Had I approached this disc in the manner I used to approach music so often labeled "folk" or "Americana" as little as a year ago, this would have been a very different review. As it stands now, however, after several albums and years on the local scene, Dan Israel has won at least one new fan. I always viewed albums like this as uninspired, a valiant but ultimately vain attempt to cling hard to a past that maybe didn't exist to begin with, but truthfully, that is hardly ever true about albums in this genre. There is plenty of inventiveness on Turning, and the long list of guest musicians Israel brought along to help out strengthened every track in some way, whether it be the Hammond organ on "News to Me" or the harmonica on "No One Ever Really Dies" (yes, that's a Neptunes reference, for those keeping score at home). While Israel is perfectly capable on his own, this album would have sagged just a bit without their contributions. It's an introspective disc that finds Israel thinking outside of himself much of the time, whether about the abominations perpetrated by warlords in Africa or about raising a child and the difficulties therein. Every subject is treated with care, but not with kid gloves. Overall, Turning seems to be about trying to be a good person, inside and out. While that may seem boring, when was the last time you heard an album that made you question exactly what your inherent value is to other people, instead of the other way around?
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