Every couple of years or so I find myself looking forward to the release of yet another of Mark Knopfler's albums. Though a pretty big fan of Dire Straits as a teenager, I was late discovering the front man's work as a solo artist. I missed the first solo album, 1996's Golden Heart, but was in on the ground floor with Sailing to Philadelphia in 2000, and I haven't missed an album since. This fall's Get Lucky is a welcome addition to my growing collection of things Knopfler.
Knopfler's talent for drawing real characters and stories with rich lyrics and carefully layered instrumentation is only further solidified with this latest batch of musical tales. Knopfler's subtle lyrical hints guide the listener onto the path of each story, never pushing him in any one direction. Instead, the listener is allowed to wander around in the song to discover for himself where the end of the path might lie. This vague placement of lyrical clues is a very intentional way of allowing the listener to become involved with the song and it's characters, rather than just being an observer.
This album has more than a few different instruments to listen for. Celtic sounds abound in Get Lucky, much like the first album Golden Heart, further deepening the haunting tone of many of the songs. When woven together with the lyrics, the songs become a rich tapestry of sound, indeed!
Particularly moving for me have been the album's opener Border Reiver, Before Gas and TV, and So Far from the Clyde. However, this album, like it's predecessor Kill to Get Crimson, shows no trace of following up with anything resembling the upbeat Dire Straits-esque songs Why Aye Man from 2002's The Ragpicker's Dream and What It Is from the previously mentioned Sailing to Philadelphia. The lack thereof, though, cannot take away from the fact that, once again, Knopfler has delivered a tight set of songs for the music connoisseur to languish in. It's the perfect way to begin a season famous for its moodiness and brooding.