Mark Knopfler, Privateering (Mercury/Universal)
Mark Knopfler, the British guitarist best known as the frontman to Dire Straits, returns with his seventh solo record, the subtle "Privateering" that's a moody and entrancing musical travelogue spread over two discs.
Employing world-class musicians, like Tim O'Brien on mandolin, the 63-year-old Knopfler uses his increasingly world-weary voice to spin tales of gamblers, lovers and seafarers from across the globe over the 20 original tracks.
O'Brien is just one of several guests who add layers to the sound not typically heard in popular music, including whistle, flute, pedal steel, harmonica, fiddle and accordion. Along the way Knopfler delves into country, blues, Celtic folk and rock, melding the different styles into a cohesive whole.
Check this out: On "Seattle," Knopfler picks his acoustic guitar to tell the story of two people falling out of love, despite their shared affection for the rainy city. Ruth Moody of the Wailin' Jennys provides lovingly aching backup singing, perfectly fitting the mood.