When most people hear the name Mark Knopfler, they immediately think of Dire Straits, one of the most iconic bands from the period spanning the late 1970s through the early 1990s.
However, Knopfler has also had an equally impressive solo career that has spanned several decades from the late 1990s thru the present.
Knopfler’s most recently released studio album, which came out in November 2018, is entitled "Down The Road Wherever." It is Knopfler's ninth solo album.
Knopfler works with a lot of personnel on this album, but the core band consists of:
Mark Knopfler – guitars, vocals
Richard Bennett – guitars
Guy Fletcher – keyboards
Jim Cox – keyboards
Ian Thomas – drums
Glenn Worf – upright and electric bass
Danny Cummings – percussion.
The album consists of 16 tracks (including bonus CD tracks) mostly inspired by his life experiences.
It's a well-produced, well-engineered album with excellent sound.
Listening to Knopfler's familiar, dreamy vocals and equally distinct laid-back guitar play made me feel like I was hanging out with an old friend.
Throw in a little bit of subtle funk here, a little bit of easy-going jazz sax and piano there, and the feeling that you've put your feet up in a soundproofed room with no distractions, this album will put you in chillax mode.
Knopfler's interplay with the rich backing vocals on "Back on the Dance Floor" is pretty cool as is his slightly funky, slightly bluesy slide guitar on "Just a Boy Away From Home".
"Good on You Son" takes you on a musical journey with multiple guitar interplay, an interesting Santana-esque percussion interlude followed by some sweet jazzy saxophone.
"Nobody Does That" has that Tedeschi-Trucks big band feel to it with its horns and sax.
I'm not sure why but "One Song at a Time" made me think of the recently-deceased Andy Goessling of Railroad Earth. I guess it was the penny whistle. I miss you Andy.
I felt like I was sitting on a nice cushy sofa in a jazz piano lounge as I listened to "Slow Learner." Great piano work.
"Heavy Up" had a slightly funky, kinda steel-drum Caribbean sound that was accentuated by the backing female vocals. (Now I want to go eat some jerk chicken and curried goat and crack open a Red Stripe).
The album winds down with a short, sweet acoustic ballad about a musician hitching hiking home through the snow called "Matchstick Man" and then fades into nothingness.
Overall this album is a relaxing, low-key, easy listen that I really enjoyed. I would not hesitate to recommend this to my friends.
"Down The Road Wherever" it's available in multiple formats including digital download, CD, double vinyl, and deluxe CD with three bonus tracks.
If you're a collector, it's also available in a lavish box set that includes the album on both vinyl AND deluxe CD PLUS 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."
"DOWN THE ROAD WHEREVER" Track List including deluxe CD bonus tracks:
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