Funded! This project was successfully funded on January 11, 2013.

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I recently completed recording my 12th album, entitled "Live On." I truly need your help to get the project out there to the world.

Hi there.  You might know me by now, or perhaps not.  My name is Dan Israel. 

Short version:  If you know my deal already, feel free to skip the relatively detailed treatise that follows.  I would be incredibly grateful if you could support this project.  The various backer levels allow you several choices, including receiving a download of my new album; a download plus a CD; a download plus a CD plus an exclusive, limited-edition vinyl compilation (including a collection of songs from throughout my 12 releases), as well as other perks if you decide you want to commit to a greater level of support. Anything you can do will help - thank you!  p.s. Please watch the video!

Long version:  I've been playing original music for about 22 years.  I started out playing in bands in Chicago (One Town Horse) and Austin, TX (Potter's Field), where I released my first album and finally started to make a name for myself.  I was named one of Austin's top 15 songwriters in the 1995 Austin Chronicle music poll.  I moved back to Minneapolis (my hometown) in 1996 and formed Dan Israel and the Cultivators, releasing 10 more albums in various incarnations.  I won Song of the Year (for "Come to Me") in the 2005 MN Music Awards and was named Songwriter of the Year in the 2006 MN Music Awards.  A glowing, front-page-of-the-entertainment-section, 4-star feature/review of my 2000 solo acoustic album "Dan Who?" by Jim Walsh in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, which basically asked "why the hell is this guy still unknown?," was something of a breakthrough for me.  Over the years, I've opened for artists like Morrissey, Loudon Wainwright III, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Iris Dement, Todd Snider, Kevin Costner (yes, that Kevin Costner), Spoon, the Tragically Hip, Ben Weaver, Fastball, Dwight Twilley, Chris Koza, Trampled by Turtles, Soul Asylum, Mason Jennings, Peter Himmelman, the Gear Daddies, Slim Dunlap, Tommy Keene, Foghat, Blue Oyster Cult, and Rick Springfield (!).  I have a bit of a fan base at this point - not huge, but some people in town know me, as do some people in the rest of the United States, a few in Canada, more than a few in Europe (I played some shows in England and continue to sell some records and receive a fair amount of press and radio play in Europe, especially in Holland and Italy - my last couple records have charted pretty highly on the European Americana radio charts), and even some in Japan and Australia.  In 2007, I released an album called "Turning" that featured special guests from bands such as the Jayhawks, Semisonic, Son Volt, Zuzu's Petals, and the Honeydogs.

All along, I've played live incessantly, promoted myself with often-reckless abandon (kind of like I'm doing right now in this Kickstarter project description), got written about in the press a great deal, got myself onto the radio and TV, and generally established a reputation as a guy who can write and record a song or two.  I got a 4-star review in 2008 for "Turning" from Uncut Magazine in the UK,  and I was reviewed quite favorably in several major U.S. publications like No Depression, Paste, and Performing Songwriter.  City Pages named me their Best Acoustic Performer in 2005, and I played three official showcases at the South by Southwest Music Conference (SXSW).  I toured a bit, playing in New York and Chicago and LA and a few other music conferences, and played around the Midwest extensively.  I was the first guest on the Local Show on 89.3 FM, The Current.  My music was played at Minnesota Twins games at Target Field.  So, you get it - I've done some stuff.

In 2005, I became a parent.  It's been the most incredible experience of my life.  Isaac was nothing short of a gift to me and my wife Lisa, and so was his sister Susie, who came along in 2008.  Not only do my kids bring me unending joy (and occasional aggravation, let's be honest here), but they've also inspired some of my best recent songs.  Instead of slowing down with music after having kids, I do believe I've actually ramped up.  Since Isaac was born in 2005, I've probably played more gigs than I did the previous few years and I've put out four albums too.  But there have been challenges.  I have a family to support, and I've been living without any kind of pay increase in years. The music business has changed - CD sales are down across the board, they're not coming back, and paid downloads, while great, have not come close to replacing the lost revenue.  I don't have to tell you that the price of everything has gone up.  At the moment, I find myself with a new project that may not see the light of day if I can't get a little help from my friends.  I used to be able to self-finance my records, and I hope to be able to do it again in the future.  But this time, I can't.  I need your help. 

