Mark Knopfler - One Deep River - 2 x 45rpm 180g Vinyl Lps

Half-Speed Mastered

In Stock

Calculate Shipping

Express Postage for Vinyl LP / Oversize item - $20.00

Free pick-up from store - $0.00
I'll collect my order from #3, Level 4, 428 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000


It has been thirty three years since Dire Straits’ final album, and twenty eight after that band’s frontman/singer/songwriter and world-class guitarist Mark Knopfler’s debut solo effort. He now has more titles under his own name than with the band he co-founded. His music with Straits was so legendary though, some fans still hope for more of the expansive rock he diligently shaped with them, even as their reflection gets dimmer in his rearview mirror.

But those following Knopfler’s creative arc know that he long ago dismissed the arena moves and flashy, blues/country guitar fingering that initially brought him fame. Instead, a more pastoral, pensive and meditative sensibility has informed his extensive post-Straits work, which also includes a clutch of well-received, largely instrumental movie soundtracks. On release number ten, One Deep River, that route is even more obvious.

His first effort since before the pandemic is another contemplative, beautifully constructed set that combines his established musical colors into an aural painting that sounds like, well, a Mark Knopfler album. There’s a sense of relaxation and reflection saturating these dozen songs. It’s a consistent thread weaving through his recent albums, most catering to a more sedate audience that may not have a faded Dire Straits tour tee shirt hiding in the back of a drawer, or even know about the band.

The opening “Two Pairs of Hands” finds him again referencing JJ Cale’s nonchalant rhythmic strum, bubbling with congas and his snakelike guitar slithering through a song about the difficulties of leading a band on stage with thousands watching. It’s classic Knopfler.

He takes us into Buffet’s breezy “Margaritaville” territory on the tropical “Smart Money” and brings an edgy, bluesy grip to the story of a scoundrel in “Scavenger’s Yard,” molding those songs with his instantly identifiable, conversational baritone and a craftsman’s ear.

After that, we’re in the ballad zone, which is where things stay for the next half hour and eight tracks. From the acoustic, string-enhanced “Black Tie Jobs,” to the laconic country/folk strains of “Watch Me Gone,” and the brushed drums chugging under “Before My Train Comes,” Knopfler and his longtime band display their sharp, if measured, roots and unhurried groove. Ghostly backing female vocals enhance “Tunnel 13,” a low-key story song about bandit brothers robbing trains and killing folks, with a surprise ending explaining that the titular location “is the place in the song where the beautiful redwood for my guitar came from.”

The closing title track is another relaxed yet meticulously crafted tune about the feelings of crossing the river Tyne, connecting his childhood dreams to where his future lies on the other side. Like everything else, it’s sung in Knopfler’s comforting talk-sung, smooth, gravelly tone of hope and resignation.

Knopfler’s decision to place upbeat material at the front end of One Deep River and close with melancholy musings is intentional.

Taken individually, each selection is a minor masterwork. Knopfler combines subtle, intricate guitar shadings, imaginative lyrics and mellifluous melodies into songs as delicate and flowing as a Chihuly glass sculpture.

However, bunching them together diminishes their impact. No one expects a sizzling “Money for Nothing” lick, but injecting more energetic, lively material would help alleviate the somewhat snoozy atmosphere.

Regardless, those looking to enrich a soft Sunday morning vibe and keep the mood mellow, will delight in what Knopfler offers up. His elusive yet exquisite sonic settings also become increasingly impressive after multiple spins.

Hal Horowitz


SKU 602445525539
Barcode # 602445525539
Brand Blue Note Records

Be The First To Review This Product!

Help other Birdland Records users shop smarter by writing reviews for products you have purchased.

Write a product review

More From This Category