All the Roadrunning
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For the past seven years, Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris have been quietly compiling a treasure trove of duets--the result, All the Roadrunning.
Co-producing with Chuck Ainlay, Knopfler shares his electric, acoustic and slide playing with guitarist Richard Bennett. The other musicians in the line-up are: Jim Cox and Guy Fletcher keyboards, Glen Duncan fiddle and mandolin, Dan Dugmore steel, Glen Worf bass and Chad Cromwell and Danny Cummins drums.
Top Customer Reviews
It is the latter that Knopfler seems to have chosen to target more decisively with this latest album, and by recruiting Emmylou Harris to assist on vocals & creative input, he has certainly got closer to Nashville than any album before.
Fans of Knopfler's solo work, like myself, but who are not fans of country, should not be put off by this connection - this album is still 90% Knopfler and follows a similar vein to previous albums. Emmylou also adds many great qualities to the work: Firstly, we get a very strong, higher voice that compliments Marks characteristic bassy tones and can 'dance' around his guitar licks. Secondly, we get a female personae with which the two songwriters can work into the songs, producing some female perspectives on things and some wonderful back-and-forth duets, in the vein of The Beautiful South (or Cash and Carter?). The potential generated here feels bigger than this album alone.
Whilst many rockers will say that Mark has turned his back on what made him truly great (his fluid rock guitar solos), there is a slight return to lead-work here too. Leaving Emmylou to do what she does best, Mark can relax a little on the vocal and focus on the guitar. No screaming solos here, but a definite increase in the amount of lead guitar over rhythm guitar compared to recent solo albums.Read more ›
Knopfler, like Dylan, is producing the best music of his life. Knopfler's last (Shangri-la) is also superb and you have to ask yourself why are both of them still playing? They don't need the money. They don't care about the reviews - they are playing the way they want to and both are playing with the best guys in town. I've seen both live in the last year and neither went for fancy sets, clever lights and gizomos, they just played.....
Yes, neither of them is rocking the house down, but there's a lot more to life than trying to shake your brains out of your ears in front of a stack.
This music on this album is perfect, utterly perfect. The lyrics, the narrative, the musicianship, the production are all sublime.
If you add to that the collaboration with Emmylou Harris, this album is nothing short of remarkable. I can't say I've listened to many `duet' projects over the years - most of them are contrived nonsense featuring Tom Jones - but this is the first one that actually works.
This is an album you need to play for a while and come back to before you pass judgement. I won't do the tedious track by track run-through of comments, I'll only say it's a great album that should have had a lot more attention than it has had. If there's one churlish criticism it's that some of the tracks fade out on some superb guitar playing a little too soon - just 20 seconds more would have put me in heaven forever.
If you don't like this album you haven't got a heart, you haven't got a soul and you don't know what love - and life - are all about.
Knopfler's guitar isn't as pronounced as his voice this time round; no crazy "Sultans of Swing"-type solos, I'm afraid, but this album still has its share of pacy tracks: both the opening song, "Beachcombing", and the single, "This Is Us", move along at a good pace. He's still getting great sounds out of his guitar, and his voice, which has undoubtedly improved over time, harmonises wonderfully with Emmylou's - suprisingly well, perhaps, considering you couldn't get two more different vocal styles.
But, hey, Knopfler is only one part of this album. It really wouldn't be anywhere near as good without Emmylou Harris. Honestly, before I heard these tracks, I hadn't realised she - a country singer, I'd have classed her - could sing so beautifully. I'm still not much of a fan of her solo music, but this collaborative album takes her vocal talents and adds the kind of songwriting and playing that really demonstrates she's more than "just a country singer", as some might think of her.
A quick rundown of some of the standout tracks:
"Beachcombing" is a good solid album opener, and whets your appetite for the tasty vocals to come later on.
"This Is Us" is a fast-paced track and will probably be your most-listened-to track for a few days - again, well-crafted, it features Mark and Emmylou as husband and wife singing about their life. Its piano solo to end is a nice touch, and many people will be able to relate to the theme of the song.
"Red Staggerwing" is the most overtly country track...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Simply brilliant album with two singers who harmonise so so well. I rate this as one of the best albums I have ever bought.Published 2 months ago by Raymond Young
Two of the most charismatic giants of the music world singing great songs together. What could be better? Nothing.Buy it!Published 2 months ago by Georgieboy
peep peep here he comes again with music worth listening to a true talentPublished 3 months ago by wee wullie winky