Latest Mark Knopfler Articles
Mark Knopfler will perform at Madison Square Garden in New York City with Bonnie Raitt tapped as support.
Mark Knopfler performed the Dire Straits classic ‘Brothers In Arms’ for the first time this tour during a concert in Floirac, France.
Mark Knopfler dusted off Dire Straits songs he hadn’t played in 14 and 36 years respectively as part of his 2019 tour opener at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona on Thursday night.
Release Day Picks this week highlights new albums by Mark Knopfler, Mumford & Sons, Ryley Walker, The Good, The Bad & The Queen, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Anderson .Paak, The Infamous Stringdusters and Smashing Pumpkins.
Former Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler unveiled “Back On The Dance Floor,” the latest single from his forthcoming ‘Down The Road Wherever’ album.
Guitarist Mark Knopfler led a stripped-down rendition of Dire Straits classic “Romeo And Juliet” for the BBC. Video of the stirring performance is now available.
More Mark Knopfler Articles
Latest Mark Knopfler Setlist
Mark Knopfler at Barclaycard Arena
- Why Aye Man
- Corned Beef City
- Sailing to Philadelphia
- Once Upon a Time in the West
- Romeo and Juliet
- My Bacon Roll
- Matchstick Man
- Done With Bonaparte
- Heart Full of Holes
- She's Gone
- Your Latest Trick
- Postcards From Paraguay
- On Every Street
- Speedway at Nazareth
- Money for Nothing
- Piper to the End
- Going Home: Theme from Local Hero
About Mark Knopfler
“A privateer is what I am, really,” says Mark Knopfler.
The title track of the legendary singer-songwriter and guitarist’s eighth solo album evokes a swashbuckling era of seafaring plunder, merchant raiders and licensed pirates. But Mark finds an analogy with the modern rock and roll life. “I really get a buzz out of having this little group of people that sallies forth across the world. I enjoy being in command of it, the band, the crew, travelling through this ever changing landscape and playing in all these different places. You get where you get without any kind of assistance, really, making your own way in the world. There are no government grants to play this music. You’re a privateer. And that’s the way I like it.”
Privateering is Mark Knopfler’s first double album in a 35-year recording career. “The older I get, the more I want to write,” he says. “Whether that is just panic at time running out, I’m not sure. I’m enjoying the process more than ever, writing, recording and playing live, I enjoy all of it. I’m almost tripping over songs.”
These 20 tracks of consummately crafted folk, blues, country and rock originals reflect the creative exuberance of an artist whose exceptional abilities were recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Ivor Novellos. He has performed live in front of countless millions. He has collaborated with artists of the stature of Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, Emmylou Harris and Van Morrison. He has composed distinctive soundtracks for such classic films as Local Hero, The Princess Bride, Last Exit To Brooklyn and Wag The Dog. He has been regularly acclaimed as one of the greatest guitarists in the world. But what he sees himself as, first and foremost, is a songwriter. And this may be his finest-ever collection.
“I have always thought in terms of the transatlantic nature of music. My idea of heaven is somewhere where the Mississippi Delta meets the Tyne. What I wanted from the very first album with Dire Straits and songs like ‘Sultans of Swing’ was to write my own geography into the American music that shaped me, to identify the English, Irish and Scottish landmarks on Chuck Berry’s road. I think what I’m doing now is both synthesising those influences and separating them. The band I have is so talented, and so flexible, they give me the kind of palette to go anywhere I want, so I can jump from a hill farm in the north of England and go straight to the streets of New York City or go down into the delta for a straight-ahead blues.”
Privateering travels from the dreamy Americana of ‘Redbud Tree’, filled with trademark silvery Stratocaster licks, to the sea shanty pipes of ‘Haul Away’, the swaggering slide electric blues of -‘Gator Blood’ and the Celtic folk yearning of ‘Kingdom Of Gold’. It is full of drawn characters like the tough northern sheep farmer of ‘Yon Two Crows’ and the boastful gambler of ‘Hot Or What’, and evocative situations like the embattled lovers in the rain swept ‘Seattle’ and the mysterious contemplations of mortality of ‘Dream Of The Drowned Submariner’. The lyrical and musical detail in these songs is of the very first order, with Mark Knopfler’s singing and playing always bringing the story home on the back of one of the finest bands in the world. Privateering is not a concept album. It is not a song cycle. It is simply one of our finest and most distinctive musical talents doing what he does best.
“I chose to make a double album this time just because of the sheer volume of material. I didn’t want to separate songs into blues and folk and country and I didn’t want to leave songs on the shelf. I just wanted it to be a reflection of the fantastic sessions we had. 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. This is the band I have been working towards my whole life.”
The line-up of musicians Mark has been gathering around him since the mid-90s includes Guy Fletcher (keyboards), Richard Bennett (guitar), Jim Cox (piano), Glenn Worf (bass), Mike McGoldrick (whistle and flute) and John McCusker (fiddle) with the recent addition of the fantastic Ian Thomas (drums). Special guests included Paul Franklin (pedal steel), Phil Cunningham (accordion) and Tim O’Brien (mandolin). Ruth Moody of rising roots band The Wailin’ Jennys contributed her distinctive vocals. “To have Ruth singing on the record was very special for me,” says Mark. “She is on the very top level of singers and songwriters out there and I can’t take her off my jukebox.” The blues material was infused with the harmonica playing of Kim Wilson of legendary blues rockers The Fabulous Thunderbirds. “One of the most important things about the blues to me has always been the harp. Seeing Muddy Waters as a kid made a big impression on me, the harp was burbling away all the time, the band was swinging. And to me the greatest modern exponent is Kim Wilson, he’s been my top man for many years, so it was really great to have him on board. We hit it off straight away and got a great session going.”
Recorded in Mark’s own studio, British Grove, Privateering is a smart, subtle, soulful and utterly superb collection of songs from a class act with an unbeatable band. These are tough tales of real people, living hard lives in difficult times. And it is all carried off with the self-confident bravado of a latter-day privateer. The cover, featuring a battered van and a shaggy dog, says it all. “I remember in the early days, if you had a van you could get into a group, so band wagons have always had a special place in my heart. It was important to use something like that, to take it away from the nautical swashbuckler. To me a man in a van has got as much to do with privateering as a frigate or a gunboat or anything like that. He’s on the road, he’s making his own way, he’s doing his thing, the best way he knows how. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s what we’re all trying to do.”
Check out the lineup for the 2019 Hangtown Music Festival, which returns to Placerville, California October 24 – 27.
Current The Marcus King Band keyboardist DeShawn “DVibes” Alexander will soon be “stepping away from the band to work on other musical endeavors.”
Listen to North Mississippi Allstars’ cover of The Staples Singers’ “What You Gonna Do?” featuring Mavis Staples from their upcoming album ‘Up And Rolling.’
Guitarist Anders Osborne tacked on a handful of dates to his 2019 Tour and will play three Bob Dylan tribute concerts with Joan Osborne & Jackie Greene.
Check out the setlist, a recap and The Skinny for Phish’s opening night of their Summer Tour 2019 two-show run in Bangor, Maine.