In More Beautiful You, Jonny shared a heart passionate about reaching his generation with the message of God's love. Now the grace-filled conversation continues in "Delights in You," "Break My Heart," "God Is Watching," "Love I'm Living For," "How Can It Be," "Weeps for You," "Here and Someday," and "Chick-fil-a"---plus the hit single "Beauty of the Cross"!
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Official ChristianMusicReview.org Review!| Posted April 13, 2011 For Lakeland, FL native Jonny Diaz, his mission in his music is to serve the Body of Christ. The 2010 New Artist of the Year Dove Award nominee definitely proves that in his self-titled sophomore release on INO Records. What proves to be an entertaining album, he continues with songs of encouragement and calls to action as shown in his debut INO release, “More Beautiful You.”
Digging for creativity and thru the use of multiple producers, Jonny also called on several other songwriters for this musical collaboration. Audrey Assad is one name known in the industry that assisted along with Kate York, co-writer for Jonny’s #1 hit and title track of “More Beautiful You.” According to Jonny, “It can be challenging coming up with new ways to express themes that are important to believers. Co-writing encourages and inspires me.” This inspiration shines in the acoustically driven album, giving me some personal interest in the recordings as Jonny does show a true passion for what he sings.
Opening up with a flourish of strings, “Delights in You” leads the album and quickly became a favorite of mine. As “a song of encouragement,” the track emphasizes God’s love for us. I think the bridge puts it best: “No matter where you’ve been, no matter what you’ve done, no matter if it’s hell you’ve been through. He loves you till the end, he loved to send his son, that’s how much he delights in you.” Following the energetic opening track is “Break My Heart.” A bit more somber as the title may show, it also became another favorite. What I hope to be released as a single to radio and have potential to hit #1, Jonny uses his own personal call to action to speak of how poverty is overlooked and passed over more times than we can imagine. Effectively produced to generate a roller coaster of emotions, the one line that truly hits home is “I believe that one can make a difference because one man on the cross changed the world.”
“God is Watching” helps define Jonny’s acoustically driven sound in this uplifting song of God’s omnipresence. “This was written to remind us that we are never alone,” says Jonny. Despite what might happen and who may, or may not, be there for us, “there is nowhere to escape from your side.” “God is there, God is watching.” Written with the intention to urge hopeful believers, the song pulls at the strings and encourages one to “cross the line” and into a relationship with Christ. Although not originally written by Jonny, current radio single “Beauty of the Cross” follows. The song compelled him to record the worship track as it talks of how what was once a Roman torture device suddenly becomes beautiful. As a worldwide recognized symbol for Christianity, “the beauty of the cross is that there’s one who has redeemed my soul.”
Bringing out the brass for the first time on the album, “Figured Out” is a challenge to the churches of America. It recognizes the complacency many Christians have outside Sunday church in living out what we live on Sunday mornings. As put bluntly in the song, “we DON’T have him figured out.” The song ends with the line “so much more than everything we think we found” signifying the fact that our lives in Christ is not something to take so lightly. Jonny admits that the next song, “Love I’m Living For” is a song for his wife Libby, explaining how he wants to “keep my fire burning bright for you” and that she is the “love” he is “living for.” Picking up in tempo following the love song, “How Can It Be” states the amazing power of God’s love for us and every detail in the universe. Supernatural, unfathomable, unspeakable is our “God of wonders.” As repeated in the last 30 seconds of the song, God’s love is “big enough to hold the world, small enough to hold my heart.”
The following three songs are very reflective in nature, starting with “Weeps for You.” As a song of comfort and compassion, it tells, “In your worst of times, you never cry alone. Did you know he weeps for you?” That same omnipresence sung about in “God is Watching” comes back in the message of this song. “Here and Someday” slows down the tempo a bit as Jonny talks about how this song is meant for the struggling. He says, “It’s ok to be sad, grieve, and yes, to even be mad at God.” Someday we may understand and the pain will disappear although as the song says, “we are not there yet.”
A day many in the Nashville area will never forget is the beginning of May of 2010. It was on that Saturday, May 1st that the floodgates opened and flooded a vast majority of Nashville, devastating the Christian music capital. “What Water Can Do” talks of that Saturday. It talks of the damage done, the lives changed, the amazing power water can do. As the song plays out, a short string solo joins the days together and the song moves on to Sunday. It’s on Sunday that the cleansing waters of baptism washes away our sins and gives us life anew in Christ’s name. “Isn’t it amazing what water can do?”
The song trails off in the last minute with an instrumental, helping us reflect on the true power and presence of God before leading into what is perhaps my favorite song of the whole album. Aptly titled “The Chick-fil-a Song,” it is this one song that makes the whole album worth the purchase and not only brings a lighter side of the album but also brings out a very southern sound common of Nashville country, the steel guitar!
Closing Thoughts For a follow-up album to what I felt was already a great major label debut, Jonny’s self-titled release makes me ache to see him live in concert. One unique quality I do enjoy about Jonny’s style and the way he presents himself in his music is you can feel the authenticity behind what he is singing and that he is really doing his work for the kingdom. As said many times earlier, it is a must buy for anyone with a love for acoustically-driven artists, especially for those who like similar artists such as David Barnes, Bebo Norman, Matthew West, and even Brandon Heath.
Jonny Diaz| Posted September 06, 2011
This CD is amazing!! I bought it from his online store about a month ago and have downloaded it onto my laptop and MP3 player so I can listen to it anywhere I go. There is a song on this CD for everyone no matter what is going on in your life, or if your like me, then every song on it deals with your life in some way. All of the songs spoke to me in some way, even the Chick-Fil-A song that shows us that we need to have fun, enjoy life, and treat others like they are important. There is a meaning behind a song about fast food. The songs that really spoke to me were "Beauty of the Cross," that reminds us how something the world meant for evil, Jesus' death on the cross, became beautiful for us to live eternally with Christ in Heaven one day for those who have a personal relationship with him. Also, "Weeps For You" and "God Is Watching" reminded me that God is always there for us. He has and will never leave us, and He feels our pain and is walking through the hard times with us. We are never alone.