Jim Zeller is a songwriter from Kent, OH staple who is a regular at the open mic scenes and gigs around town. He has honest songs with stories that you feel almost immediately attached to.
He stopped by the Gage House Sessions not too long ago and shared a number of his tunes. You can listen and find out more about him below. Enjoy!
About the Artist
Where do you call Home?
Born n raised in Kent OH. Moved away a few times, but always came back. Been back nearly 4 decades now.
What do you enjoy most about being a musician? What are some struggles?
Simply just feels good to play music. You enjoy listening, are moved by it. Then you enjoy and are moved by making! I guess the main struggle for most of us is the feeling of being ignored, unappreciated. Apathy takes over. That is why, regardless that millions of us are out there doing it, millions more are holed up in their cellar. But that’s ok too. I know some that just don’t play. I think that’s a shame.
How do you like to start writing a song and what does the creative process look like?
Since I’ve done so few, it just happens once in a while. Get some strong emotion for some reason tother, occasionally decide to write about it. So sometimes you have some lil riff, maybe mess with it a few months, a year, or longer. Some time or another you get an idea about telling a story and begin writing some verse. I have too many songs that got stuck at this stage of the game. Some for a very long time. One that I finally finished after 30+ years. Other times, you get an idea and start writing lyrics in your head, a melody soon develops and then you sit down and work it out rather quickly. I have a few like this!
If you could open for any artist, who would it be?
Dylan, duh! And hope that maybe he’d listen, for a moment at least, and approve. He, as well as countless others, Young, Springsteen, Petty, Bowie, Bono for Christ sake, Billy Joel lol, even Neil Diamond, but ima gonna stop counting as there are dozens more on the tip of my tongue, that give us so much! To play for anyone, and especially a superstar, and be acknowledged or appreciated for any proficiency or acumen, and to touch them for just that moment as they have touched you for your entire life, would indeed define bliss and success!
What’s one of your favorite regional venues?
Water Street Tavern, Kent OH. This is where I started in 2015 after a 17 year hiatus from the biz. Mike Beder, for reasons I’ve never understood, booked me for a weds night blues, then continued to keep me in the rotation ever since!
Best breakfast in the area?
Over Easy Morning Cafe (formerly Rise and Shine) in Kent
About the Song
What’s the title of this song?
Red Lit Room
What was the inspiration behind this song?
I was living in Milwaukee (not for long lol) a few years after I got excited. Started foolin with the main chorus chord riff, then began thinking about when I got excited. Began writing a literal account of the whole thing. Came up with the bridge riff and added more words. But it was mostly just ideas,fragments, and feelings. Never sat down and attempted to write down or organize or complete anything. Played with it in my mind and practice room for decades on end, then started to organize and write it the past couple years.
Around the Corner
So, back in June last year I did a show for Chris Peshek of NEO Musicians and Songwriters Collaboration. CLE Songwriters Series at CLE Urban Winery. Chris recorded it for me. Voila, I put a cd together! Jim Zeller Live at CLE Urban Winery! (So, the UPCOMING EVENT that I would like to promote is my cd release party at The Fairways at Twin Lakes, Kent Oh on Sunday February 23, 6-9p. Dan, Bethany n BC/Dig a Pony and Mick Rogers will be the openers! I will perform the songs as on the cd, then maybe you’ll want to BUY ONE!
You can find more about the artist here
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