Dan Israel CD release – You’re Free – at the Cedar Cultural Center

The musical stars came out for Dan Israel’s CD release Tuesday night – and many of them joined him on stage to celebrate his fourteenth album. I enjoyed hearing some of his older work like Mama’s Kitchen, which I think is a great showcase for the strings on stage. But his newest work (You’re Free) was the shining star and it feels a little different than past work.

Apparently he left his “day job” to concentrate on his music and dedicate attention to his music. You’re Free (the song) gives voice to the freedom of leaving a job, doing what you want. The words are not veiled “no one body knows what you felt inside, you were along for the lonely ride, how you emerged with your pride is a mystery; All of the world is your oyster now…”  It’s pretty straightforward and it’s a feeling that I think is pretty universal for folks who are lucky enough to have a passion but wait for a while to dive in full force.

The sound is rock and country and makes you sway. It’s upbeat and moving forward. Israel has a warm baritone that feels like an old friend in the room.

I’m a fan especially of Make this Life Mine, the beginning feels like a story or maybe like a Disney start. It highlights the lower vibes of Israel’s voice, unique but comfortable. The drums have an exotic fee and the backup vocals add a ethereal sound. It’s a little melancholy, a little unapologetic in theme with an undercurrent of celebration.

Leading off the night was Rich Mattson & the Northstars. They are always fun too. Glad they played Youngest Old Friend of Mine. They remind me of X, in a really good way.

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