Mark Knopfler Returns With New Studio LP: Listen

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Mark Knopfler (Photo: Derek Hudson; used with permission)

Mark Knopfler remained largely silent when Dire Straits was first selected and then inducted as part of the Rock Hall’s Class of 2018. On September 19, he returned with news of a studio album, Down the Road Wherever. The release, out November 16, on his own British Grove Records via Blue Note, is his ninth solo studio effort.

Listen to several tracks below.

From the announcement: “The album features new songs inspired by a wide range of subjects, including Knopfler’s early days in Deptford with Dire Straits, a stray soccer fan lost in a strange town, the compulsion of a musician hitching home through the snow and a man out of time in his local greasy spoon diner.”

Knopfler explains: “‘Down the road wherever’ is a line from [album track] ‘One Song At A Time.’ I remember my pal Chet Atkins once saying that he picked his way out of poverty ‘one song at a time,’ and it just stuck in my mind. You get to an age where you’ve written quite a few songs. But Down the Road Wherever seems to be appropriate for me just because it’s what I’ve always done. I’ve always tried to make a record and also to keep my own geography happening in the songs.”

Listen to the album’s lead track, “Trapper Man”

Related: Knopfler has announced a 2019 world tour

Listen to “Back on the Dance Floor”

For the new album, Knopfler assembled the same group of top-flight musicians he has worked with for the past few years (plus one or two new faces). He encourages them to put their own stamp on the material without interfering with the essence of the song.

“I think the business of making a record, from having written a song and then bringing it to musicians, it can be quite a bendy route,” he says. “It’s not just motorways all the way…and you can end up in the occasional cul-de-sac, then you have to do a 16-point turn to try to get your truck back out on the main road as unobtrusively as you can. That’s part of the fun of it.”

Down the Road Wherever is produced by Knopfler and Guy Fletcher (Dire Straits, Roxy Music) and was recorded at British Grove Studios in London. The band features Knopfler on guitars, Jim Cox and Guy Fletcher on keyboards, Nigel Hitchcock on saxophone, Tom Walsh on trumpet, John McCusker on fiddle, Mike McGoldrick on whistle and flute, Glenn Worf on bass, Ian ‘Ianto’ Thomas on drums and Danny Cummings on percussion. Richard Bennett and Robbie McIntosh also feature on guitar, Trevor Mires on trombone, and Imelda May, Kris Drever, Lance Ellington, Beverley Skeete and Katie Kissoon all add backing vocals.

Watch the video for “Good on You Son”

All songs are written by Knopfler, the composer of numerous classic rock hits, apart from “Just A Boy Away From Home” on which he shares writing credits with Rodgers and Hammerstein, using a piece of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ to spin the song’s tale of a lone Liverpool F.C. fan wandering the empty streets of Newcastle after midnight.

Down the Road Wherever is available in a variety of formats including CD, double vinyl, deluxe CD with three bonus tracks and a lavish box set that includes the album on both vinyl and deluxe CD and an additional 12” vinyl EP with 4 bonus tracks, a 12” print of the artwork and a 12” guitar tablature of ‘Back On The Dancefloor.’

Knopfler, 69, has previously released eight solo albums, as well as Neck And Neck with guitar great Chet Atkins and All the Roadrunning with Emmylou Harris. He has also created film soundtracks for Local Hero, The Princess Bride and Cal.

Related: Knopfler is also writing new music for a Local Hero stage musical

In addition to producing his own records, Knopfler has also produced albums for Bob Dylan and Randy Newman, amongst others. Knopfler was made an Order of the British Empire in 1999 and was given the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the Ivor Novellos in 2012.

Down the Road Wherever Track Listing

1. Trapper Man
2. Back On The Dance Floor
3. Nobody’s Child
4. Just A Boy Away From Home
5. When You Leave
6. Good On You Son
7. My Bacon Roll
8. Nobody Does That
9. Drovers’ Road*
10. One Song At A Time
11. Floating Away
12. Slow Learner
13. Heavy Up
14. Rear View Mirror*
15. Every Heart In The Room*
16. Matchstick Man

*Deluxe Edition CD bonus tracks

Listen to the acoustic “Matchstick Man”

Tickets for Knopfler’s 2019 tour can be purchased here and here.

Related: Coverage of Dire Straits’ Rock Hall induction

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