This fine Tuesday morning I was driving to work listening to the album I will be reviewing here today. It was raining and very dreary looking along the way and the music seemed to fit right in to the mood of the day. The artist is one of my favorite guitar players. He is not what you would call a guitar god but he is a very accomplished player. His name is Mark Knopfler. You might remember him from the rock band Dire Straits. “Money for nothing, and your chicks for free.” Dire Straits has not recorded music since 1995 but Mark Knopfler has continued to make great music although not the kind that would appeal to the masses. His style is so eclectic that his albums don’t usually sell hundreds of thousands, but he has a very loyal following as I am one. His solo albums are all very different from each other. From the Country “Neck and Neck” album he did with Chet Atkins, to composing film scores for two of my favorite films “The Princess Bride“and “Local Hero“, to recording a full duet album “All the Roadrunning ” with Emmylou Harris. He has touched all musical genres. His latest project is no exception.
The album is called “Kill To Get Crimson” and was released September 17th, 2007 and it is such a different album in sound and feel than anything he has done to present. According to Mark Knopfler in a video about his new album (which can be seen here) the title comes from the passion of an artist desiring to get crimson on his paint palette. The songs on this album are supported by many different instruments and makes for a very eclectic album. (I can’t believe I used that word twice in one posting) “Kill To Get Crimson” starts with a love song of sorts “True Love Will Never Fade”. It speaks mainly of a tattoo artist and the picture he put on the shoulder of his love. A picture that will always remind us that “True Love Will Never Fade.” The second track “The Scaffolder’s Wife” is a beautiful song about the wife of a scaffolder who is aging gracefully although as the song says “she is losing her looks over the company books” you understand that she is loved by her husband the scaffolder. The music is filled with a beautifully played flute with piano and of course Knopfler’s recognizable guitar licks. “The Fizzy and the Still” is a beautiful piece of guitar work and tells the story of young man who comes home after trying to make it in Hollywood. The next track “Heart Full of Holes” reminds me so much of an old pub song sung over many beers. Musically the song is adorned by a banjo, and I think I hear a mandolin, but the bridge to the song an accordion is definitely played and fits the song so well. Sing along with “Heart Full of Holes.”
All of the songs on this album are stories that are being told accompanied by the beautiful music. The whole theme and mood of the album remind me so much of songs being sung in an old English pub. Highlights include: “True Love Will Never Fade”,”The Scaffolder’s Wife”, “Secondary Waltz” with it’s accordion laced pub song feel about soldiers getting ready for D-Day of the past and singing “waltzing with fear in our hearts”, “Punish the Monkey” has such a great series of Mark Knopfler patented guitar licks throughout that it makes me smile just to listen and sing “let the organ grinder go”, “Let It All Go” contains the album title in the lyrics which is about the struggles in the life of a painter, “Madame Geneva’s” is a song about a bar where “you can keep the demons at bay, except on a hangin’ day”, and “In The Sky” which is such a masterfully composed song with beautiful guitar and saxophone work.
I haven’t heard anything new this beautiful in such a long time. This is such a great album and should be purchased by anyone who loves to hear wonderful musical compositions. I know this may be getting old but I have to give this album 5 stars out of 5. It will be in my player for a very long time to come. It will be the perfect thing to listen to when I am feeling blue or stressed from the head banging world. I can chill out with the Knopfler baby. Rock On!!
I have also provided a video for the song “What It Is” from the “Sailing To Philadelphia” album. It’s a very good video. Enjoy!