Ryan Zimmerman’s New Album No Overhead/ No Liability a Portrait of an East Coast Artist

For Hardworking Musician, Living His Passion ‘Beats Digging Ditches’
By Victoria Ford | Oct 02, 2019
Courtesy of: Ryan Zimmerman

Long Beach Island — Long Beach Island-based guitarist-singer-songwriter Ryan Zimmerman’s new seven-song album, No Overhead/ No Liability, opens with an enigmatic monologue set to music, in which the speaker describes the power of song: “Music produces transcendent experiences, (where) the music and the person are the same thing.”

No Overhead is Zimmerman’s third release as a solo act, second full-length; last year he put out the EP (a shorter collection of songs) Ephemeral as a Kiss.

Thematically, Zimmerman said the new album is a musical portrait of an artist who lives the seasonal lifestyle on the coast of the Northeast, “and everything that goes with that: drinking too much, heartache, working hard, and travel. That seems to sum up everything I write about.”

His album release party on Sept. 12 at the Old Causeway Steak and Oyster House in Manahawkin was a “total success,” he said.

“On all the releases, I’ve been reaching out to musicians I admire to ask them to work with me on the songs I wrote,” he explained. “I usually send them a demo, have them listen to it to let them know what I’m looking for. Pretty much every song has a different collaboration of musicians on it.

“Pete Steinkopf of The Bouncing Souls has been producing these projects, so I bring all these ideas and musicians to him, and he gets everything organized and cohesive so it sounds euphonious on tape. Then it’s my job to get it out into the world, and that’s a whole other monster!”

Right now fans can download the new album (and all his music) from his website, ryanzimmermanmusic.com, stream it on all major platforms, and purchase physical copies at his shows.

While Zimmerman admits it’s hard for him to describe his own sound, style and genre, such words as blues-y, beach-y and folk definitely apply. Throw in funk, reggae, punk and Americana to cover all the bases.

“Lately, the best I could come up with is ‘groove-oriented rock ’n’ roll,’” he said. “I think that works pretty good, but whatever the listener has in mind is fine by me.”

His versatility is among his greatest strengths.

“I know it sounds clichéd, but I play and listen to ‘everything.’ I even get some dance loop beats going at my acoustic shows.”

No Overhead includes some delightfully unexpected instruments including banjo, mandolin and dobro, courtesy of Zimmerman’s good friend Josh Werner. On “My Woman Done Left Me,” listen for collaborators James Sattler on violin and Erik Kramer on standup bass.

Zimmerman said he plans to create a credits page on his website to name all the musicians he has worked with. “Since streaming is so popular these days, it’s hard to give credit where credit is due, and everyone I work with deserves a lot of credit. They work hard and have their own projects that should be checked out as well.”

This latest work of art, he said, “means everything to me, because this is what I do.”

“These thoughts and ideas are deep in my bones, and I’m really not good at expressing myself any other way.” Compiling and releasing an album of original music is “extremely satisfying. It satisfies my mind, body and soul, and I truly want the listener to have that same feeling – I really mean that.”

Zimmerman has been playing and writing music for as long as he can remember. The proverbial bumps in the road, and even the detours, have only helped shape him as the artist he is today.

Music, he said, is the product of the artist’s emotions that are put into the world to be appreciated from the listeners’ point of view. He believes musicians have “a moral obligation to the listener, to grow and perform to make the world a better place. Musicians have the ability to make things come together and create experiences that make life worth living. So I am always growing by taking on that responsibility.

“I’m fine with that – and it beats digging ditches.”

Zimmerman is ready to embark on his fall tour and will be on the road for most of October and November. He also has a winter tour in the works.

— Victoria Ford


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