Music and Madness, Fall 2014 edition is a ball! Dozens of balls! Autographed beach balls flying around the room while the Martins are driving the “Gospel Train”.
In the fabulous Tivoli Theater in downtown Chattanooga, the reinvented tour was launched with fun from start to finish. The tour features Mark Lowry, The Martins, Stan Whitmire and this latest edition brings Jason Crabb. Along with Crabb comes one of music’s most talented bands rounding out the stage.
The crowd settled in with Stan Whitmire bringing attention to center stage as he serenaded on a full sized grand piano. The Martins took the stage reminding everyone to “Count Your Blessings” with their radio hit of the same title. The Martins then broke into an a cappella medley of hymns from their latest project.
As the Martins had directed the audience toward a spirit of worship, Mark Lowry entered the stage with “Our Lord Is Laughing” as the Martins moved to provide background vocals. When Lowry finished, he informed the audience that he was the “Bill Gaither of this program”. With his unique style of moving everyone to chuckle, Lowry then broke into a series of songs from his Love Songs project with cuts featuring the sounds of Nat King Cole. Many of those in attendance remembered fondly the songs Lowry sang, “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Our Love is Here to Stay”.
This type of program lends itself to getting to know the artists. The stage was set with chairs which gave the feeling that everyone in attendance was engaged in an evening of getting to know one another better as well. Lowry led Judy Martin to tell of the first time the Martins had an opportunity to sing for Bill Gaither. This first meeting was in Indiana at a Gaither Music Group video taping. As the video of the younger Martins rolled, the present day Martins took over with the live rendition of the much loved hymn, “He Leadeth Me”.
Lowry continued to share his gospel music memories with stories of Vestal Goodman. The crowd was led to remember things like Goodman’s beautiful gowns and tall coiffures. Whitmire began an introduction to one of Goodmans’ most beloved presentations of “What a Lovely Name”. Lowry and Jonathan Martin sang the first verse in duet, then were joined with Joyce and Judy Martin who carried the parts that the Goodmans sang many years ago.
The Martins continued the program with scripture from Philippians 4:6 which
reminds us that Christians should make their requests known to God. These words were the introduction to their song entitled, “The Promise”. In 2004, this song was the Southern Gospel Song of the Year as awarded by the Gospel Music Association Dove Awards.
Taking the stage to roaring applause, Jason Crabb entered to perform “I’d Rather Have Jesus” with his band in full accompaniment. Crabb continued his presentation with a hymn medley from the project The Song Lives On. There was full audience
participation as Crabb directed the house to ‘lean’ on cue to “The Everlasting Arms”. From the familiar music, Crabb moved to the title cut of his latest project, Love is Stronger.
The second portion of the Music and Madness show opened with the Martins singing with the full band, including Crabb on guitar. The Martins brought the house to their feet with “Love is Gonna Drive this Train” while the autographed beach balls went flying! The balls were batted around the entire Tivoli Theater bringing the energy to fever pitch.
Just then, Crabb took center stage while the standing crowd listened to a Crabb classic, “Through the Fire”. Crabb and Lowry in casual conversation reminded that God takes Christians, through the fire…not around, not over, but through the trials in life.
This part of the program was the right time to request songs from the audience; tunes which Whitmire played and Lowry led. The congregational sing along comprised a medley of the classics, “Blessed Assurance”, three verses of, “Amazing Grace,” “Victory in Jesus” and concluded appropriately with the chorus of, “How Great Thou Art.”
Bringing the program full circle, the Martins went a capella, (not to Acapulco as Lowry quipped) with a tightly harmonized, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Listening to the nearly perfect harmony of the three Martins, the music conveyed a sense of confidence and peace to all.
Crabb continued to minister when he quietly came forward to sing, “Sometimes Alone I Cry.” This award winning song is just one in Crabb’s repertoire that was composed by Gerald Crabb, who is Jason’s father. Crabb filled the room with emotion once again as he delivered this poignant song.
Joyce Martin continued the worship-filled moment with a transparent conversation about the goodness of God. Martin passionately shared that tears of God’s people are precious to Him. Jonathan and Judy joined beside their sister to sing, “Except for Grace.”
Lowry took the opportunity to follow up with sharing, “God is crazy about you! God only uses broken people. Be thankful for your brokenness and remember the Bible points out that it came to pass…it didn’t come to stay! Find a reason to be thankful.”
At this point, Lowry began to tell of how he came to pen his classic song of Mary. With the Martins singing background vocals, Crabb joining on guitar and with the full band, “Mary Did You Know” brought a climax to the program.
With a diverse lineup and attraction to a broad base of fans, the current Music and Madness program is a well-balanced opportunity for each artist to bring forth their best. The performance order offers something for everyone in a fast paced way to bring encouragement as well as a clear message of the Gospel of Jesus.
The Music and Madness Tour is scheduled to continue well into 2015 over a wide geographical area. Watch for an opportunity to catch this show for an evening that is pure fun for all. And, take anyone of any age along, the fun of Music and Madness is contagious! For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/events/614905468576510
Written by and all pictures by Candace Combs