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Rock - Released January 1, 2012 | Virgin EMI

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Rock - Released November 16, 2018 | British Grove Records

When he’s not working on a film score or paying a musical visit to one of his numerous friends, Mark Knopfler focuses on producing high quality solo albums. Down The Road Wherever is no exception, it’s arguably up there with Golden Heart and Get Lucky at the top of the heap. For this ninth album, available in different editions (something which has become a habit for him), he demonstrates more than ever the sheer scope of styles he can play with outstanding subtlety and elegance. He’s like a magician refusing to show off with shiny new tricks, but rather favouring his older acts with a few delicate updates, of which he seems to have many up his sleeve! More relaxed and confident than ever, particularly in his perfect guitar performances, Knopfler is second to none when it comes to harmoniously juxtaposing jazzy (When You Leave, Every Heart In The Room), bluesy (Just A Boy Away From Home), funky (Back On The Dance Floor, Nobody Does That), folk (Nobody's Child, Matchstick Man) and trad (Drover's Road, One Song At A Time) atmospheres, at times incorporating inspired Latin touches – samba, bossa nova, or cha cha chá − (Floating Away, Slow Learner, Heavy Up, Rear View Mirror) or electro layers (Good On You Son)… Even though the album starts off like Dire Straits’ Love Over Gold with the perky Trapper Man, and then My Bacon Roll which would fit right into Brothers In Arms, he has obviously come a long way, setting himself apart from a band whose memory is slowly fading. © Jean-Pierre Sabouret/Qobuz
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Film Soundtracks - Released April 15, 2016 | Virgin EMI

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Rock - Released January 1, 1996 | Virgin EMI

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Rock - Released January 1, 2002 | Virgin EMI

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Rock - Released March 9, 2015 | Virgin EMI

Scaled smaller than 2012's double-album Privateering, Tracker also feels suitably subtle, easing its way into being instead of announcing itself with a thunder. Such understatement is typical of Mark Knopfler, particularly in the third act of his career. When he left Dire Straits behind, he also left behind any semblance of playing for the cheap seats in an arena, but Tracker feels quieter than his new millennial norm. Some of this is due to the undercurrent of reflection tugging at the record's momentum. Knopfler isn't pining for the past but he is looking back, sometimes wistfully, sometimes with a resigned smile, and he appropriately draws upon sounds that he's long loved. Usually, this means some variation of pub rock -- the languid ballad "River Towns," the lazy shuffle "Skydiver," the two-chord groove of "Broken Bones" -- but this is merely the foundation from which Knopfler threads in a fair amount of olde British folk and other roots digressions. This delicate melancholy complements echoes of older Knopfler songs -- significant stretches of the record are reminiscent of the moodier aspects of Brothers in Arms, while "Beryl" has just a bit of the "Sultans of Swing" bounce -- and this skillful interweaving of Knopfler's personal past helps give Tracker a nicely gentle resonance. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released March 9, 2015 | Virgin EMI

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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 1998 | Virgin EMI

Mark Knopfler wrote and performed the soundtrack to Barry Levinson's political satire Wag the Dog, and it is one of his best scores, alternately graceful and rootsy. Seven of the eight tracks are instrumental, with the last being reserved for the agreeably humorous single "Wag the Dog." ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Country - Released October 9, 1990 | Columbia Nashville

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Film Soundtracks - Released April 1, 2016 | Virgin EMI

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Cal

Rock - Released January 1, 1984 | Virgin EMI

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Pop - Released January 1, 1997 | Virgin EMI

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Rock - Released September 15, 2000 | Warner Bros.

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Rock - Released September 21, 2004 | Warner Bros.

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Shangri-La, Mark Knopfler's fourth solo release and his first since breaking his collarbone, shoulder, and seven ribs in a motorcycle crash in March 2003, finds the eternally laid-back Dire Straits frontman in familiar territory. Instead of constructing a song cycle about his brush with mortality -- the wry "Don't Crash the Ambulance" aside -- he uses his warm baritone and effortless guitar work to ruminate on everything from the plight of the modern fisherman -- the beautiful and rustic "Trawlerman's Song" -- to the entrepreneurial skills of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc ("Boom, Like That"). Knopfler has more or less abandoned the British folk and Celtic-influenced pop that began to surface on his previous two recordings, opting instead for a full-blown yet quiet and considerate collection of country-folk ballads and bluesy, midtempo dirges that revel in their uncharacteristic sparseness -- one of the better examples of the latter is the gutsy, backwoods boxing tale "Song for Sonny Liston." Knopfler spent seven months away from the guitar in physiotherapy, but his melancholic slow-burn tone is as peat-smoked as ever, and his penchant for wrapping Americana-gothic folk around subjects that are uniquely English -- colliers, cockneys, the one-armed bandit man who meets his maker in the atmospheric opener, "5:15 A.M." -- is evident throughout. Dynamically, Shangri-La loses steam about three-quarters of the way through -- the cringe-inducing "Whoop De Doo" and the sweet but dull "All That Matters" bring things to a sleepy halt -- but Knopfler fans and lovers of Chet Atkins, Gordon Lightfoot, and J.J. Cale, as well as late-night poker players and early risers with an acerbic streak, will find much to love here. [A version of Shangri-La containing a bonus DVD/DVA is also available.] ~ James Christopher Monger
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Pop - Released September 11, 2007 | Warner Bros.

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Rock - Released January 1, 1993 | Virgin EMI

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Pop - Released September 15, 2000 | Warner Bros.

Mark Knopfler's second solo album might as well be called Dire Straits' eighth studio album, though Knopfler abandoned the group name back in 1996, dispensing with hefty sales in the process. There was never much doubt that the fame and lifestyle coincident with platinum sales made him uncomfortable, and discontinuing the Dire Straits billing was a means of walking away from all that. It also allowed him to indulge his love for various musical genres more, and that process continues on Sailing to Philadelphia. True, Knopfler's basic approach remains the same -- as a guitarist, he is still enamored of the minor-key finger-picking style of J.J. Cale, and as a singer/songwriter, he remains enthralled with Bob Dylan. But in one song after another on this album, you get the feeling that he started out playing some familiar song in a specific genre and eventually extrapolated upon it enough to call it an original. Knopfler has grafted his own lyrical concerns to these songs, often playing up the lives of humble people (especially musicians), and putting down powerful people (especially rock stars). There are also story-songs on wide-ranging subjects, but the theme of life on the road and the dichotomy between the rich and famous (what Knopfler is) and the poor and powerless (those he identifies with) predominate. Working with a two-guitars, two-keyboards, bass and drums band (like Dire Straits), Knopfler brings in a variety of sympathetic guests, notably James Taylor, Van Morrison, and Squeeze leaders Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford. These guest stars provide pleasant contrast to Knopfler's modest vocal talents, but they never steal the spotlight from the leader. (Well, okay, Morrison does.) His ability to hold his own is some indication that, however self-effacing he may be, he remains a star. [In 2005 Sailing to Philadelphia was reissued with a bonus DVD that featured "behind the scenes" footage" as well as interviews with Knopfler and his band.] ~ William Ruhlmann
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Pop - Released November 5, 1993 | Warner Bros.

This album presents excerpts from four movie scores written and performed by Dire Straits leader Mark Knopfler: Cal, Last Exit to Brooklyn, The Princess Bride, and Local Hero. The music is reminiscent of the calmer parts of Dire Straits songs: melodic, lyrical, and touching. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Pop - Released April 25, 2006 | Warner Bros. - Nonesuch Records

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Pop - Released April 20, 1983 | Warner Bros.