With searching eyes that loom large behind impossibly thick bifocals, his voice is a canyon, as lonely and persistent as the river that carved it. Dan Zimmerman, the Dog-Man, the Cosmic Patriot, the Space Pilgrim, is both seer and seeker, an embracer of limitations and a big-hearted mystic.
Zimmerman’s latest offering, Dreams of Earth, is the kind of work that exists only by a half-century spent listening and crafting songs. This kind of time ingrains in a man an understanding of how stories are told, of when to cut to the chase and when to linger on a word or a breath. His vision is one of clear-eyed reckoning with a broken world, tempered by the patient assurance that all will be well, as if to say “Be of good cheer. Wait with me…”
His band-mates, his “compatriots” as he calls them, stand faithful to the heading of Zimmerman’s compass: that “spirit in the room” that characterized the great recordings of early rock n’ roll, when folks had to get it down in one take, before technology removed the obligation of listening to the person next to you. From the ethereal backing vocals of Elin K. Smith and Timothy Hill, to the sublime guitar work of Tony Jones and the rock-and-roll steady rhythm section, to the light but masterful production hand of Daniel C. Smith, the music is a call to the ineffable, but it is grounded. It grooves and it moves with earthiness, dust, and sweat. Zimmerman himself is in fine voice and his own guitar turns and lilts and hammers with subtlety and swagger. All is vibrant and immediate: the space between the notes is felt as strongly as the notes themselves.
With heart strong and words warm, Zimmerman’s songs are a danger: protest songs raised against a passive dismissal of what heaven has pronounced good, against lack of engagement with the world as it exists here and now. His vision is of life and life shared. Zimmerman is the Space Pilgrim whose feet are planted on solid ground. Dan Zimmerman Dreams of Earth.