If you heard that a Minneapolis singer-songwriter had been named Songwriter of the Year in Minnesota in 2006, topping a field that included Grammy-winning, platinum-selling artist Dan Wilson (Semisonic, Dixie Chicks), you’d probably figure that singer-songwriter was pretty good, right? And what if that same Minneapolis singer-songwriter had also won Minnesota’s Song of the Year award in 2005 and was called one of Austin’s top 15 songwriters in the 1995 Austin Music Poll, a list that included Alejandro Escovedo and Daniel Johnston? This guy’s got to be famous, right?
This same singer-songwriter must be huge if he’s opened for Morrissey, the Tragically Hip, Spoon, Rev. Horton Heat, Dwight Twilley, Soul Asylum, Fastball, Mason Jennings, Iris DeMent, Tommy Keene, Susan Cowsill, Amy Rigby, Todd Snider, Ike Reilly, Mary Lou Lord, Steve Wynn, Jon Dee Graham, Steve Poltz, Peter Himmelman, Curt Kirkwood (Meat Puppets), and Pat DiNizio (Smithereens), not to mention the so-uncool-they’re-almost-cool Blue Oyster Cult, Foghat, and Rick Springfield. Right?
After all, surely you would have heard of somebody who’s received positive press in national publications like No Depression and Paste; got a 4-star review in U.K. mega-mag Uncut; was recently mentioned in the Wall Street Journal; gets played regularly on XM radio and numerous major radio stations around the world; toured England; played the prestigious South by Southwest Music Conference several times; inked a licensing deal in Germany; sold thousands of copies of his CD’s; worked his way up the U.S. Americana charts; and has rabid fans in Europe, Japan, Australia, and all over the world. Right?
Well, there are a lot of reasons why the music industry is in freefall (and that’s putting it mildly) these days, but one of them surely has to be its stubborn tendency to ignore the truly talented in favor of the truly mediocre. Representing the former category, Dan Israel seems to have been one casualty of that foolish approach. But that could all change with the release of Turning, Israel’s 9th (!) full-length CD, a star-studded collaboration that showcases Israel’s gripping blend of poignant lyrics and can’t-get-them-out-of-your-head melodies in his most fully realized work yet. Featuring guest spots from Marc Perlman (Jayhawks, Golden Smog), Dave Boquist (Son Volt, Peter Bruntnell), John Munson (Dan Wilson, Semisonic, Trip Shakespeare, New Standards), Jessy Greene (Foo Fighters, Wilco, Jayhawks, the Minus Five, Doomtree, Golden Smog, Soul Asylum), Laurie Lindeen (Zuzu’s Petals), Peter J. Sands (Honeydogs, Tim O’Reagan, Big Ditch Road), David J. Russ (Cultivators, E.L.nO., Conquerors), Martin Devaney, Janey Winterbauer (Astronaut Wife, Golden Smog), Randy Casey (Ol’ Yeller, Luke Zimmerman), Jenny Fraser (Holiday Ranch, Katie McMahon), Andra Suchy (Honeydogs, Hookers ‘n Blow, the Dollys), Molly Maher, JoAnna James, Erik Brandt (Urban Hillbilly Quartet, Romantica), Kris Bowring (Cultivators), Tony Thomas (Anchorhead), John Schjolberg, and Jeff Kleinbaum, Turning might just be the record that finally turns heads and makes the world sit up and take full notice of Dan Israel. Or not.
Website: www.danisraelmusic.com or www.myspace.com/danisrael