Cosmic Patriot

by Dan Zimmerman

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"If you haven’t heard Dan Zimmerman’s voice before, it IS your first impression of his music. A rich, distinctive, roasted baritone somewhere in between Lee Hazelwood and Tom Waits, his voice is all character, with nothing pretended or imposed. Dan’s been singing since he picked up the guitar in 1957, and his resonance is pure experience. A Methodist preacher’s kid turned ‘60s art-school van-gypsy married by a swami, turned Northwestern mountain-man singing at lunch-hour for fellow workers at a tree-packing plant…what an arc! And that’s just the groundwork.

Six years in the making, COSMIC PATRIOT is a timeless pop balancing act between a stormy middle-earth apocalypse and something effortless, intimate, and unhurried. The writing, the band, the recording – there’s complexity, darkness, and intensity, but it’s all so snug and woven and of-a-piece. It’s amazing how disarming a song that starts off with the battle cry, “Prepare for war, total war…” ends up being. Just as the listener finishes taking in the meaning of that chilling lyric, the song glides into a rousing homefires sing-along. Therein is the push-me-pull-me quality that exists throughout. Take “Everyday In My Heart,” which could easily be Johnny Cash covering the Cascades “Listen To The Rhythm Of The Falling Rain.” The clouds form and part, the raindrops and sunshine are interchangeable, and you couldn’t get the tune out of your head if you wanted. Same goes double for the warm, smirky Roy Orbison hook of “Lonely Way.”

Zimmerman has moved through life with a deeply purposeful wanderlust which permeates every note of his music. There’s a spirit to it, a soul to it, a body to it; there’s always something steadily in motion and growing in this picture. Songs like “Secret Name,” “Steady Plodder,” and “Trailing Clouds Of Glory” are spirituals. “The Thing Itself” is a beautifully slow, existential tweed-amp explosion, pulling good and hard on the band’s hidden Philly/South Jersey psych roots. Then, right at the core of the record is “Silence Is A Golden Mountain,” clattering and glissing into wood glue.

COSMIC PATRIOT captures the band and the man perfectly—everything fits. The boots are well-worn and comfortable; the tremolo pulses right when you need it, and the string section rises to answer its own questions. This could have been a classic Leonard Cohen session. Think about when you first found all those Scott Walker records, all those R. Stevie Moore tapes. There’s a personality completely preserved in its own space, an old friend you knew nothing about…."

-Glen Galloway, 2009


released April 21, 2009



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