Jonny Diaz “Let It Fly” Album Review

Jonny Diaz

Prime Cuts:  Scars, Whole World, Like Your Love

It's no small fleet for any man to know how many fancy pillows his wife places on their bed.  Jonny Diaz is not a singer-songwriter that paints with big broad musical brush strokes.  Rather, with a sensitive soul that comes from vigilance kept before God's word and a deep sensitivity towards others, Diaz's songs elicit nuances of truth that often escapes the insouciant.  This is what makes "Let It Fly" such a gripping affair:   these are songs brimming with so much carefully crafted insights that will truly get our minds thinking, our hearts pumping and our souls searching again.  As much as Diaz excels in the fine details, he is also a far sighted visionary when it comes to his songs' subject matters.  Diaz realizes that for faith to be effectual, it not only affects our relationship with God, but the repercussions are also felt with the people we interact with.  Thus, on "Let It Fly" you will find not only songs about God, but you will also find songs dealing with love and marital relationships. 

Diaz, for the uninitiated, is a professional baseball player turned full time singer.  His major label debut "More Beautiful Than You" not only cracked in the upper rungs of Billboard's Christian Album Chart, but the single of the same titular was a huge no. 2 hit in 2009.  "Let It Fly" is the follow up to his 2011 eponymous album and it's also his debut for Centricity Records (Unspoken, Jason Gray).  "Let It Fly" continues Diaz signature blend of acoustic pop sound that sometimes calls to mind Dave Barnes or Bebo Norman.  Nevertheless, one of the major highlights of "Let It Fly" is "Scars."  In this day and age where we priced promotion, wealth, and prestige as utopian commodities, the teaching of Paul about sharing in Christ's suffering just don't have much currency in today's sermons.  We avoid inconvenience for Jesus like a plague and we dread the thought of suffering for the Gospel.  "Scars," which speaks of the value of suffering, is so out of whack with today's values, but yet it is so Christ-like that it will get us pricked at every note.

Those of us who have grown up in Sunday school will know the little ditty "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."  Using that same tag line but crafting a new tune around it, "Whole World" is a picturesque detailed display of God's sovereignty over this world that invites our awe and worship.  "Use Me Too," as the press release rightly notes, is an anthem for the underdogs.  Interweaving the Biblical stories of David and Mary, Diaz with deft exegetical skills traces the trajectory of how God often uses the underdog for his glory; this is a boost to palliate our often discouraged hearts.  The banjo and mandolin laced "Like Your Love" sounds like a song Keith Urban would love to covet.  "Like Your Love," which speaks of the unsurpassing love of Jesus, allows Diaz to explore his country roots to great effect.  "Live Like He's Alive" and "You Just Gotta Believe," on the other hand, are stationed more in the standard fare of the typical pop/rock worship terrain.

In case you are wondering how many fancy pillows Diaz's wife has on their beds, the answer lies in "Thank God I Got Her."  Faith is not genuine Biblical faith if it doesn't bear fruit.  Here faith's fruit is manifest blatantly in the way Diaz treasures and appreciates his wife on the tender and ultra romantic "Thank God I Got Her."  And Diaz delves into his Jason Mraz's moment with the bouncy jazz-tilted "Hello Love." At the end of the day, Diaz reminds us again that good song writing is more than just getting the chords right or getting the lyrics to rhyme.  Rather, songs that sing and sting are the output of one who is a careful observer and an active participant in God's word and His people.

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