle Hymn Of The Republic” and “America The Beautiful” rounding out the song selections, and while these songs were tough to fully appreciate at first, in time I grew to understand that God is a God of all nations, and that while He is God of America, He is also God over every other living thing and person, which is what I believe these two songs are trying to convey.
As the follow-up to Jason Crabb’s first album on Reunion Records, Jason is anything but new to the CCM industry, and with the release of his hymns album, Jason has shown us once again his durability, and versatility as an artist, as well as his undeniable passion for Jesus. Treasures: Timeless Hymns And Classics may not contain well known hymns such as “Blessed Assurance”, “In Christ Alone”, “Just As I Am”, “Jesus Paid It All”, “How Great Thou Art”, “Turn Your Eyes” and “Nothing But The Blood”, however it nevertheless shows us that hymns have the lasting power of standing the test of time, no matter who sings them, because of the reason behind why we are singing them! Well done Jason for such a musically different, yet impacting album. Can’t wait for the next full length studio album on Reunion Records of all original songs, whenever that arises!
3 songs to listen to: This Little Light Of Mine, The Old Rugged Cross, It Is Well
RIYL: Rhett Walker Band, Third Day, Steven Curtis Chapman, Carman, Avalon