Jason Diaz Has Eye (And Foot) On The Sun 

CD Review

Stomp Out The Sun, Jason Diaz's self-released debut album, starts with "Pleasure and Pain," a track heavy with electric guitar twang and drums that makes it impossible not to start tapping with whatever on whatever is laying around nearby. And then Diaz's voice enters over an echoing guitar effect, removing any doubt of whether this kid has talent. His voice has the perfect balance of soul and youth, creating a sound that is before its time but perhaps just in time.

On the track "The Prodigal (Sweet Caroline)," Diaz slows it down with an acoustic guitar, quiet and repetitious drums, back-up gospel singing, a piano and spare but perfectly used harmonica. In this song about the complicated feelings attached to a failed relationship, Diaz displays another side of his strong voice, removing some of the gritty soul and letting a softer tone set the stage. Diaz sings: "Sweet Caroline, run away from me / nowhere to go but you wanna be free / baby girl undercover, in the hands of another/ I'm on the line but you're outta touch/ God it's so hard to regret it this much/ when it's already over, when it's already over."

The album as a whole is engaging, especially because of the strength of Diaz's vocals. His lyrics, at times, tiptoe the line of cliche but are more often unique and thought-provoking, and the instrumentation ranges from simple and addictive, to complex and even a little awe-inspiring.

Often an artist's first album is his or her best, but Diaz has the kind of talent that promises each album will be better than the last. Diaz is taking Stomp Out the Sun on tour this winter and so far, it looks like the only stop in Idaho is a show in Moscow in January 2012. For now.

It may be cold when he finally gets to Idaho, but where his career is heading, he should see plenty of sun.

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