Album review: Mark Knopfler, Privateering

By Tony Nielsen

Mark Knopfler is one of only a few: A guitarist's guitarist.

As such, he has a distinctive and highly individual tone, as do the likes of Eric Clapton and George Harrison. In today's music world it's a bit of a stretch to reconcile Knopfler with his past as the frontman of Dire Straits, the band that kick-started MTV with their hit Money for Nothing, and their stadium tours of the 80s.

These days Knopfler takes a more relaxed and laconic approach to his music. His solo albums and collaborations with the likes of Emmylou Harris demonstrate a musical nous of the highest order.

Privateering shows Knopfler in an expansive mood. He and a top-class band of musical brothers embrace a range of genres, and their empathy is evident from the get-go. While the mood is often laidback, there's also a greater emphasis on Chicago blues with stunning Little Walter-esque chromatic harmonica from Kim Wilson. Knopfler's affection for Celtic music is also evident.

Privateering is a classy set of songs, in fact, a generous two discs of 20 tracks taking in Knopfler and his band's affinity for top-shelf musical collaborations. Knopfler's unique guitar style stands out, from his relaxed approach on many songs, to slashing Muddy Waters-ish brutal slide guitar.

Add Guy Fletcher's keyboard and production skills, accordion, mandolin, sax, clarinet and pedal steel and you get the picture. This is music of the first order. At times subtle and understated, at others in your face and explosive, Privateering is another testament to Knopfler's exceptional musical tapestry.

Mark Knopfler


Rating: 5/5

- Hamilton News

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