Top positive review
21 people found this helpful
Brilliant like that
on 6 November 2004
Whether or not you will like Knopfler's latest album, really depends on what you expect from him. If you want more Dire Straits, more pop rock and more ten minute solos, Mark's solo albums, since Golden Heart, have probably disappointed you.
If you are willing to follow the direction he has chosen now, however, this album is simply billiant. A real grower. Mark has left the stadiums behind, the 'ego' that wants more success, and since he has gone solo, he has done nothing but exploring the roots of his music and putting that into great songs. What an exciting journey that is.
"Shangri-La" is brilliant in that respect. I have never heard him and his band blend country, rock, blues, folk, bluegrass... so effortlessly. Behind every chord change, every note, every turn in every song, every line he sings, there's a landscape of music to be discovered. It happens so subtly, so sweetly, you cannot but be moved. It all sounds so direct, so easy. His guitar playing works in exactly the same way: subtle and perfect for the music he is making now. There's so much more behind the notes.
Take "Back to Tupelo" for example. In the first verses, Mark is almost hollering on one chord, played so sweet, you almost don't notice it, lamenting the direction Elvis has chosen. Then the others join, soft keyboards, drums and bass, giving it a bittersweet country twist, at the chorus, ther's that breathtaking 7th-chord, which reminds us of real blues, echoing the lyrics of the songs, singing about the Mississippi Elvis has forgotten. I don't know know many musicians who accomplish that kind of songwriting.
So follow Mark and his band on this musical journey, let them take you to Philadelphia and back again. You won't be disappointed.