RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Mark Knopfler – Privateering
Verve Music Group

Rating: B

Mark Knopfler will forever be remembered for that white headband he wore during the MTV video for “Money for Nothing” and for being one of the best all around guitarists and songwriters of his generation.  In September of 2012, the guitarist released a solo album everywhere but the USA as there was an issue with his USA record company Warner Bros.  Now, finally, the album has been released in the USA on Verve Records. 

The double album shows the musician has been in a creative stride, as there are many songs, each written with mastery.  The music swoons from Bob Dylan like social commentary to easy listening rockers, all with the unique magic that only Knopfler can give a song.  If acoustic, it is some sort of Application Mountain acoustic bluesy stuff and if on electric...oh that electric sound he gets….LIKE BUTTER!  Mark gets his sound through his physical approach to playing lead guitar and no one does it better! 

 “I chose to make a double album this time just because of the sheer volume of material,” Knopfler says. “I didn’t want to separate songs into genres, and I didn’t want to leave too many songs on the shelf. I just wanted it to be a reflection of the fantastic sessions we had.”

Knopfler may be the creator of the music and it is his name on the package, but he knows that he has a wonderful band that includes Guy Fletcher (keyboards), Richard Bennett (guitar), Jim Cox (piano), Glenn Worf (bass), Mike McGoldrick (whistle and flute), John McCusker (fiddle) and the recent addition of Ian Thomas (drums). Special guests include Paul Franklin (pedal steel), Kim Wilson, (harmonica), Tim O’Brien (mandolin) and the Wailin’ Jennys’ singer Ruth Moody.

“With a great bunch of players, it’s the same as a great group of actors reading a script from the page, the thing can come alive in ways it just never has before,” Knopfler added. “This is the band I have been working toward my whole life.”

This is more than the MTV era of Dire Straits.  This is an album of heartfelt music that actually means something to both the creator of the music, and the performers playing it.  The listener can't help but get swept up in the album's humaness.   

And it is finally out in the States…making this one a case for the old saying, better late than never!

By Jeb Wright