Dan Zimmerman’s latest offering, Dreams of Earth, is the kind of work that exists only by a halfcentury 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. 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.
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. Zimmerman is the Space Pilgrim whose feet are planted on solid ground. Dan ZimmermanDreams of Earth.
"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 â€“ 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 warâ€¦” 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..." -Glen Galloway, 2009
This new work of minimal acoustic ballads is revealed through the musical architecture of darkness and light, plumbing lyrical poetics and an American gothic sound-scape for a composition that is ultimately unique and very Zimmerman.Great Small is the latest work in his musical legacy, one that began in the 1970s with Subterranean Cafe, (an art/rock band that yielded When Dinosaurs Melt and Right on Target). Through marriage and children, this ethereal hound dog continued to channel his musical aspirations, molting into the acoustic Vancouver collective Threads of Gold, creating the ecclesiastical Stand by Night, and wrestling with his experimental solo project More At Stake.The recently released Great Small is a follow up to another solo gem from Vancouver-based Fact Records, The Northwest Years, a series of recordings archiving Zimmerman's oddball spiritual journey in Portland, Oregon. They still talk about Zimmerman there, where everyone knew him as the son of a Methodist preacher, living in a log cabin in the woods, only emerging in the local clubs to play visionary songs with an occasional backbeat. Something was burbling inside, a revelation of down home majesty, and he was running around with a dog-eared copy of Dostoyevsky, making sketches of the mind of God. Northwest is closure as much as Great Small is genesis, and the two albums together represent a shift of musical direction for Zimmerman.The sounds of Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits are here in Great Small, in a thick voice that can whisper, dance along a melody, or simply.growl. The imagery recalls the literati of Borghes and Calvino, a poetics of space that cites the "cities of our reason," [Influx], rotting buildings with no foundations [Interior], the fuzz of history and human memory, and God's fervent desire for union with man. Melodies are deceptively simple, and not above the occasional glockenspiel. The simplicity of these songs belies their complex interior, as they twist from the inside with spiritual warfare, gothic organs and howling children.- Melissa Herwaldt