Dan Israel Dan Israel

Listening to Dan Israel is reminiscent of your first sip of dad’s liquor: you weren’t sure if you liked the taste but it sure did start to grow on you. Dan has now released eight records: three as a member of Minneapolis’ Cultivators, one as a member of Potter’s Field and this, his fourth solo record. This self-titled release is an accomplished treat as we discover a man seemingly at peace with his world, enraptured with the birth of his first child and beginning to bathe in the critical success of his musical alter ego. Life is good — you can hear it. Like any of Dan’s solo ventures, this album is sparsely recorded with a raw, bare bones sound, thanks to Dan doing everything himself. Yet it is also packed with pleasant surprises as our poor man’s Dylan rocks his butt off on some delightfully sloppy and sleazy outings like "Question,” "Ain’t Nobody” (introducing some tasty slide to an unlikely marriage of Alejandro Escovedo to the Replacements) and "Plenty,” which rams Ian Hunter into Rank & File — not bad for a singer-songwriter-new Dad. "Cold Cold Winter” may clone some chords from "Sweet Jane” but presents a poignant side of the DanMan which, despite its dark lyric, betrays his joyful state. "Be By Me” is surely one of his most perfect songs while "Untitled” is notable for its insider glimpse into an intimate moment between father and newborn son. The future looks bright, indeed. (Chonta)