"As a producer, I've been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with some of the best singers ever; I would certainly put Jason on that list," Jay tells The Boot. "It is such a joy to work with someone that is so talented and driven. We've had a blast working together, and I think he has stretched himself creatively to the point to where he even surprised himself. I cannot wait for people to hear this record!"
Jay produced six of the 11 tracks on Love Is Stronger. The remaining tracks were produced by Ed Cash, whose credits include Amy Grant and Chris Tomlin, and Wayne Haun, who has worked with everyone from Janet Paschal to Celine Dion.
"I just knew Jay was good, but I didn't know he was that good until I got him in the studio and we cut the tracks," says Jason, the Gospel Music Association's reigning Artist and Male Vocalist of the year. "It's like having the Kentucky Wildcats' John Calipari as your basketball coach. You can reach out and get some great basketball players. Jay is the same way. He's a great musician. He's respected and he can go out and get whoever he wants, so that was an exciting moment. He's like Calipari too. He can make things happen in the studio with these players. He's really good at that."
Jay's studio is located in the basement of his Nashville home, and the adjacent game room boasts a Rascal Flatts arcade game, a big-screen TV and walls covered with Jay's music and sports memorabilia. It's a comfortable, relaxed environment that is conducive to creativity. On one particular afternoon, it felt almost like a family reunion as Southern gospel music icon Michael English and Joyce Martin of the Dove-award winning trio the Martins joined Jason to record "There's Not a Crown Without a Cross."
"I'm a huge Michael English fan. Everybody knows that," Jason says with a smile. "And I love the Martins, so it's a real honor for me to have Joyce and Michael on this song."
Jason first gained acclaim singing with his siblings as the Crabb Family. Raised in tiny Beaver Dam, Ky., the Crabbs hit the road as teens and became one of the most popular acts in Southern Gospel music before disbanding in 2007. Jason stepped out solo with his self-titled debut album in 2009, which won a Grammy for Best Southern/Country/Bluegrass Gospel Album and also earned him fans at country radio with the single "Somebody Like Me."
Jason is anxious for fans to hear his new effort. "This is a record I've been waiting to do my whole life," he says, "and I've never been more excited about a group of songs."