An evening with Roy Zimmerman

An evening with Roy Zimmerman

I became familiar with the work of Roy Zimmerman when it began showing up in my social media news feed earlier this year.  I have no idea how I missed hearing any of his work before this unsought discovery.  After watching a few of his YouTube clips I did a little research on the work of this artist and discovered he has been around doing political parody and writing his own work much longer that I have even been politically conscious.  Based on what I have seen on YouTube, Roy plays really excellent guitar and his parody work, the latest of it and even the older stuff, touches all the right nerves in his target audience.  That target audience according to him are what he refers to as the “Blue Dots” of traditionally the least progressive places.  He selected a good venue in this, the most conservative stretch of Old Route 66.  Someone at my church was on the ball and managed to get him booked for an evening of two sets of his trademark parody songs and some of his original work, too.  As it turns out, Roy Zimmerman plays mainly Unitarian Universalist churches around the nation.  According to him, UU churches are rallying points for us Blue Dots.  Hope UU became another stop on his current ReZist Tour.

Zimmerman played as a one-man show with only his guitar to accompany and he opened the first set with one of his original pieces of work with the refrain of Hope, Struggle and Change.  He then launched into a parody song of My TV, which was a Presidential metaphor that he had to explain and play twice just like he does in the YouTube video.  His third number was a most excellent parody cover of the Godfather theme from just a few months ago, The Don.  Roy then struck up on of my favorites of his recent parody pieces, Pixie Man about the Attorney General Jefferson BEAUREGARD Sessions.  After an original song about religious freedom he played an older original work entitled Abstain With Me about abstinence-only sex education which made me roll out of my chair.  Roy then did an excellent performance of one of his more recent parody works entitled Joel Osteen to the tune of Dolly Parton’s Jolene about the wealthy televangelist’s conditional response to the humanitarian crisis generated by the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston.  He followed that number with an original piece produced after the Orlando shooting last year, To the Victims of This Tragedy We Send Our Thoughts and Prayers.  After the corporate jingle parody from six months ago, United, Roy finished the set with an original song entitled My Vote, My Voice, My Right.

As with all performers, there was a swag table in the foyer.  I purchased two of Roy’s CDs, one of which was Real American produced in 2010, which contains a lot of his less recent work I have not previously heard including This Machine, Real America, Summer of Loving and several others.

Roy led off the second set with To Be A Liberal followed by Driving While Black.  After his own rendition of the old stand by We Shall Overcome, he performed a song I had not before heard but it connected with me and everyone else in the audience, Psychedelic Relic.  Roy finished out the set with Defenders of Marriage, Turn off the Hubbel, I’ll See Your Race Card and I’ll Raise You and Blue Dot People.  The audience called for an encore performance and Roy obliged.  The first of the encore numbers was his parody remake of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Trouble Water…..Brick Thrown In Troubled Water.

Roy finished the evening with a final encore and probably my favorite of his, an excellent guitar number and cover of Tommy Tutone’s sing-along song 867-5309, T-R-E-A-S-O-N.

There are other parody song producers that have all manner of stuff uploaded to YouTube and other available online sites.  Rocky Mountain Mike and The Parody Project come to mind and have done a litany of Resistance and anti-Trump work.  It was Roy Zimmerman however who booked a live gig on a Sunday evening at Hope Unitarian Church, a venue along the Mother Road’s most conservative stretch.  Roy’s influences of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger came shining through brightly and his talent as a guitar artist was well demonstrated.  Roy and his wife, Melanie, reside in the Northern California community of Lakeport.  I totally get his take on them now being empty nesters and playing concerts to all the “Blue Dots.”  I agree with Roy that it is more along the lines of “entertaining the troops” as he like Yours Truly prefer to see ourselves as foot soldiers in the Progressive cause.  Having heard his show in person I will say that Roy Zimmerman is both entertaining and uplifting.  He articulates well a lot of sentiments that, for any one of a number of reasons, cannot be expressed.  If anyone is able to make it to a Roy Zimmerman concert it will be well worth their effort and a well spent $20.  My thanks go out to Roy and all the folks at Hope UU who made his show happen.

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