Music Review: Mark Knopfler, Down the Road Wherever

Mark Knopfler.
Mark Knopfler.

Mark Knopfler
Down the Road Wherever
Virgin/EMI Records

July 27, 1977 is a critical date in the storied career of Mark Knopfler. On that day he and his formative band recorded five demo tracks including Sultans of Swing, Wild West End and Down to the Waterline. Their first breakthrough came with their self-titled album Dire Straits.

Strangely it was in the Netherlands that the album began to get noticed first, but their own country was about the final place where the now successful release began its journey to the top.

Over the next 18 years Dire Straits were huge, but by 1995 Knopfler was disillusioned by the relentless touring and dissolved the band.

Striking out on his own, Knopfler has been extraordinarily successful and Down the Road Wherever is his 10th solo record.

His knack of telling stories and delivering a wide range of unique guitar playing has become his go-to sound, and boy does it work a treat again on this new double LP.

The settings of the 13 songs couldn't be more different, but that's a hallmark of his approach and his versatility.

Autobiographical stories alongside songs driven by basslines and drums, or with a female vocalist, or tasty brass riffs, especially sax solos.

Knopfler's guitar work offers plenty of highlights including full-on stunning blues slide playing.

He doesn't do flashy or histrionics and that's one of the aspects of a Mark Knopfler record that I like most.

Down The Road Wherever delivers the moods, songwriting and musicianship we have come to expect. Nothing wrong with that.

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