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Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Mar 30th, 2015

Mark Knopfler: Tracker

mark kMark Knopfler
Tracker
(Verve)

Buy it at Amazon!

A tight snare drum beat slips under “Laughs and Jokes and Drinks and Smokes,” the sea shanty of a song (the penny whistle, violin and the plopping upright bass feed the sing-along chorus into this kind of a vibe) that opens Mark Knopfler’s new album, Tracker. “Basil” follows, a song of soft acoustic guitar and Knopfler’s limited but expressive vocals telling the story of the British poet Basil Bunting’s life of loneliness. Here we get the first little tickle of what Mark Knopfler executes like very few electric guitar rock heroes: subtle, well-placed, simple, few note leads that slice right through your guts. What a picture his lyrics and playing evoke!

There’s lots of acoustic playing throughout (this eighth studio album of Knopfler’s is not hard rocking at all), including expert acoustic noodling opening up the love-lost vibe of “Long Cool Girl” (Has this feeling of wanting from “Romeo and Juliet” come back to haunt us?) with perfect, mournful pull-backs of electric bends, creating a beautiful song. “Silver Eagle” features studied finger picking and single killer piano notes and “Mighty Man” has atmospherics behind it, accordion and a sweet, low vocal before the full breath of little licks of electric lead.

There is a flangy guitar and slide bending, organ stop and go (played by Knopfler’s longtime collaborator/keyboardist Guy Fletcher, who is brilliant throughout) conga beats to the rich “Lights Of Taormina” and a pretty duet between Knopfler and Ruth Moody, “Wherever I Go,” with it’s soft sax lead, killer few electric touches, all about where love sets down in our journey of life.

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Mark Knopfler: Tracker