With Sailing to Philadelphia, however, Knopfler fully reclaims his near-unique position as an instrumentalist of purpose -- one whose every note seems to have a reason for being. That reason, of course, is in service of his beautifully written and masterfully arranged songs.
Sailing To Philadelphia often sounds outright anachronistic, from the "Sultans Of Swing"-like "What It Is" to James Taylor's voice on the title track, yet it never comes across like another old English coot courting Baby Boomer record buyers. Knopfler's ability to keep his talents in check serves the music, which benefits from the simple structures and tiny (but significant) guitar flourishes.
True, Knopfler's basic approach remains the same - as a guitarist, he is still enamored of the minor-key finger-picking style of J.J. Cale, and as a singer/songwriter, he remains enthralled with Bob Dylan. But in one song after another on this album, you get the feeling that he started out playing some familiar song in a specific genre and eventually extrapolated upon it enough to call it an original.
Feb 19, 2014Maybe the best Mark's solo album (with Get Lucky and Golden Heart). Magnificent guitar, beautiful songs. Mark's the best combining different music styles, and this is the demonstration. In my opinion the best songs are What It Is, Sailing To Philadelphia, Silvertown Blues and Speedway At Nazareth (!).… Expand
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