Magazine article Guitar Player

Mark Knopfler: Mixing It Up in Music City

Magazine article Guitar Player

Mark Knopfler: Mixing It Up in Music City

Article excerpt

"I am one of those lucky people who loves to write, loves to rehearse, loves to record and loves to tour," says former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler, relaxing in a hotel suite in his current home-away-from-home, Nashville. Knopfler recorded much of his recent Warner Bros. solo debut, Golden Heart, here in Music City, and he's returned to rehearse his latest band in advance of a four-month European tour: "If the enjoyment level is what I suspect it will be, then we'll be able to do a bit more - maybe even America."

Though American styles form the core of Golden Heart's satisfying and eclectic blend of rock, cajun, country and Celtic styles, the album has little to do with Nashville's C&W legacy. In fact, Knopfler's decision to record in Music City was driven more by his desire to have such top-tier players as Richard Bennett, Paul Franklin and Michael Rhodes on the sessions than to bask in the ambience of the Grand Ole Opry. "Oh yeah, the players drew me to Nashville," he says. "I don't come here to play country music, and I hope if the record does anything, it will encourage other songwriters to think they could come to Nashville and make a record that would be as satisfying as one they'd make anywhere else."

Knopfler suggests searching for guitars whose characteristic tone will best compliment each song. "When making a record, it's best not to just go for the tried and tested thing or the main sound that you dig, although that may well be a good starting point. I'm always interested in hearing a few different guitar options, because instruments are like people and they have different personalities." Knopfler borrowed a '54 Stratocaster - affectionately called "The Jurassic Strat" - for his solo on I'm The Fool," and though he's best known for his signature Stratsmanship, Knopfler entrusted most of his work on Golden Heart to a 1958 Les Paul. …

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