By Jay Diamond
When the singer whose mouth the words “prepare for war” are flowing from sounds something like Silver Jews singer David Berman, or a more upbeat Lee Hazlewood, I am probably going to continue listening. That is the case with the opening title-track of Dan Zimmerman’s album Cosmic Patriot – an album that sounds like it could have been recorded in any of the last four decades, but fits perfectly in the here and now. As is proven throughout each of the thirteen tracks on the album, there is something almost timeless in the music of Mr. Zimmerman (who employs a crack backing band including members of Bardo Pond, Why?, and Brother Danielson), that this music just begs to be appreciated track for track.
What I believe sets Zimmerman apart from the countless number of singer-songwriters out there is age and experience. Born in 1948, the man has such a perfect grasp of song craft, that each song on Cosmic Patriot is somehow in tune with many important milestone of the last sixty or so years of recorded history. Take the Tin Pan Alley simplicity of “Everyday in My Heart”, where Zimmerman sings that “Everyday I get the blues, it runs together together with the reds, mingles with the other hues, everyday” – in the hands of an inexperienced songwriter, god only knows how awful this sort of song could turn out, but Zimmerman (with the help of the backing and mentioned above) weaves this into an unforgettable love song that it would seem many have forgotten how to produce. He visits amped up Tommy James and the Shondells meditations – crooning over a wall of flowing guitars in “The Thing Itself”, and even crosses the pond to something that sounds like Nick Cave in his more gentle moments, or a BBC session of Tindersticks with “Twilight Romance.”
While this isn’t the perfect pop record, it could be viewed as a measuring stick as to how you should carry yourself when trying to create one. It is also proof that Dan Zimmerman deserves to be mentioned among the other deep-voiced luminaries of the 20th, and 21st, century.