Album Review: Mark Knopfler – Privateering




A closer look at Mark Knopfler’s career shows that his talents extend far beyond his work with Dire Straits. He’s produced records for the likes of Bob Dylan and Tina Turner, cultivated a reputation as a sought-after session player, and written and recorded scores and soundtracks, all on top of establishing a respectable second act as a solo artist. While he retired his trademark headband long ago, Knopfler’s multi-dimensional talents have more than enough ensured him of business over the years.

Evidence of Knopfler’s range of expertise is spread evenly across Privateering, his seventh solo effort since 1996. Released last year worldwide, the record’s release was delayed in the U.S. due to legal wrangling with his former label, Warner Bros. Now with a new home at Universal, the singer unleashes the hefty double-album on listeners stateside. It’s a purebred affair, one that pledges allegiance to the blues, folk, and celtic influences that Knopfler has always held close to his vest.

Privateering is dense, packed inch by square inch with those ageless styles that have long underpinned rock and roll music, the one constant being Knopfler’s smooth, dry baritone. It’s a broad cross section of styles that he’s going after, but perhaps the highest praise that can be paid Privateering is that regardless of what direction he turns in, Knopfler never loses his way. Whether he’s romping through the English countryside and spinning folk tale imagery (“Kingdom of Gold”), detouring down bluesy side roads (“Got To Have Something”, “Don’t Forget Your Hat”), flirting with early American rock (“I Used To Could”), or wallowing sweetly in singer/songwriter balladry (“Dream of the Drowned Submarine”), the singer sounds equally at home and in his element. As such, Privateering is a rootsy testament to Knopfler’s rich reservoir of influences.

Essential Tracks: “Don’t Forget Your Hat”, “I Used To Could”, and “Dream of the Drowned Submarine”