I had imagined that the next album review I would do would be the latest release by Tool, Fear Inoculum, but it turns out I was wrong. You just can’t rush thoughts of a Tool album, because it takes thoughts of a Tool album so long to develop.
Plus, I hadn’t gotten the opportunity to listen to Mark Knopfler‘s latest release, 2018’s Down the Road Wherever. Having listened to this album, I don’t feel as if I should write a review of it simply to entertain or inform. This album is more than just entertainment and information; it’s good soul therapy.
My relationship with Mr. Knopfler’s music is spotty, which says more about how distracting life is at times than it does about the merits of the man’s music. Indeed, every time I reconnect with what the former Dire Straights’ front man has to offer, I wonder why I’ve been away in the first place.
That wonder is greater than ever after having gotten to know this latest release.
Down the Road Wherever came to me in perhaps the best way music can come: friends turned me on to it. Rick and Barb Renn, friends of the bar from way back and fellow Springsteen fans, were in not too long ago, and we got to talking about music. We always talk a lot about what Bruce has got going on, but this time they asked me if I had had a chance to listen to the latest stuff from Knopfler. Learning I hadn’t, Rick stopped by the bar a couple of days later and dropped off a copy of the disk, along with copies of two live Springsteen sets.
Now, y’all know how much I love me some Bruce, and the two live sets Rick dropped off were stellar indeed, but the real treat for me has been the Knopfler. Man, but I just dig this album. I like it so well that I gave that copy to more friends, Ron and Shirley Cruys, and bought a copy of my own.
An unattributed quote on the album’s Wikipedia page describe’s the 16 tracks as “slow and elegant,” and it couldn’t be more right. Neither of those are words you expect to hear when describing a rock and roller, but Mark Knopfler isn’t your typical rock and roller and he has never made typical rock and roll music.
And this is not all rock and roll music; in fact there are so many styles of music here that one can’t begin to categorize the record.
Here are a couple/few words to describe each of the 14 tracks:
- Trapper Man–Classic Knopfler rock
- Back on the Dance Floor–Soft, smooth jazzy-tinged funk rock
- Nobody’s Child–Western blues
- Just a Boy Away from Home–Soulful blues rock
- When You Leave–Piano bar torchy soft jazz
- Good on You, Son–Playful rock
- My Bacon Roll–Soft jazz rock
- Nobody Does That–Mid-tempo funky jazz rock
- Drovers’ Road–Slow blues
- One Song at a Time–Easy mid-tempo blues
- Floating Away–Slow groovin’ vibe
- Slow Learner–Piano bar torchy soft jazz
- Heavy Up–Caribbean soul
- Every Heart in the Room–Easy soul
- Rear View Mirror–Up-tempo jazz rock
- Matchstick Men–Acoustic folk rock
Despite the type of music, that distinctive Mark Knopfler guitar style weaves throughout.
The music being so diverse, it’s difficult to pick just four songs to share with you here. I’ll try, but only if you promise me that you’ll listen to the rest on your own.
My Bacon Roll
One Song at a Time
Floating Away (my favorite)
I hope you let this album soothe you the way it has me. I’d love to hear any comments you have after you’ve given it a few listens.
Much love, and be well, my friends.