Dan Israel | Dan

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United States - Minnesota

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Rock: Americana Folk: Folk-Rock Moods: Featuring Guitar
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by Dan Israel

Tuneful, jangly folk-rock in the Americana style of things - think Tom Petty/Byrds/Dylan/Neil Young/Westerberg/Jayhawks.
Genre: Rock: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Winter Is Coming
3:36 $0.99
2. Be With Me
4:33 $0.99
3. Can't Believe It
3:31 $0.99
4. Two Bright Stars
3:24 $0.99
5. You Don't Love Me Anymore
3:49 $0.99
6. Moving Day
3:44 $0.99
7. Lonely Too
3:12 $0.99
8. Try and Let You Know
4:04 $0.99
9. Winning At Solitaire
3:03 $0.99
10. Now You're On Your Own
1:58 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"If you don't wanna be with me, you don't gotta be with me," Twin Citian Dan Israel sings plaintively on his new release "Dan," his 13th studio album of original material. It's the sound of someone finally letting go, after years of holding on to a hope that is quite simply never going to materialize. It's the sound of acceptance, and it's not all "hang-your-head" stuff either - there is liberation here, despite the tears.

In the final verse of "Be With Me," a musically rollicking long-time-coming/shoulda-seen-it-coming break-up song that features Twin Cities chanteuse Katie Gearty on harmony vocals and Paul Odegaard on trumpet, Israel concludes "I'll leave you alone, but alone is what you'll be, you can avert your eyes, but someday you'll realize, all the good things you lost when you lost me." Pop overtones aside, these aren't bubblegum lyrics. This is a real person coming clean and setting himself free, finally. "You Don't Love Me Anymore" is a radio-ready tune of romance-gone-wrong featuring Adam Levy (Honeydogs) on guitar and Bethany Larson on vocals. Other notable special guests such as Dave Boquist (Son Volt), Dan Neale, Andra Suchy, Jenny Russ, Clay Willams, Rich Mattson (Glenrustles, Ol' Yeller), and Peter J. Sands join the core band (David J. Russ on drums, Mike Lane on bass, and James Tyler O'Neill on keys) in making Israel's lucky/unlucky record #13 soar above the pain, with basic tracks recorded at Mattson's Sparta Sound on the Iron Range in northern Minnesota and overdubs laid down at Russ's It's a Secret studios in Minneapolis.

Dan Israel has never been for the faint of heart. While his tunes overflow with hooks, his lyrics are often downcast to the point of being downright depressing, and his cantankerous, get-off-my-lawn nature gives new meaning to the term "old soul." "Old soul" nothing - sometimes Dan Israel just sounds like a grumpy old man.

But then you dig a little deeper, and there's sunshine poking through the gray skies. Here he is on "Two Bright Stars," celebrating his resilient children and their ability to withstand and blossom despite the heartbreak of a broken home: "Two bright stars are glowing, where our love used to be, casting light in the shadows, where it seemed so empty, though we just couldn't make it, living proof shows the scars, despite all of the darkness, there remain two bright stars."

"Winning at Solitaire" bounces along like a great, lost Traveling Wilburys track, while "Winter is Coming" looks forward, apprehensively, to that most dreaded of seasons in the Upper Midwest, concluding with Israel telling himself that it's finally time to "make your peace with the change." From the shimmering, 12-string electric-guitar jangle-pop of "Lonely Too" to the Neil Young-like crunch-rock of "Can't Believe It," the sonic surprises amidst the emotional troughs keep the listener engaged from start to finish; "Dan" is Dan Israel at his best, and it's his most honest and rewarding record yet.

He's been making albums and playing live shows for well over two decades. The accolades and awards speak for themselves: 2006 Minnesota Music Awards Songwriter of the Year; named one of Austin's top 15 songwriters in the 1995 Austin Chronicle music poll; City Pages' 2005 Best Acoustic Performer; first-ever guest on 89.3 The Current's Local Show; 4-star review (for 2007's "Turning") in the U.K.'s Uncut magazine; and glowing reviews in No Depression, Paste, and Performing Songwriter. Local critics have called him a "legend" and "the hardest working singer-songwriter in Minnesota." In his 4-star St. Paul Pioneer Press review of Israel's 2000 release "Dan Who?", Jim Walsh concluded "Well, somebody buy a billboard, hire a blimp, and give this guy his due already. His name is Dan Israel, one of the mad ones, one of the strugglers, and he just made the record of his life."

