Mark Knopfler’s “Privateering” (Review)By John
Currently touring with Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler continues his rootsy exploration of Americana on his latest album, “Privateering,” with impressive results.
In some ways, pairing Bob Dylan with Mark Knopfler on tour makes perfect sense.
In the course of an impressive career spanning more than 40 years propelled by his stint with rock’s Dire Straits, Knopfler has grown, well, ever more folky in his approach, embracing country, Americana and acoustic textures in his music, even recording and touring with Emmylou Harris.
That proclivity continues on “Privateering,” a double album released in September that’s packed with 20 songs that seem more rooted in America’s musical past than his own native Scotland.
Indeed, the chuggingly catchy “Got to Have Something,” “Gator Blood” and “I Used to Could” are the kind of rootsy, blues-tinged tunes that easily could have been recorded by Dylan on any one of his albums over the past decade.
Not surprisingly, this approach suits this under-rated musician and singer to a tee, giving his guitar-playing the space it needs to ooze real passion and his raspy voice the poignancy his lyrics demand.
Then again, maybe it’s a what-goes-around-comes-around sort of thing: The first time I heard Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing” on the radio in 1978, I honestly thought it was a new Dylan tune.
But make no mistake: This is not a copycat kind of contribution. Knopfler’s impressive musicianship and heartfelt songs on “Privateering” stand on their own as bluesy, Americana-styled classics.
Bob Dylan’s tour with Knopfler has earned high marks from reviewers, who say Dylan seems to have upped his game. Read this recent review from The Chicago Tribune.