You don’t have to hear the lyrics to Jason Diaz’s songs to understand the burning, soulful infusion of meaning shot through. Sometimes elusive, the words that do land on your plate of consciousness strike as an intriguing invitation enveloped in mystique. When you catch an entire phrase, the whole meaning in words, if you haven’t already stepped beside yourself in awe of Diaz’s uncanny vocal prowess (no kidding – think along the lines of Aretha and Michael Jackson), you’ll be blown away. Take the refrain of Oh Sweet Saviour, for instance: “Love is a fire that burns in darkness. Almost went blind. Almost went blind.” It’s more than a nice sentiment. Pair Diaz’s stunning vocals and powerful lyrics with his difficult arrangements and blues-influenced guitars and the result is paralyzingly wondrous. In a nutshell, Diaz sears in Pleasure in Pain, makes your hairs stand on end in Take Me or Leave Me, tugs at your heartstrings in The Prodigal (Sweet Caroline), rocks out in Unholiest War, digs deep and cooks on resonating slide in Oh Sweet Saviour and chills gospel-ballad style in When You Lay Down Your Life. In truth, a limbically-driven description through sighs and grunts could likely pay more justice than words to the phenomenal effects of Diaz’s tunes.
On a personal level, I know Jason Diaz as sincere, devoted, innately serious, immersed in music, surprisingly hard-working and prodigiously talented. The guy’s voice is pure ambrosia, an ethereal distillation of his heart and soul. He meets that amazing gift with rich, rootsy rock-soul-blues songs played on all kinds of guitars. Still, after a year of spending quality time with Jason – both in and out of the studio – I haven’t been bombarded with an overwhelming stack of details, not even the name of his alma mater or where he met his sweetheart. Each time we talk, I feel like we’re getting to know each other a little more closely. Socially, spending time with Jason almost always seems the teensiest bit perilous yet authentically warm and enriching. As another cut from inherently no-frills, truth-digging cloth, I appreciate Jason’s profound intensity. My mom would probably sum him up by pegging him as a Scorpio. I don’t know if he is or not.
As a performing musician, Jason Diaz and the songs he writes and plays translate similarly: complex, deep, somewhat mysterious, often stirring, always inviting. Diaz’s calling for music is evident. His investment in it apparent. Still in his early twenties (though he looks no older than mid-teens), Jason Diaz does more than offer up a variegated throw of ardently soulful delights in these diverse solo-acoustic recordings of songs from his upcoming sophomore album. He offers impassioned possibility and, for enamoured listeners, the excitement of a whole lot to keep their ears open for in the future from this killer, rapidly-evolving artist.
Watch the captivating video for Oh Sweet Saviour below. Please, wait for it to go….ten seconds of darkness can seem like forever in today’s world, but I promise it’s worth the lead-in time. I keep watching and wondering how a single artist can seize and hold my attention repeatedly. Simply awesome.
Listen to the Exclusive Live Tracks (option/click to download):