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Israel Cannan: Artist Profile & Album Review

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Many people inside and outside of Australia are totally unaware about the vast size of the country. I found this out first hand during my 3 month visit to the US in 2009 including a US Customs & Border Protection agent asking me why did Australia need trains because “you guys are an island.”

One man who is totally aware of the size of Australia is folk/pop artist Israel Cannan. Leaving his home on the east coast of Australia, Israel set off for an epic trip around Australia in February 2010. During the journey, he traveled 21484 kilometres (13 349 miles) in a van with a mate, saw 88 sunsets, stopped at 124 cities and towns and sang for his supper.  The album and accompanying videos are a young man’s story of his trip that many people do not make in their life time.

After recording his first EP at the age of 18, Walk is Israel’s debut album. He wrote the songs, created and played the music and engineered everything himself. Apart from the songs on the album, he also created a series of videos that he made while traveling around the country. He drove through every state of Australia and played for locals along the way. Handing out singles as he went, he found it was a great way to get his music out there. In many regional and isolated communities across Australia, live music does not come along that often.

Talking about his trip, Israel said: “I have never wanted to wait around for some elusive big break that may or may not come. There is a whole world of people out there that will connect with what I do, I just have to find them…”

So how did he go? Did he enjoy the trip? How did he survive using busking as his only income? And is the trip the only thing worth mentioning about him?

In the days of cheap video cameras and easier internet access around the country, the trip might seem like a gimmicky way to promote the album and himself but it has worked. In an age where it is a lot easier to produce and distribute music and other media yourself, it is very easy to call yourself an artist. However, Israel can back it up with his performances on Walk. Anyone who wants to can travel around a large country and have lots of stories that can be told for years. (Did I ever tell you that Christ let me into America & Jesus gave me a car? True story.)

Walk would be an excellent album to have in the car while on a long drive through the country, especially if you want a relaxing series of songs. With mature lyrics beyond his years, in the background are strong but not overpowering guitars. Having heard the story of the journey around Australia, I could imagine that Israel would be equally at home in an outback hotel, a coastal festival, busking at a suburban mall or a city bar. His voice has a raw quality to it which suits the songs well, it will be interesting to see if his style changes as he gets older. It is a solid debut for his first full length album which is starting to get noticed with many copies being sold internationally in the US, Canada & the UK.

A performer’s first album is very important for a variety of reasons. If someone produces a poor first album, they may be singing for their supper in a small outback town. I think that the only reason that Israel may be singing for his supper in that small outback town is if he repeats the trip in the future. With a national tour planned for February/March 2011, keep an ear out for Israel Cannan. His days busking in a remote town are surely numbered……..

Israel Cannan was featured on episode 8 of Insomnia Radio: Australia. Thank you to SGC Media for providing Israel’s music and a review copy of Walk.