Hailing from Long Beach Island, Jersey Shore singer/songwriter Ryan Zimmerman has a sound that grows away from the typical music scene in his area of residence. The general “Jersey Shore Sound” lends itself to musicians like Bruce Springsteen, music with a dance beat that talks about the life of the underdog (I had to look this up). In contrast, Zimmerman’s songs may be about life, but they seem to be less dance-worthy and more about the story they tell, which are not always a happy story (in fact, they are pretty sad ones, but they make for great music).
I don’t know much about the Jersey Shore Sound, but I know this guy's music doesn’t sound like Springsteen, and that’s good. Not that I don’t like a good Springsteen song or two, but sometimes you want to listen to some slower music that makes you want to think instead of move.
Zimmerman’s music is roots and eclectic. He’s a singer/songwriter that calls up a band when he needs them, for touring and for filling in on the recording. But he’s a storyteller, and that makes his music all his own. He recently released a new EP, Ephemeral as a Kiss. What’s great about this album is that it is such an amazing blend of sounds.
“The Reason,” a song the artist wrote about his struggles in his twenties, is kind of a meshing of folk, rock, and blues. It’s a song with a lot of character and it has an eclectic sound, something you’ll notice about all four of the songs on this EP. I like many of the lyrics in this song. This is the chorus:
“There’s some reason why I get by
I don’t understand it
I don’t ask why
Maybe next season I’ll give it a try”
“Backpacks” is my favorite song on this album. It has a mellow and easy sound to it, blending acoustic with electric for a full and open sound. It’s really a deep and depressing song. According to the press release, it’s about a friend of his that suffered from depression and ended up taking his own life. I didn’t get that out of it the first time I listened. Sad, but such a beautiful song.
“Lola And John” is a true storyteller’s delight. “Lola came to my window…” starts the song. This one has a real folk/country sound to it. I feel like you really get a good taste of Zimmerman’s vocals on this one as well. He really has a smokey and mesmerizing voice. He knows his characters in this song. He pulls you into their lives and makes you feel for them. Another sad song, yet hauntingly beautiful. I am really impressed with this sound and the talent in each of these songs.
“For The Meek” is the final track on this collection of deep and eclectic songs full of imagery that will have your mind full of more than just tunes. This song is completely different than the other three, sound-wise. This one has a cool and smooth reggae beat. The drums will have you grooving. Zimmerman doesn’t stray away from his mellow vocal tone for this one either. The lyrics, the beat, those all sound perfectly reggae, though.
If you’re someone that really digs a good story in a song, you will find so much pleasure in these tracks. I was really happy I got to read the background on the first two tracks, which are my favorites. However, I also really enjoyed the complete change that came with the final song. Zimmerman is an extremely talented musician and songwriter.
You can get your own hand (or ears) on this music by visiting Ryan Zimmerman’s website.