Israel - Dan Who?
the bravest and most memorable moments in rock history have
occurred when established stars have tried to shed their typecasting
by the public and done something drastically different in
order to prove a point, or just to follow their musical whims.
shocked everyone in the mid 60s by plugging in an electric
guitar; Led Zeppelin followed up their huge second album,
a hard rock classic containing "Whole Lotta Love"
among others, with the mostly acoustic third album; Bruce
Springsteen took some time off from the E. Street Band in
the early 80s to record and tour with the acoustic Nebraska
album before returning to do the "Born In The USA"
case, the risk was considerable, but they pushed on anyway
to be true to themselves. On a much smaller scale, independent
artist, Dan Israel, has done the same thing with his new Dan
Who? album. Dan is the leader of a Minnesota-based roots
rock band called The
Cultivators, who follow in the best tradition of bands
like The Jayhawks, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and
have released two records (see
my review of their latest, 1999's Mama's Kitchen),
and have achieved modest success with airplay internationally
and on college radio stations. Dan could have stayed comfortably
in the confines of the band and gone straight into working
on their next record, but instead he decided to take a detour
and come out with this collection, 12 songs featuring just
him and his acoustic guitar.
tracks were just too personal. They were not "band songs"
- they were songs about the struggle of a no-name artist:
lack of recognition, trying to keep up with musical trends,
loss of old friends, the trials of growing up and realizing
just how important your family is in your life. On the surface,
this collection may seem too idiosyncratic for some, but in
a way, it's a reflection of everyone's struggle through life.
feels like you're in Dan Israel's living room and you've asked
him to play his new songs for you. Not far removed from the
level of a demo recording, There are overdubs for guitar leads
- but nothing too elaborate. The listener feels included in
a small closed circle of friends and one almost hesitates
to tell the rest of the world, but Dan Israel should be heard.
He easily has the talent to be a big star.
of the music business has to do with luck and the right time
and place. Dan Israel is better off with full-band electric
records like Mama's KItchen. An all-acoustic album
like this probably won't be a breakout record. He knows that
too, but he still had the courage to make it, and for that
he deserves a lot of respect.
I like about Dan so much is that he doesn't take himself too
seriously. He named his solo album Dan Who?. He included
an interview with himself in his media packet. However, what
he does take
very seriously is his music and being true to himself and
his upbringing. He's real. No influence from money-minded
A & R men at big record companies. People like him are
the true mirrors of society.
reviewer wrote that someone should buy out a billboard or
rent a blimp to spread the word for him. I agree. He needs
a big break. I hope he gets it soon. May he get his recognition
in his lifetime. He deserves it.