In late June, I brought a batch of new songs with me up to Sparta, Minnesota (near Eveleth, on the Iron Range) to record with Rich Mattson, who has fronted such great Minnesota bands as Ol' Yeller, the Glenrustles, and the Tisdales.  I had actually recorded part of my debut Cultivators CD ("Before We Met") with Rich many years back (in 1996), so it was a reunion of sorts.  Our longtime drummer and musical partner David J. Russ came up to play drums on the recording, and between the 3 of us, we laid down basic tracks, plus many overdubs, for my 12th album.  In November, I went back up to Sparta to finish the record.  We also brought in awesome guest musicians like Jeremy Ylvisaker (guitar), Jillian Rae (violin), John Schjolberg (pedal steel guitar), James Tyler O'Neill (keyboards) and Paul Odegaard (trumpet) to flesh out the arrangements.  Rich played bass and also added amazing guitar parts (and percussion!) on many songs. Bascially, the recording and mixing of the entire album is already pretty much done, and it sounds FANTASTIC. 

I'm particularly excited about this project.  This is a batch of intensely personal songs that don't shy away from addressing some of the major challenges in my life, but as usual, I haven't forgotten to throw some classic pop hooks into my tunes - as one friend says, "you write the bounciest, catchiest depressing songs I've ever heard."  I do try to be uplifting too - maybe it doesn't always come off that way, but I remain hopeful about the future and always try to put as positive spin as I can on things.  I just like to be honest in my songwriting, that's all.  I feel like there are a few songs on this album that could really break through - in other words, some of my best ones, ever.  Songs like "Live On" and "Until You See a Sign" are ones that could really catch on.  I mean, you never know, right? 

Please understand, too, that it might be helpful to view Kickstarter, in many ways, as really just a "pre-sale" anyway - if you're going to buy my new album later, which I hope you would, it would help me out a LOT more if, this time, you bought it BEFORE it came out.

I am involving incredible guest musicians in the project, top-notch players with stellar reputations, and I want - and need - to pay them.  I am still paying for the recording sessions.  Then I need to get the project mastered, which costs another $500 or so (and some more for the mastering of the vinyl compilation).  Then I need to press CD's.  But I want to make this project special. With the increasing popularity and advantage of pressing vinyl to reach the resurgent audience for that classic medium, and because of my own deep love of listening to RECORDS, it's been a dream of mine for a while to make some of my music available on vinyl, but I didn't want to simply release this album on vinyl and ignore my previous 11 albums in that pursuit - thus the idea of a vinyl compilation was hatched.  I've wanted to put out a "greatest hits" for a while, and while this may not be the be-all and end-all of that endeavor, this feels like the right time to do this.  For one thing, it adds a big perk for you if you're willing to commit a little bit more to funding this project - a special, limited-edition, vinyl compilation, containing music from the new album plus a collection of the best songs from previous releases. (OK, I think I said "vinyl" enough there).  Additionally, I will be making a download card of the new album available to cover all my bases.  Any Kickstarter funds left over after I meet the production and pressing expenses will also be greatly appreciated, and would go towards a small budget for shipping and promotion. I feel like these songs deserve that, and I'm not even ashamed to say that after 11 albums, 22 years in the business, and countless blood, sweat, and tears poured into this pursuit, I deserve this too.  The vinyl compilation will also provide an excellent "exclamation point" on my career to this point.  I'm truly excited about all aspects of this project. I have never taken anything for granted, and I have worked hard, for everything, always. In the past, I've done this all myself.  11 times.  Now, for the 12th time, for the maximum impact and in order to create a quality project that I really want my friends and fans to be involved in and invested in and A PART OF, I need your support.  Whatever you can give.  Anything.  I don't care.  Everything and anything that you can do to bring this project to fruition is appreciated.  And who knows, maybe the 12th time is indeed the charm.  Thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.  p.s. Please watch the video!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The recording of this project is basically done. Our challenges ahead lie in selecting songs for the vinyl compilation, and in the coming weeks, I will be reaching out to you, my fans, my Kickstarter backers, for input on the song selection for the compilation. I have no doubt, though, that given my past track record of delivering my 11 previous high-quality albums on time and on budget, I will have any problem delivering this release in a similar manner.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    4 backers

    Show your support for the project and my music, even if you're low on funds. Every little bit helps. If you back me at this level, I'll send you a free download of 3 of the songs from the new album, before the album comes out. And I'll still be really grateful.

