Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Nick Krill and Jon Low
Those are ghosts coming out of your headphones. They aren't bogeymen or the harbingers of doomsday either. The words that come out of Dan Zimmerman's mouth are every bit as haunting and dusky as any that could be swept up into a swath of black smoke consisting of souls entering purgatory or the words of God, depending on the treatment he decided to bless them with. There's nothing to say that a God-fearing man can't harbor plenty of thoughts about apocalyptic collision, the cracking and dismantling of all of our safe status here on this green, but browning earth. In fact, they've even been known to give to those thoughts the kind of volume that gets to be heavy. It only makes the cream lighter though, rising to the top of the glass more fleetly, resting above and being more appreciated. Zimmerman, a Pennsylvanian who rarely plays live shows and who was befriended by Danielson/The Danielson Famile leader Daniel Smith, could talk you down from a ledge and could also deliver the sentence for some kind of damnation, with a voice that sounds like a cavern - its gruff and smoldering delicacies playfully twisting with themselves into a sweeping yolk that sounds as if it was mixed centuries ago and refined over the many, many years. It's been given the patience of a saint, the gravity of a cliff, the solemnity of a stoic and the wisdom of a grandfather who still has so much to impart. He's a tall man, slightly slumped in the shoulders - possibly the work of extended periods of time of either strenuous manual labor (construction or carpeting) or hours and hours of leaning over tables in a study reading volumes and volumes of books. His skin is weathered like a sun-beaten tree trunk and his arms are covered in what looks to be a very course black hair. A long and dragging face, along with the spectacles that he wears for his sight, cast him as a gentle giant and the kind of man that the grandkids trip over themselves to race over and be the first to lay a huge hug on him, bowling him backwards to the floor with the strength of their infatuation. The music that the man makes is absurdly good and almost like cool, blue waters that occasionally get heated up to be as tepid as hot bath water. He sounds like a man so reserved and yet still so passionate about what he's going to let into his heart, how he wants it to put the finishing touches on everything that it's magical. So much of the feeling that comes from his lyrics and the way that they're sent out to us, via a loping guitar that bumps when it needs to and gets more fussy when it needs to, is with a gingerly, but spacious and calloused hand on the shoulder and a drinkable gaze that says it all. For him, there's so much more rich life to live, but he comes from a point where so much rich life has already been lived and filed away, now existing as something else - like remembrances both lost and enjoyed. The songs on _Cosmic Patriot_ are his new concerns - the world at large, the actions of his ticker and what it all means to be in the autumn of years, to be experiencing the things of youth as an older man. When he sings, "Don't mind these bones of mine," in the enchanting song "Twilight Romance," he takes us to a place where the character's inviting a woman into his bed, asking forgiveness for his more skeletal, weakened frame. He is seeking permission to have the state of his body overlooked for the genuine love that it still holds and will happily show. His heart's another matter of conversation in "Everyday In My Heart," one of the prettiest songs of the year thus far, one that should be played at wedding receptions all over the place, where the hots and colds melt into a boiling coagulation of true beauty. Zimmerman embraces the idea that time marches, but that doesn't slow the mind's lightning flashes and thunderclaps or the moving of mouths and kisses.
Dan Zimmerman MySpace Page
Dan Zimmerman Official Site