Gerald Crabb was born in the small rural town of Rosine, Ky. As a young boy, Crabb was passionate about music and was always in church. His mom taught him how to pray and made sure he attended services. He sang for the first time in public at age five, at a church in Louisville, Ky. By age 11, Crabb was playing the guitar and then preaching by age 17.
When Crabb was just nine years old, George Esterly – a blind man from Louisville – came to his house and brought his SG Gibson red guitar and taught Crabb how to play it. He loved it so much that he never looked back. It wasn’t long before Crabb was singing on a television program called “Country Music Jubilee” on Saturday nights.
Over the years, God has blessed Crabb with a thriving ministry and a compelling career in music as a singer, songwriter, publisher, and producer. He says he is a man that has been blessed, and he has no problem telling others just how blessed he is. God took a simple, ordinary man from the backwoods of Kentucky and used him to touch the hearts of millions of people around the world. He is a living testimony of how God can take your circumstances and use them for His glory. And if God can do that for him, He can certainly do it for others.
In 1994, Gerald Crabb founded the internationally-known group, the Crabb Family, and led it to a whirlwind success, achieving many No. 1 songs, awards and opportunities to sing on platforms across the United States and abroad. He says he is so proud of all his children and grandchildren and all they have accomplished in their lives for the Lord.
Crabb has appeared in churches, on Gaither Homecoming videos, on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), on the 700 Club, and on Country Music Television (CMT). He has also performed at Carnegie Hall, the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and the Brooklyn Tabernacle.
This prolific writer has penned more than 475 songs, with 24 resulting in No. 1 positions on radio charts. From January 1998 until December 2006, one or more of his songs held the No. 1 position on the national Southern Gospel chart for 37 months out of a 107-month period.
In 2011, Crabb was awarded song of the year for “Sometimes I Cry,” recorded by Jason Crabb, and songwriter of the year at the 42nd annual Dove Awards. He has won a total of six Dove Awards and has also won songwriter and publisher of the year awards with BMI and two performance awards with Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), which are the awards every songwriter wants to win because they are based totally on merit and not voted upon.
Many of the songs performed by the Crabb Family were written by Crabb, including “He Came Looking for Me,” “Please Come Down To Me,” “Please Forgive Me,” and “Don’t That Make You Wanna Go.” He says he is probably best known for “Through the Fire,” which was featured on the album “Glory Train” by Randy Travis. This project won in the best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album category in the 51st Grammy Awards. It was also featured on the 52nd annual Grammy Award winning album, “Jason Crabb” by Jason Crabb. He has received numerous Dove Awards over the years as well as several Diamond Awards, winning Dottie Rambo Songwriter of the Year several times as well as The J. D. Sumner Living Legend Award.
Not just a singer, songwriter and preacher, Crabb has also released a book of personal and powerful testimonies of how God has used the song “Through the Fire” to change lives. He says Bill Gaither once advised him to never do a concert without the song in the lineup.
Despite all of the accolades, Crabb believes that his greatest gift comes from seeing a soul get saved. That is what he truly lives for. He loves to sing and write, but preaching the word is where he finds the most enjoyment and fulfillment.
Although his ministry takes him across the nation, Crabb prefers to live in a small town and makes his home in Ripley, Miss., with his wife Debi. He says that his wife is God’s greatest reward in his life.
“She loves me, stands beside me, and I thank God for her,” Crabb points out. “There is no way that I could do what I do without Debi’s love and support, and another thing that is so awesome is that people really love her too.”
Two years ago, something happened that changed Crabb’s life forever. He had been preaching a revival and became ill. He drove all the way home from the revival and ate supper, then he drove to a hospital in Tupelo, Miss.
After drawing blood, the doctor informed him that he had indeed had a heart attack. The main artery to his heart was 85 percent blocked, as well as two other arteries. He went on to have triple-bypass surgery and states he is blessed to be alive.
“You don’t stare death in the face and it not change you,” Crabb says. “You change your priorities. I truly want to hear God say you have been faithful in a few things and well done.”
One of the life lessons he says he has learned came through reading Revelation 4:11 and seeing that verse in a new light.
“We are created for God’s pleasure, but we go through life pleasuring ourselves,” Crabb explains. “When we get to that place, we don’t treat people like we should, and we don’t treat God right. We develop an all-about-me mentality and what we want. I have hurt a lot of people because I was selfish. I made a commitment from that day forward to please God. If we do that, I believe we won’t have to worry about anything else. I have become a new person since reading this and learned one of my greatest life lessons.”
Gerald Crabb ’s motivation to see souls saved and lives changed keeps him busy performing, writing, preaching and producing. He ministers at numerous concerts, events, camp meetings and revivals throughout the year and occasionally mentors upcoming artists by offering songwriting and music business workshops. If he is ever in your area, drop by and see him. You won’t be disappointed. He truly is a man of many talents and an amazing artist.
By Debbie Seagraves