Prime Cuts: Time Flies, Restore Me, I've Seen What He Can Do
Those who like songs circumscribed within the narrow confines of one specific genre will find "Restore" infuriating. Despite their famed family name which has had been entrenched in the rich history of Southern Gospel music, this new album by Aaron and Amanda Crabb is not simply a Southern Gospel release. Rather, it's a variegated affair in a couple of ways. First, soft shades of rustic country in the veins of Dolly Parton exists conterminously with big swelling keyboard-driven worship tunes to piano-driven AC/pop-country balladry to rousing old Southern Gospel favorites. Second, lyrically, the song canvas not only the Lord's praises but there are songs that worship God through God's creation of family, human relationships and his creation. So, if variety is quintessential to your music enjoyment, "Restore" excels.
"Restore," named after Aaron and Amanda Crabb's recently planted church "Restoring Hope," is birthed out of their this ministry initiative. Thus, you will find songs on this record that chronicle the couple's venture of faith and a worship tunes they have been utilizing in their church services. Moreover, the birth of the couple's fourth child has also been the inspiration of some of the album's more family-oriented tunes. Incidentally, "Restore" is the Crabbs' first new studio recording in three years.
"Time Flies," which opens the new record, is quietly a moving piece. Boasting a light flurry of rustic instruments like acoustic guitar, dobro, and light percussion, the Crabbs certainly capture the nostalgic feel of the song about precious moments passed. Amanda, in particular, is to be congratulated for imbuing each syllable with forethought and emotion that makes this country flavoured ballad a treasured piece. With zesting-sounding harmonica undergirding a swampy "Brother Where Art Thou" undercurrent, Aaron completely shifts gears with his take of the traditional "Two Coats." "The Water" has Tim McGraw stamped all over it. Utilizing poignant narrative vignettes that McGraw loves, "The Water" is a song that begs to be "seen" and not just heard.
The title cut "Restore Me" is the album's nerve center. "Restore Me" is a tender and heartfelt offering where the husband and wife join voices in prayer towards God. "Your Blood" and "Kingdom Come" follow suit as the couple embark in worship territory. One would imagine that these are also soundtracks to the Crabbs' church's worship. Of note is that the bridge of "Kingdom Come" is written by the couple's 9 year-old daughter Eva. Southern Gospel music lovers will adore the Jesus-exalting "I've Seen What He Can Do," the rowdy rattle-the-pews "I've Got the Victory," and the soaring oft covered "He Looked Beyond My Fault."
On the other hand, Aaron tries to be enthused with "Mercy On Me" and "Washed Away" but somehow the songs lack the distinctive hooks to make the enthusiasm contagious. "Restore," is by no means perfect, but it's one that bears identity, depth and width. This album does restore faith in the fact that Christian albums need not be boring.