Mark Knopfler - Get Lucky

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Mark Knopfler is more widely known as the creative force behind Dire Straits, a band that had a good number of hits in the 1980's and that featured his very distinctive vocals and guitar.  For all intensive purposes, "that was then, and this is now" when it comes to public familiarity with Knopfler's solo work.

Get Lucky is his 6th solo release, and, for some, it is the 6th in a series of frustrations of what could or should have been included: blistering guitar solos with songs deserving of commercial airplay.  But when Knopfler closed the chapter on Dire Straits, he seems to have also moved (almost) beyond any desire for commercial popularity.

If one can step over that one rather enormous stumbling block, there remains a collection of beautiful work to enjoy, of which Get Lucky is among the best due to the consistent quality of the songs.  If Knopfler was less British, his music might now be described as Americana, a mix of folk, country, blues and whatever that doesn't fit neatly elsewhere.Mark Knopfler - Get Lucky   Briticana, sadly, doesn't exist in nomenclature, but that would be an appropriate category in which his pursuits could reside.

Knopfler has consistently written exceptional song lyrics over the years, based on books he's read, remembrances, famous persons, the general pursuits of living, etc.  In Get Lucky, he writes of itinerant workers, following compulsions, a lorry driver, the fate of English ships, a British piper, and beating the House odds, among others.  There is almost always a narrative in his writing with an accompanying understanding of the perspective Knopfler brings to the subject matter.  This certainly didn't begin with his solo career, but there are certainly no "throw away" lyrics typical of pop songs, either.

Musically, Knopfler remains a very intentional craftsman in orchestrating the instruments to suit the lyrics he's written.  As mentioned earlier, his guitar rarely soars, but his lyrics rarely demand the emotive pitch that "rock solos" are best used to convey.  To an appreciative listener, however, his guitar carries and provides appropriate tone to his subject matter, featured in some songs, while propelling others from under the surface while other instruments take the lead.  In other words, artistry is his passion and pursuit, and his work is therefore limited to the subset of the listening public that appreciates both the craftmanship and his particular style.

Get Lucky features four songs with accordian, flute, and whistle, and it otherwise includes orchestra, violin, electric and upright bass, and, of course, guitars.  All of them are used in the right places.  The only negative is that at this point, many of his songs from this and previous CDs begin to sound the same, or, conversely, few of them favor a revved pulse.

Below is a video of the song about the Lorry drivers, and due to the subject matter references, the liner notes do help.  Again, I repeat my motto:  Death to the download; long live the CD!

Suggested Tracks:  "The Car was the One," "So Far from the Clyde," "Cleaning My Gun," "Border Reiver"

Rating:  4 out of 5 Stars (I need to make a graphic...)

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