TAS Super LP List! Special Merit: Informal
TAS Rated 5/5 Music, 4.5/5 Sonics in the January 2019 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
Ninth Studio Album On Double LP!
Mark Knopfler's 9th studio album features 14 new songs inspired by a wide range of subjects, including Knopflers 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 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 youve written quite a few songs. But Down The Road Wherever seems to be appropriate for me just because its what Ive always done. Ive always tried to make a record and also to keep my own geography happening in the songs.
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, notes Knopfler. Its 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. Thats 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. All songs are written by Knopfler apart from Just A Boy Away From Home on which he shares writing credits with Rodgers and Hammerstein, using a piece of Youll Never Walk Alone to spin the songs tale of a lone Liverpool F.C. fan wandering the empty streets of Newcastle after midnight.
Knopfler 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. 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" is the apex intersection of the Scottish-bred artist's ambition and craft, deftly entwining his mastery of locational songwriting flavored with Nashvillian strum and twang. "Back On the Dance Floor" entangles his patented gnarly guitar tone with a sensual background-vocal kiss during the choruses, courtesy of Irish enchantress Imelda May. "Just a Boy Away From Home" weaves subtle, back-in-the-mix keyboard fills from longtime collaborator Guy Fletcher, smooth brush drums, and melody-caressing horns alongside an acknowledged vocal an soloing shout out to Rodgers and Hammerstein's "You'll Never Walk Alone"... Wherever Knopfler's muse continues to roam, our ears must surely follow." - Mike Mettler, The Absolute Sound, January 2019
• Double LP
• Gatefold jacket
• Made in Czech Republic
1. Trapper Man
2. Back On The Dance Floor
3. Nobody's Child
1. Nobody Does That
2. Good On You Son
3. Floating Away
1. One Song At A Time
2. Heavy Up
3. Slow Learner
1. Just A Boy Away From Home
2. My Bacon Roll
3. When You Leave
4. Matchstick Man