Mark Knopfler is returning from a three-year hiatus on November 9th with the release of Down The Road Wherever, his ninth solo album. “The album features 14 new songs inspired by a wide range of subjects,” reads a press release, “including Knopfler’s early days in Deptford with Dire Straits, a stray soccer fan lost in a strange town, the compulsion of a musician hitching home through the snow and a man out of time in his local greasy spoon diner.”
Knopfler produced the record along with former Dire Straits keyboardist Guy Fletcher, who has been one of his primary collaborators since the group disbanded in 1995. They cut it at London’s British Grove Studios with Jim Cox and Fletcher on keyboards, Nigel Hitchcock on saxophone, Tom Walsh on trumpet, John McCusker on fiddle, Mike McGoldrick on whistle and flute, Glenn Worf on bass, Ian ‘Ianto’ Thomas on drums and Danny Cummings on percussion.
He’s worked with most of these musicians in the past and he gave them the freedom to express themselves on the new songs however they saw fit. “I think the business of making a record, from having written a song and then bringing it to musicians, it can be quite a bendy route,” Knopfler said in a statement. “It’s not just motorways all the way…and you can end up in the occasional cul-de-sac, then you have to do a 16-point turn to try to get your truck back out on the main road as unobtrusively as you can. That’s part of the fun of it.”
Knopfler toured heavily in 2015 to promote his previous LP, Tracker, but he’s kept a very low profile since then, not even showing up in Cleveland earlier this year when Dire Straits were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or commenting on the honor in any way. Some of his former bandmates are touring America this year under the moniker DSL – Dire Straits Legacy, though Knopfler has yet to announce any touring plans of his own in support of Down The Road Wherever.