There is a lot to love in Bill Tonnis’s second album, Live to Love. A real highlight of the CD is listening to the exceptional guitar work of Bobby Fisher (who also produced the CD). His great hooks and solos (along with all the other instruments he plays on the album) bring an added dimension to Tonnis’ original compositions. The arrangements and backing vocals are excellent and the production value of the CD is good. I found Tonnis’s unique voice, while perhaps lacking universal appeal, to be very engaging, and it served the music well. My favorite track, hands down, is “How Wonderful to Me” (track 9). It is one of the loveliest songs I have heard in quite some time.
The biggest weakness of the album is the lyrics. Too often it felt as if Mr. Tonnis wrote “to the rhyme.” Sometimes he sacrifices faithfulness to Scripture and good sentence structure for the sake of the rhyme. I would have liked to hear Mr. Tonnis either “dig deeper” to find better rhymes (some of his “rhymes” don’t even rhyme), or write songs that have no rhyming pattern at all. This might have also eliminated the “singsong” quality that occasionally appears in his melodies.
Many people have been touched by the ministry and music of Bill Tonnis, and I am confident that Live to Love will serve his ministry well. The songs “Come to Jesus” (track 2) and “Heal Me” (track 4) can be used for those needing healing of body and spirit, “Take Me Now, Forever” (track 10) is a lovely song for a wedding, and “God is the Goal” (track 7) is great for those who need a little “pick-me-up” sometime during the day.
For more information on Bill Tonnis and to purchase Live to Love go to BillTonnisMusic.com.
Reviewed by Fr. Kent O’Connor