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    28 backers

    Full download of the new album, delivered to you prior to the official release dates. Plus we'll put you on the guest list for an upcoming show.

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    44 backers

    Signed copy of the new CD - delivered to you prior to the official release date. Plus a download card for the new album. Plus we'll put you on the guest list for an upcoming show.

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  • Pledge $35 or more
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    23 backers

    Signed copy of the new CD, plus a signed copy of a VINYL compilation album of some of Dan's best songs from his previous albums along with a couple songs from the new album, delivered to you prior to the official release date. Plus a download card for the new album. Plus we'll put you on the guest list for an upcoming show.

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    1 backer

    Special level for INTERNATIONAL backers (due to increased shipping costs): Signed copy of the new CD, plus a signed copy of a VINYL compilation album of some of Dan's best songs from his previous albums along with a couple songs from the new album, delivered to you prior to the official release date. Plus a download card for the new album. Plus we'll put you on the guest list for an upcoming show, but I suppose it's unlikely, if you're living overseas, that you'll be able to attend one!

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    16 backers

    Signed copy of the new CD, plus a signed copy of a VINYL compilation album of some of Dan's best songs from his previous albums along with a couple songs from the new album, delivered to you prior to the official release dates, PLUS a signed, limited-edition poster for the album. Plus a download card for the new album. Plus we'll put you on the guest list for the ALBUM RELEASE show.

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  • Pledge $75 or more
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    4 backers

    Signed copy of the new CD, plus a signed copy of a VINYL compilation album of some of Dan's best songs from his previous albums along with a couple songs from the new album, delivered to you prior to the official release dates, PLUS YOUR NAME IN THE LINER NOTES OF THE ALBUM and a signed, limited-edition poster for the album. Plus a download card for the new album. Plus we'll put you on the guest list for the ALBUM RELEASE show.

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  • Pledge $100 or more
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    10 backers

    Signed copy of the new CD, plus a signed copy of a VINYL compilation album of some of Dan's best songs from his previous albums along with a couple songs from the new album, delivered to you prior to the official release dates, PLUS YOUR NAME IN THE LINER NOTES OF THE ALBUM and a signed, limited-edition poster for the album. Plus a download card for the new album. Plus we'll put you on the guest list for the ALBUM RELEASE show. PLUS a special "grab bag" "Dan Israel super fan" package that will include a Dan Israel t-shirt and, if you elect to receive them, a few rare Dan Israel artifacts (posters,alternate mixes/outtakes, unreleased recordings, lost demo tapes, etc.), as well as any CD's from the Dan Israel back catalog that you don't currently have in your possession (note: a couple of them are out of print).

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  • Pledge $150 or more
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    7 backers Limited (1 left of 8)

    The entire lyrics to the "Live On" album, handwritten (by Dan, of course) in a journal, plus a signed copy of the new CD, plus a signed copy of a VINYL compilation album of some of Dan's best songs from his previous albums along with a couple songs from the new album, delivered to you prior to the official release dates, PLUS YOUR NAME IN THE LINER NOTES OF THE ALBUM and a signed, limited-edition poster for the album. Plus a download card for the new album. Plus we'll put you on the guest list for the ALBUM RELEASE show. PLUS a special "grab bag" "Dan Israel super fan" package that will include a Dan Israel t-shirt and, if you elect to receive them, a few rare Dan Israel artifacts (posters,alternate mixes/outtakes, unreleased recordings, lost demo tapes, etc.), as well as any CD's from the Dan Israel back catalog that you don't currently have in your possession (note: a couple of them are out of print).

