Aaron & Amanda Crabb appreciate the power of music. They’ve seen it usher thousands into the presence of God as worship leaders and they’ve seen it calm their tiny daughter in the emergency room following a horrific accident. A song can have tremendous impact on a single heart or culture at large. With their new album, Mercy, the couple unleashes a powerful collection of songs that both entertain and inspire.
Co-produced by Aaron and Ben Isaacs, the critically-acclaimed Mercy features six songs written or co-written by the husband and wife duo, along with contributions from award-winning tunesmiths Gerald Crabb, Don Poythress, Tony Wood, and Sue C. Smith, among others. In addition, the project has already helped earn four 2013 Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Award nominations for Aaron & Amanda, as well as a Vocal Duo nomination from the Inspirational Country Music Association.
Inspired by the lyric of "If I’m Guilty," Mercy could not be a more apt title. "The message is so true," Amanda says of the song—the couple’s latest mainstream country single. "'If I’m guilty, let me be guilty of too much mercy.' That became the theme of the record. 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."
Another of the album’s many highlights, "Take Him to the Place," is a beautiful ballad penned by Aaron & Amanda that originated during a trip to the Holy Land. The song, which has received one of Christian music’s highest honors—a Dove Award nomination for Song of the Year—was birthed when Amanda wrote a simple prayer and placed it on the Western Wall. "I said, 'God I want to be creative again for Your glory. I want to write songs. I want fresh ideas.' I stuck the prayer in the wall, put my hand on the wall and just said a quiet prayer," she explains. "I backed away because the Jewish people believe you never turn your back to the presence of God. I started hearing these lyrics for the next two hours as I was walking in Jerusalem."
Aaron & Amanda shift musical gears on the decidedly country "I’m Learning," a personal proclamation and a noteworthy mainstream country debut that first caught the ear of radio gatekeepers earlier this year. "We heard it and immediately thought, 'That’s just us.' We’re learning life as we live it and learning the things that matter and the things that don’t," Aaron says. "The most important thing is your family and your relationship with God because things on this earth one day are going to pass away, but He will be forever."
Aaron first became known to Gospel music audiences as a member of the groundbreaking Crabb Family, when the Kentucky native began performing with his siblings as a teen. The group became one of the most popular acts in Southern Gospel music and their progressive sound, distinctive harmonies and compelling songs earned The Crabb Family loyal fans across all musical genres, not to mention more than 10 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards and three GRAMMY© nominations.
In 2007, the group amicably disbanded, providing Aaron and Amanda a chance to record as a duo. They’ve since released three acclaimed projects—2008’s After the Rain, which earned them their first Dove nomination as a duo, 2009’s CD/DVD release Live at Oaktree and 2010’s Love with No End.
Full-time worship leaders since 2009 at San Antonio’s Cornerstone Church, pastored by John Hagee, Aaron & Amanda are willing to be transparent and share their experiences, even when it comes to relating very painful circumstances, such as the abuse Amanda suffered as a child, and more recently, the tragic accident that occurred the night of the 2009 Dove Awards. "We were presenters and we were up for awards that year," Amanda recalls. "I had my phone in my lap and I looked down at 8 pm and our nanny was calling. I answered and I heard a scream on the other end. She said, 'Eva has fallen out of my window!'"
Aaron & Amanda sped to Nashville’s Vanderbilt Hospital while family friend and fellow recording artist Donnie McClurkin stopped the Dove Awards to lead a prayer. "I don’t think I took my foot off the gas. It was all the way to the floor trying to get to the hospital. We beat the ambulance there," Aaron recalls. "We were both just praying. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed as hard in my life."
Two-year-old Eva had fallen 15 feet from a second story window and was covered in blood when they saw her in the emergency room. "She hit an air conditioning unit that probably saved her life because under it was a concrete slab," Amanda explains. "I started laying hands on the doctors and praying for them, for God to allow them to be an instrument for Him. They had to get a CT scan to prove that everything was okay before they could even touch her. They didn’t know if the brain was swelling, if the spine was severed, so they rolled her back for the scan and they couldn’t get it."
Eva was just too hurt and confused to be still for the CT scan so the doctors asked her parents to calm her down. "She wanted us to hold her," Amanda says. "They had her strapped down and she kept saying, 'Get these seatbelts off of me!' She wanted off of that bed and so the only thing I knew to do was to sing. I said, 'Eva do you want us to sing to you?' and she said, 'Yes.' I always thought we were worshippers but until that moment I had no clue what a true heart of worship was."
"All I could do was take my hands off my baby and raise them and tell God: 'You are Holy no matter what.' Eva went from the most enraged moment into the most peaceful sleep. They took the CT scan and it came back clear. There were no broken bones, no internal injuries. Eva left the hospital the next morning and a week later the doctor said, 'This child looks like she scraped herself falling on the sidewalk. She does not look like she’s fallen 15 feet,'" Amanda recalls.
Aaron & Amanda will never forget the presence of God filling the room as they sang and peace washed over their little girl. The musical gifts they had used for years to help and heal others suddenly became a life-changing gift to their own child.
It was a night undoubtedly covered in God’s mercy, and that theme continues to permeate the couple’s lives and the art they create. Whether leading worship at Cornerstone Church, presenting concerts around the country, or simply living each day with their children, Mercy is the song Aaron & Amanda Crabb sing—not just for themselves—but for the whole world to hear.