Album Review: Mark Knopfler

ALL THE ROADRUNNING

Knopfler, Harris make a beautiful team

By DARRYL STERDAN -- Winnipeg Sun

Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris
All the Roadrunning
(Mercury/Universal)

Duets are like blind dates. Most are forgettable, some are out-and-out train wrecks, and a precious few turn out to be matches made in heaven.

At first blush, you'd think Mark Knopfler's Dylanesque croak and Emmylou Harris's angelic tones would be a beauty-and-the-beast scenario. But we are glad to report this decidedly odd couple make some seriously beautiful music together on All the Roadrunning.

Granted, this is nothing new for Emmylou, who has partnered with virtually every important roots and country artist of the last 30 years and never failed to make them shine just a little brighter. But the bulk of the credit really here has to go to Knopfler.

He's the dominant force on the disc, acting as co-producer and penning all but one of these elegantly rootsy songs.

Thankfully, they are a dozen of the sweetest songs he's penned in ages -- especially romantic roots-rockers like This is Us and Right Now and the playful Celtic-tinged bluegrass of Red Staggerwing.

And wisely, Knopfler directs the proceedings with a light touch, reining in his signature guitar burbles just enough to make room for Emmylou's bewitching tones. A few more Harris cuts beyond the strummy two-stepper Belle Starr woulda been nice, but they can save that for next time.

After all, we hope this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

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