Tuesday, January 17, 2012


     FFH is comprised of husband and wife duo Jeromy and Jennifer Deibler.  Their latest non-holiday release is 2009's WIDE OPEN SPACES (62 Records).  Production duties are handled by Jeromy and Mitch Dane.  In the liner notes the Deiblers write these revealing words: "The point to all this is that we've never needed people or seen people come through for us like we have in this season.  We've never seen the Lord like this either.  Like Isaiah, we have seen the Lord and as a result we have become Undone...Released from the old ways and led, like David, into a Wide Open Space."  In 2007 Jeromy was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
     'Undone' is a pleasant adult pop song that Jeromy wrote with Mia Fieldes of Hillsong fame.  It speaks of the emotions and thoughts one battles when fighting a disease: "The cancer inside stealing my sleep/Night after night it keeps haunting me/The secrets I keep/Are tearing me up inside/I try to hide them and I wonder why/Why I'm still running when I know there's no escaping."  'Hold On to Me' is next.  It talks of one's faith journey as a positive experience: "I don't want to go back to the calm and shallow seas/I want to stay here and embrace the mystery/We've come so far now/We can't turn back now."  'Wide Open Spaces', the title track, was written by Jeromy and industry vet Chris Eaton, who wrote 'Breath of Heaven', the modern Christmas classic.  Oddly enough, musically it sounds like a song the Dixie Chicks could do.  Lyrically, it communicates a desire for spiritual growth: "I'm tired of the race, tired of pretending/Tired of the pressure to just stay ahead/Can't take the pace it just seems unending/If this is living I'd rather be dead/I need wide open spaces/I need rivers that flow/I need to find where my faith is/Give me the desert, I'll make it my home."
     'What it Feels like (To be led)' features Andy Hubbard on drums and is the song of one placing all of their faith in God: "So this is what it feels like to just walk away/From everything I thought kept me safe/To depend just on You for every meal/And find it's better this way/Oh, it's better this way/This may not be the road I would choose for me/But it still feels right somehow/And I have never felt You as close to me/As I do right now/Like I do right now."  'I Don't Care Anymore' is a fine adult contemporary song that has Jeromy singing in his falsetto.  The lyrics speak about setting priorities straight: "I don't care anymore-and/I'm not there anyway-so/Go on with your life and I'll go on with mine/We will all be fine/'Cause I don't care anymore/About my name in lights or getting what is mine/You can be the star tonight, oh that would be just fine with me/I don't care (2X), I don't care anymore/I'm not there, I'm long gone, so go on, go on/Go on with your life, don't worry about me/I've found what I need, she's been right here with me."  'What if your Best' was again written by Jeromy and Mia Fieldes.  It is a ballad about realizing that God is God and we are not.  Jennifer Deibler carries the vocal lead: "I'm trying hard to keep from giving You advice/It's like teaching Shakespeare how to write/Or Monet, the way to paint another scene/But there's just something in this amateur that thinks/That my opinion's what You need/On how to work in me/But I am only clay and clay probably shouldn't speak."
     'The Time of my Life' has Greg Hagan on electric guitar and is a playful sounding love song: "Hand in hand/Our feet in the long beach sand/That's the way we spend these days/Falling in love again/We've always been best friends/That's the way we spend these days...I had the time of my life with you/Under the summer moon/I was so consumed/I had the time of my life with you/Acting like a fool/But it was over too soon/Oh I had the time of my life."  'Stop the Bleeding' is about crying out in desperation to the Lord: "How much desert must I cross/'Til I come to the Jordan?/I am thirsty and I'm lost/My heart is weak and emptied out/So come and stop the bleeding/I think I finally understand/So come and stop the bleeding/I've tried to fix this but I can't/So come and stop the bleeding/I know You can."
     'Who I'm gonna Be' would fit nicely on mainstream country radio.  It features Tim Lauer on harmonica and is about reaching one's full potential: "And I wonder how it took me oh so long/Some kind of grace flipped a switch/And the lights are finally comin' on/So much time I've wasted/When will I stop chasin'/Gotta stop lookin' around/And be who I'm gonna be/So much I've not tasted/So many choices to start makin'/Gotta stop lookin' around/And be who I'm gonna be."  Jill Paquette co-writes the song.  'Jesus Give me Rest' would not be out of place on a Gaither video.  It is about the need we have to anchor ourselves in the Lord if we are to have true contentment: "I've been trying to hold/On to things that just slip through my hands/You'd think that by now I'd know/Better than to chase after shifting sands/So let Your peace come to me/Oh Jesus give me rest/Let Your peace come to me/Oh Jesus give me rest/Be still, be still/Be still and know."
     WIDE OPEN SPACES is music that is easy on the ears, much like previous FFH hits such as 'One of these Days' and 'Ready to Fly'.  This album will appeal to a wide variety of age groups.  It is both contemporary and traditional sounding at the same time.  I'm rating it 80%.  For more info visit http://www.ffh.net/ or http://www.62records.com/.