For his 13th album, St. Louis Park musician Dan Israel picked the simple title “Dan.”
The cover features Israel dolefully holding a flower, an indication of the lovelorn tunes the record contains – songs like “You Don’t Love Me Anymore,” “Moving Day,” “Lonely Too” and “Now You’re On Your Own.”
Despite the album’s focus on Israel’s divorce, it also gives a nod to his children’s ability to withstand the situation in the song “Two Bright Stars.” Israel wrote, “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 the darkness, there remain two bright stars.”
Israel’s own press materials note he has a history of writing about gloomy situations.
“Dan Israel has never been for the faint of heart,” his sheet about his new record states. “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.”
Nevertheless, the sheet continues, “But then you dig a little deeper, and there’s sunshine poking through the gray skies.”
The announcement also calls “Dan” Israel’s “most honest and rewarding record yet.” It concludes, “Yes, it’s a ‘divorce album,’ there’s no getting away from that, but it’s also about picking up the pieces from such a status-quo-shattering event and moving forward in the direction of something better. Lucky or not, maybe the 13th time really is the charm for Dan Israel.”
The album features a number of musical guests, like Adam Levy of the Honeydogs, Dave Boquist of Son Volt and Rich Mattson of Glenrustles and Ol’ Yeller, among many others.
Israel has been recording albums and playing gigs for more than 20 years. He has been named the 2006 Minnesota Music Awards Songwriter of the Year, one of the top 15 songwriters in Austin, Texas, in an Austin Chronicle 1995 poll and City Pages’ 2005 Best Acoustic Performer.
Israel became the first guest on 89.3 The Current’s “The Local Show.”
In a 2014 City Pages article about the radio station’s first decade, original host of The Local Show Chris Roberts related how Israel saved his day while Roberts scrambled to find a guest for the first deejay show of his life.
“This is why Dan Israel is a hero to me,” the article quoted Roberts as saying. “He was working at his job at the state Capitol. He went home in rush-hour traffic to St. Louis Park and got his guitar, and came back and we recorded the show.”
He has also received positive reviews in the United Kingdom’s Uncut magazine and Paste, among other publications. A 2000 Pioneer Press review by Jim Walsh said of Israel’s prior album “Dan Who,” “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.”
Israel has performed with a plethora of musicians, including Morrissey, Loudon Wainwright III, The Tragically Hip, the Reverend Horton Heat, Mason Jennings, Chris Koza, Kevin Costner, the Gear Daddies, Trampled by Turtles, Charlie Parr, Peter Himmelman, Soul Asylum, Blue Oyster Cult, Rick Springfield and Spoon.
If you go…
Israel will perform at a CD release party 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, at the 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. N.E., Minneapolis. There is no cost to attend, but audience members must be 21 years of age or older.
To learn more about Israel and his new album, visit danisraelmusic.com.
Contact Seth Rowe at [email protected]