11 Songs, 52 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

As a master instrumentalist with convincing everyman vocal skills, Mark Knopfler has had no trouble turning from rock music’s big stage to folk music’s modest ways and means. His solo career has enabled him to sit back and write story-songs that break on a sad, downtrodden note and spring to life on spirited ensemble playing. Deep down, Knopfler has always been a traditionalist and admirer of subtle touches. His own playing can effortlessly rustle up a manic flee of notes, but it’s the forlorn pennywhistle and fiddle of “Border Reiver,” the mournful organ of “Hard Shoulder” and the naturalistic acoustic guitars picking away in the background throughout that best serve Knopfler’s demeanor. “Cleaning My Gun” and “You Can’t Beat the House” add an extra shuffle, but the days of empowering electricity seem to have passed him by. The blues folds into Knopfler’s Celtic heritage and his yearning to bring the past into the present without defiling its honest spirit and tone. Sometimes he’s literal (“Before Gas and TV”) and other times it’s all in his hands (“So Far From the Clyde”).

EDITORS’ NOTES

As a master instrumentalist with convincing everyman vocal skills, Mark Knopfler has had no trouble turning from rock music’s big stage to folk music’s modest ways and means. His solo career has enabled him to sit back and write story-songs that break on a sad, downtrodden note and spring to life on spirited ensemble playing. Deep down, Knopfler has always been a traditionalist and admirer of subtle touches. His own playing can effortlessly rustle up a manic flee of notes, but it’s the forlorn pennywhistle and fiddle of “Border Reiver,” the mournful organ of “Hard Shoulder” and the naturalistic acoustic guitars picking away in the background throughout that best serve Knopfler’s demeanor. “Cleaning My Gun” and “You Can’t Beat the House” add an extra shuffle, but the days of empowering electricity seem to have passed him by. The blues folds into Knopfler’s Celtic heritage and his yearning to bring the past into the present without defiling its honest spirit and tone. Sometimes he’s literal (“Before Gas and TV”) and other times it’s all in his hands (“So Far From the Clyde”).

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