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  • Pledge $375 or more
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    1 backer

    Your own private house concert by Dan Israel - at your house, whenever you want (if you live outside the Twin Cities metro area, we might need to adjust the amount slightly!), plus a signed copy of the CD, plus a signed copy of a VINYL compilation album of some of Dan's best songs from his previous albums along with a couple songs from the new album, delivered to you prior to the official release dates, PLUS YOUR NAME IN THE LINER NOTES OF THE ALBUM. Plus a signed, limited-edition poster for the album. Plus a download card for the new album. Plus we'll put you on the guest list for the ALBUM RELEASE show. PLUS a special "grab bag" "Dan Israel super fan" package that will include a Dan Israel t-shirt and, if you elect to receive them, a few rare Dan Israel artifacts (posters,alternate mixes/outtakes, unreleased recordings, lost demo tapes, etc.), as well as any CD's from the Dan Israel back catalog that you don't currently have in your possession (note: a couple of them are out of print).

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  • Pledge $500 or more
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    0 backers

    I will write and record an acoustic song for you, about you. Plus you get your own private house concert by Dan Israel - at your house, whenever you want (if you live outside the Twin Cities metro area, we might need to adjust the amount slightly!), plus a signed copy of the CD, plus a signed copy of a VINYL compilation album of some of Dan's best songs from his previous albums along with a couple songs from the new album, delivered to you prior to the official release dates, PLUS YOUR NAME IN THE LINER NOTES OF THE ALBUM. Plus a signed, limited-edition poster for the album. Plus a download card for the new album. Plus we'll put you on the guest list for the ALBUM RELEASE show. PLUS a special "grab bag" "Dan Israel super fan" package that will include a Dan Israel t-shirt and, if you elect to receive them, a few rare Dan Israel artifacts (posters,alternate mixes/outtakes, unreleased recordings, lost demo tapes, etc.), as well as any CD's from the Dan Israel back catalog that you don't currently have in your possession (note: a couple of them are out of print).

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  • Pledge $800 or more
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    0 backers

    I will come to your house and mow your lawn, rake your leaves, shovel your driveway, and/or sweep your garage. Plus I will write and record an acoustic song for you, about you. Plus you get your own private house concert by Dan Israel - at your house, whenever you want (if you live outside the Twin Cities metro area, we might need to adjust the amount slightly!), plus a signed copy of the CD, plus a signed copy of a VINYL compilation album of some of Dan's best songs from his previous albums along with a couple songs from the new album, delivered to you prior to the official release dates, PLUS YOUR NAME IN THE LINER NOTES OF THE ALBUM. Plus a signed, limited-edition poster for the album. Plus a download card for the new album. Plus we'll put you on the guest list for the ALBUM RELEASE show. PLUS a special "grab bag" "Dan Israel super fan" package that will include a Dan Israel t-shirt and, if you elect to receive them, a few rare Dan Israel artifacts (posters,alternate mixes/outtakes, unreleased recordings, lost demo tapes, etc.), as well as any CD's from the Dan Israel back catalog that you don't currently have in your possession (note: a couple of them are out of print).

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  • Pledge $2,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    I WILL NAME THE VINYL COMPILATION AFTER YOU - OR ANY NAME YOU WISH TO GIVE IT. YOU WILL HAVE FULL NAMING RIGHTS ON THE COMPILATION. Plus, I will come to your house and mow your lawn, rake your leaves, shovel your driveway, and/or sweep your garage. Plus I will write and record an acoustic song for you, about you. Plus you get your own private house concert by Dan Israel - at your house, whenever you want (if you live outside the Twin Cities metro area, we might need to adjust the amount slightly!), plus a signed copy of the CD, plus a signed copy of a VINYL compilation album of some of Dan's best songs from his previous albums along with a couple songs from the new album, delivered to you prior to the official release dates, PLUS YOUR NAME IN THE LINER NOTES OF THE ALBUM. Plus a signed, limited-edition poster for the album. Plus a download card for the new album. Plus we'll put you on the guest list for the ALBUM RELEASE show. PLUS a special "grab bag" "Dan Israel super fan" package that will include a Dan Israel t-shirt and, if you elect to receive them, a few rare Dan Israel artifacts (posters,alternate mixes/outtakes, unreleased recordings, lost demo tapes, etc.), as well as any CD's from the Dan Israel back catalog that you don't currently have in your possession (note: a couple of them are out of print).

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Funding period

- (35 days)