The solo career of Mark Knopfler has been quite different from his Dire Straits days, much to the dismay of the fans of the band. Over the last 17 years in which he has produced 9 pure albums, the man has been exploring calmer, folky, country and sometimes bluesy sounds (remember Priveteering?) with extra attention to storytelling and the characters in his lyrics.
‘Kill to Get Crimson’, the 5th solo outing released in 2007, contains similar mellow sounds with some lovely short stories and characters thrown in. The opener in this double LP, True Love Will Never Fade is about a tattoo artist who thinks his love is like an indelible tattoo. Then, The Scaffolder’s Wife is a sympathetic ballad about an ageing woman who is worried about her looks, while The Secondary Waltz is about a boxer figuring out his steps. Look how this one is deceptively placed in a dance practice scenario. The man is a craftsman with words as well.
And it’s one, two, three, two, two
We’re all a disgrace
MacIntyre tore us apart
And we danced with ourselves
When he yelled ‘Find a space!’
Waltzing with fear in our hearts
And then, there is the Celtic feel of Let It All Go, which tells the story of a painter’s lust for colour and also provides the album’s title. The song inspired Knopfler to use the 1958 painting, 'Four Lambrettas and Three Portraits of Janet Churchman' by John Bratby for the cover art.
But what really takes the cake for me is the last track of the album, In The Sky wherein a beautiful duet between Mr Knopfler’s almost wailing voice and Chris White’s haunting saxophone just goes on and on deep into the night. The lyrics are equally haunting.
You’re a light in the dark, a beacon of hope
And strong as a sea boat, strong as a rope
And the vagabond wind, whispers over the bay
And the songs and the laughter, are carried away…in the sky.
Over the years, Mark Knopfler’s music has reached a place which is almost zen-like. He makes music for the sake of the craft and to be at peace with himself. The guitar has now become a backdrop to the larger cause of producing a good song. And he himself has become a musical monk.
As for me, I am always happy being on any side of his music.
Genre: Rock / Folk Rock
Producer: Mark Knopfler, Chuck Ainlay, Guy Fletcher
Label: Mercury, Warner Bros.
Reviewed by Meraj Hasan
Meraj Hasan is a Mumbai based communication professional (and an amateur poet/musician) with a passion for listening to music the vinyl way. His 25 year old Technics turntable along with a humble collection of LPs across genres like Classic rock, Classical, Blues and Jazz (amongst others) are his prized possessions.
He can be reached at +91 9833410791 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org