Dan Israel has been around - he's showcased multiple times at SXSW and has opened for or shared bills with artists as diverse as Morrissey, Loudon Wainwright III, the Tragically Hip, Iris Dement, the Rev. Horton Heat, Marshall Crenshaw, Tommy Keene, Mason Jennings, Chris Koza, Kevin Costner, Yael Naim, Todd Snider, the Gear Daddies, Trampled by Turtles, Charlie Parr, Peter Himmelman, Soul Asylum, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Blue Oyster Cult, Rick Springfield, Spoon, Mary Lou Lord, Dwight Twilley, Foghat, Joe Ely, and Paula Cole.

With critics singing his praises, and frequent comparisons drawn to successful artists like Tom Petty and Wilco, along with cult favorites like Randy Newman, the Jayhawks, Paul Westerberg, and Freedy Johnston, sometimes you can't help but wonder where and when Dan Israel's musical ship will come in. He's certainly written his share of shoulda-been hits, many of which were included in his fan-funded 2013 "best of" 2-LP vinyl compilation "Danthology."

But does any of that matter? Not really. Because Dan Israel, on his 13th album "Dan," has done something actually rather extraordinary in this age of artifice and overly self-conscious pretension - he has simply told it like it is. And you can sing along to it too."Dan" is about picking up the pieces when life falls apart, and moving forward in the direction of something better. Lucky or not, maybe the 13th time really is the charm for Dan Israel.

Here are some nice things people are saying (so far) about my 13th studio album, "Dan"

“Dan is an album that plays up Israel’s strengths, his lyrics turning in unexpected and insightful directions, carried aloft by infectious melodies and an ever-exuberant band.” – Paste Magazine, Eric Swedlund

“Dan Israel deserves far more recognition that he’s attained thus far. Exceedingly heartfelt and clearly soaked in sentiment, his music avoids the usual maudlin touches that often plague others scouring in similar terrain.... Dan is both fresh and vital, a rousing encounter that substitutes mirth for melancholia” – No Depression, Lee Zimmerman

“The songs have the architectural integrity of a small-town schoolhouse or chapel, and like those structures they’re all about time: the encroachment of the northern cold, domestic comings and goings, the ashes of bygone love ready to be swept away.” – Minnesota Monthly, Quinton Skinner

“There’s plenty of gold at album’s end, though, plus lots of sharp hooks and some of Israel’s richest song arrangements yet, with key support from pianist James Tyler O’Neill and guest vocalists such as Katie Gearty, Bethany Larson and Andra Suchy.” – StarTribune, Chris Riemenschneider

"The best part of "Dan," though, is the music, some of Israel's strongest. His divorce informs most of the songs, but they're often surprisingly upbeat musically, particularly the insanely catchy "You Don't Love Me Anymore," featuring the Honeydogs' Adam Levy on guitar and additional vocals from Bethany Larson.” – St. Paul Pioneer Press, Ross Raihala

“Though he’s never become a household name, Minnesota native Dan Israel has carved out a successful — and prolific — career for himself. As frontman for Americana outfit The Cultivators and a solo performer, Israel has churned out quality album after quality album. Latest effort “Dan” is his 13th studio effort and finds him on top of his game....If you have yet to discover this talented artist, here’s a chance to get to know the music of Dan Israel. You won’t regret it.” Pittsburgh in Tune, Jeffrey Sisk

“But the cool thing is: the album is so full of great songs (if the horn-tinged “Be With Me” isn’t your favorite song of the day I will literally eat my hat) that you can take it just at that level too. Meaning: it’s fun at the same time it’s sad. Great stuff. And proving again that Dan definitely belongs where he is ascending to: the upper echelon of Minneapolis musicians.” – L’Etoile magazine, Jon Hunt

“Israel's sound falls into the roots rock territory, with hints of Tom Petty, The Jayhawks and Paul Westerberg. This is a poppier, more straight-ahead collection and tracks like "Be With Me", "Can't Believe It" and "You Don't Love Me Anymore" boast excellent melodies and hooks. If you're new to Dan, start here and the dive back into his vast catalog.” – Absolute Powerpop blog

“You Don’t Love Me Anymore” is a radio-ready rocker of romance-gone-wrong featuring Adam Levy (Honeydogs) on guitar and Bethany Larson on vocals. The 12-string electric-guitar jangle goodness of “Can’t Believe It” and “Lonely Too” play out like lost Wilco tunes, and overall the quality of songs is pretty consistent. Dan’s been playing for a while (this is his 13th album) and he’s definitely an artist who deserves to be heard.” – Powerpopaholic blog



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