Bob’s nephews, Luke & Seth Zimmerman. A failure to grasp what’s going on.

By Aaron Galbraith and Tony Attwood

Aaron: Some 2 years I wrote a piece documenting the music of Bob’s two nephews, Luke & Seth Zimmerman.

At the time I didn’t ask for Tony’s opinion on the music, so I thought it would be nice to present some more examples of their music , this time with Tony’s input. As Luke has had a new album out since the last article I thought I’d start with him. I’ll give Tony two tracks from older albums, plus three from his latest to consider.

First up, from his debut solo album, Twilight Waltz, it’s Duluth.

Tony: I’ve long been of the opinion that these days one really needs an opening line with a bit of bunch – or instrumentation with a bit of punch, or something else with a … well you get the idea.

Even something like “Come gather round people” in its day had it.  “Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?” most certainly has it, and “You’ve got a lot of nerve to say you are my friend” is one of the great all-timers beaten perhaps only by “They’re selling postcards of the hanging”.

Now this song has been playing for a couple of minutes I can’t recall the opening, but it seemed rather ordinary to me.  And I am prejudiced because I don’t like the voice at all – too nasal for my taste.  So a bit of a rejection from me, although the gentle guitar counter melody that sweeps in from time to time, does do it for me.  That’s nice, but otherwise neither the sound nor the lyrics give me anything to write home about (although that would be rather silly since I am sitting at home anyway).  (Although I’m going out later).

Aaron: From his third album, Heyday for the Naysayers, I have picked Little Girl.

Tony: Now this album has a great title – I do like “Heyday for the naysayers”.  But the instrumental intro doesn’t give me hope, and yet, the voice is quite different.  A much better sound, but the rhymes, oh, no…  Rhyming “be still” with “window sill”.  Argh!

OK I am a failed songwriter in the sense that I never made it in the business, but I’ve written around 150 songs that I have kept, so I know that sensation of looking for a rhyme, and it is all too easy to find a rhyme and slip it in because it rhymes not because it actually adds to the music.

Bob never ever does that – at least I can’t think of an occasion when he does.   However the instrumentation here really does rescue this song.   The opening “Little girl lay down your head” is nice when one realises he is singing to his daughter – I have three daughters (all married now) and I remember those days.   Brings tears to my eyes…

So yes it’s a nice song, easy on the ear… Take the line “you’re the best thing I’ve ever seen” – of course I felt that with all three of my daughters as little ones being tucked up at night in bed, being told bedtime stories etc etc, but the rhyme just doesn’t excite.  And it doesn’t really need four and a half minutes to put it all across.

Aaron: His latest album The Man In The Silver Box was released in August 2019. A full length film for the album is available on YouTube. For this article, I’ll just subject Tony to the audio versions!

The title track…

Tony: Oh, that’s a spooky picture.  I’d love to have been able to look at the lyrics, and I did a very quick search while the music is playing but couldn’t find them… and can’t make them out myself.

So I am just left with the instrumentation, the melody, and the singing, and none of them really do anything for me. Indeed the wobbly synth sound in the instrumental break is, I think, horrible.  There honestly is nothing here that makes me think “I must hear this again”.

Therefore, maybe it is all in the lyrics – but then if that is so perhaps some of them should have been a bit clearer.

I guess it is because I didn’t understand anything of what is going on, I also didn’t understand the repeated two-note chord at the end.  Would anyone like to enlighten me – I am sure this is all my failing to understand, nothing else.

Spoon & Cherry

Tony: Trepidation – this track is over five minutes long.  Will I survive the jerky introduction?   OK I have to, although it goes on and on and … it’s still going.  Aaron – would you like to write a review of this song, telling us why you selected it?  Or if not Aaron, then is there a reader of Untold who could send in a positive review of this track (or failing that any track reviewed here).   Send to Tony@schools.co.uk and mark it Zimmerman Review.  Ideally as a word file, but if not, I can still use it.

I am really sorry Aaron, I just don’t get it.   What is there here?  I can’t make out the lyrics, the instrumentation seems unstructured, there is nothing in the melody or chord changes that makes me sit up.  And although the song is not finished, I can’t think of anything else to say.

You Were There, But You Weren’t There

Tony: The last one, which is good, and I think this is the first time I’ve ever thought this in all the songs that we’ve reviewed this way between us.   I think this must be a style of music that I have not been introduced to before, and that contains hidden depths and secrets which I have just not understood.  I entered the cavern and took a wrong turning is a phrase that seems to encapsulate where I am.

Can someone tell me the generic name for this type of music?  That’s not because I’m going to make some silly crack about “I’ll know to avoid it” but rather because I genuinely would like to understand.

Sorry everyone.  I just don’t get it.  Even the percussion just plods, lines without interest are simply repeated for no purpose…  Is this art?

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