Mark Knopfler’s Tracker- It is electric with a taste of vanilla

The Long Black Veil by the Chieftains, a mid-90s Celtic music album introduced me to the artistry of Mark Knopfler. I had no idea he was with Dire Straits prior to that. His husky baritone and unique guitar playing captivated my imagination. Since then I followed the career of this British singer/songwriter. The new album has been compared to Bob Dylan’s style but I would argue in a sense that Knopfler has a better singing voice. He also produced Dylan’s 1983 album Infidels.Tracker_Cover

Tracker is the new album released March 16. It has twelve tracks and disc two has 6 bonus tracks. Tracker is my reading and chill out album. Its calming and folksy quality gives way to introspection. But with the fertile contribution of other artists, it is hard not to turn the volume up. There are beautiful instrumental solos per track. Apart from his exquisite playing, other amazing artists backed this album up including :

Guy Fletcher – keyboards, vocals

Bruce Molsky – fiddle, rhythm guitar, banjo

John McCusker – fiddle, cittern

Mike McGoldrick – whistle, wooden flute

Phil Cunningham – accordion

Glenn Worf – bass

Ian Thomas – drums

Nigel Hitchcock – saxophone

Tom Walsh – trumpet

Ruth Moody – vocals

Half of the artists in the list have works I’m familiar with and it is great that Knopfler gathered the stalwarts of folk music in this wonderful album. I think I played this a couple of times a day because it doesn’t have that ‘too sweet’  or ‘too spicy’ quality. Everything is in moderation. Elements of jazz, folk, rock and lounge are present. There are also faint traces of Celtic fiddling courtesy of Bruce Molsky and John McCusker. You can hear this in the opening song ‘Laughs and Jokes and Drinks and Smokes.’

The album builds up then reaches plateau but then gets that  peaceful resolution in the closing track Whenever I Go featuring Ruth Moody. I think this will become a classic. I feel it in the overall appeal of the the tracks sequenced wisely. It is electric with a taste of vanilla.

According to his website, Knopfler will promote the album in his upcoming 2015 Tracker Tour, scheduled to start on 15 May 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. The tour will include 85 concerts in two legs—Europe and North America–and will end on 31 October 2015 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the United States.

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