Review: Mark Knopfler – Privateering

Mark Knopfler -‘Privateering’ Out Now

By Alle Royale

Mention Mark Knopfler to almost anybody in their forties or fifties, and most probably their memories will fly back to flashy coloured jackets, sweatbands, money for nothing and chicks for free. In truth, Mark did end the highly successful Dire Straits saga, some twenty years ago, and move from there to build up a critically acclaimed solo career that led him to this present album, “Privateering”, a real gem in a personal catalog of precious stones. Initially out in 2012, “Privateering” gets its official American release in these days, giving us the chance to celebrate a great double (!!) album and a great artist.

Those magical fingers, richly and soulfully texturing on the guitar’s fretboard, the confidential, mumbled tone of his voice, the everyday stories turned poetry; all the well known elements that made Knopfler a worldwide household name, are here, pretty much intact and better than ever. The Celtic vibes of his soundtrack works are more subdued than in the past, naturally flowing through the gentle guitar chords, and leaving more room for straight, laid back blues numbers, a la J.J. Cale. 

The record is mainly acoustic, and there’s no difference in mood or band formats, from part one to part two; it’s just a huge collection of songs, representing an inspirational flow that could not be contained in a single disc. In a world that seems to have no more time to stop and listen, putting on the market a double set of material could be seen as a brave move; reality is that Mark Knopfler has reached the same artistic status of the likes of Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen, when you can do whatever you please and the fans will respond positively.

“Privateering” is a ballads filled record, that moves slowly towards your senses; if Dire Straits, in the eighties, turned into an over produced, aseptic country affair, here the pivotal point is a passionate minimalism, when every note counts like an emotional ton, and the instruments wave softly like a caress to the soul.

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