Led by 27 year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist
Israel, Minneapolis' Cultivators (formerly known as Dan Israel and
the Cultivators) serve up a simmering, finely crafted mix of bittersweet
country, folk, and pop-tinged rock and roll on their 12-song sopomore outing
"Mama's Kitchen". From the rollicking kick-off number "All Alone" to the
Celtic lilt of "Happy Again", from the haunted country lament of "Wrong
Side" to the subdued, naked honesty of the title track, all the way to
the thrashy rave-up "Word on the Street". "Mama's Kitchen" is a
memorable work encompassing a deep and wide range of emotions and musical
With such a musically and lyrically strong batch
of songs to work with, a rock-solid foundation (anchored by guitarrist/mandolin
player Tom Sampson, bassist Jeremy Smith, and drummer Andy Rauh) and guest
stars aplenty (including veterans of the Gear Daddies, the Peter Himmelmann
Band, and the Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers), "Mama's Kitchen"
serves notice to Minneapolis and the world at large that "Graduation Day"
isn't far off for Dan Israel and his band the cultivators.