Thursday, August 14, 2008


Mark Knopfler--who?---the guy from Dire Straits--oh yeah! him!--I love him!...he's been hooking up with some really good singers and songwriters since his broke up his band. It was getting too big. It wasn't a musical experience anymore. How much money do you really need?

That's the thing about bands like the Stones and U2. It's like cancer. It just grows to monstrous proportions and ceases to be music or art, it's just an event.

Anyway, Knopfler's been working with some serious people, and none are more serious than Emmylou Harris. She is a national treasure. Her voice is so beautiful, and you match that up with her natural instincts of interpretation, and as they would say about Sinatra, she could sing the phone book (remember what phone books were?) and it would sound great.

Listen to this song. It's opening and the melody that follows through the song are reminiscent of Dire Straits, of course it is. Knopfler is left-handed, but plays the guitar as a righty. His strong hand is playing the chords and notes on the fret board, and it allows him to really give some vibrato. And he doesn't use a pick, or even his fingernails on his strumming and plucking hand; that's how he gets that unique sound of his. (I read it in the Rolling Stone. Yep, I'm still reading that old rag, which really isn't much more than People Magazine for rock stars now.)

And then Emmylou (can I call you by your first name?) enters the song, just like she's walking into a room, and his deep voice and her soprano just jell, and I think it's because you have two stellar musicans there who really know what they're doing. Again, Emmylou Harris's strength is how she can interpret; she just seems to know exactly what to deliver. And I've heard that she just stands her ground and does what she wants. And now she's the Queen, so producers just do what she says.

And those lyrics are so sweet; Knopfler is a fantastic storyteller. His songs have always been like short stories or plays, with beginnings and middles and climaxes and anticlimaxes. And this is filled with metaphor and images paint the picture of a life washed up on shore.

They say there’s wreckage washing up
all along the coast
No one seems to know too much
Or who got hit the most
Nothing has been spoken
There’s not a lot to see
But something has been broken
that’s how it feels to me

We had a harmony
I never meant to spoil
Now it's lying in the water
Like a slick of oil
The tide is running out to sea
Under a darkening sky
The night is falling down on me
And I‘m thinking that I

Should head on home
Been gone too long
Leave my roaming

Little wild kitten out hunting
To see what he can get
You’re in a big city now
won’t stop growing yet
The sun is going down smoking
A flaming testament
Something has been broken
And it feels permanent

Little seabird flying
He knows where he wants to go
Guess i ought to pack my stuff
And do the thing I know
I turn around and head on back
Along the old sea wall
I felt something give and crack
And now I’m sorry that’s all

Head on home
Been gone too long
Leave my roaming

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