Mark Knopfler

The Studio Albums, 2009-2018
Mark Knopfler


Mark Knopfler with his ’35 D-18.

It’s not a sin to prefer Mark Knopfler’s solo albums to his mega-band, Dire Straits. While the latter grew into a stadium-filling phenomenon, Knopfler’s solo records are more-intimate affairs, blending Celtic folk, American blues and country, and vintage rock and roll. This box set brings together four superb albums plus bonus material, all remastered.

The package opens with the heart-tugging “Border Reiver,” steeped in Knopfler’s Scottish-folk roots of whistles and pipes, plus chugging acoustic guitar. It’s glorious, as is the piercing folk of “Privateering” – if he had never plugged in a Stratocaster, Knopfler would’ve still been a stellar artist. The Tulsa groove of “Corned Beef City” shows off heavenly electric slide. For bonus tracks, “Precious Voice From Heaven” reveals precise rhythm and lead playing; there’s never a wasted note.

In contrast to that MTV institution Dire Straits, Knopfler’s solo music doesn’t rock as hard, but it rewards the listener with honesty, gripping lyrics, and his tastiest licks, as in “Drovers’ Road.” If you crave that “Sultans of Swing” vibe, cue up “Occupation Blues” for timeless Strat breaks. As the days of 2022 draw short, The Studio Albums, 2009-2018 might be the perfect holiday gift to yourself.



This article originally appeared in VG’s December 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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