Knopfler Kronikles  part 8 ALL THE ROAD-RUNNINGS

Knopfler Kronikles  part 8


by Norman Warwick

All the Roadrunning is a collaboration between British singer-songwriter and guitarist Mark Knopfler and American singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris, released on 24 April 2006 by Mercury Records and Universal Music internationally, and by Warner Bros. Records in the United States. The album received favourable reviews in the press, and reached the number one position on album charts in Denmark, Norway, and Switzerland. The album peaked at number eight in the United Kingdom, and number 17 on the Billboard 200 in the United States. The title track, which actually was released the year before as a new track on the compilation album Private Investigations, was released as a single and reached number 8 in the UK.

“This Is Us” was released as the first single, followed by “Beachcombing”. The album was the result of a long-time collaboration between the two artists. Over the course of seven years, the songs were recorded by the pair with minimal information released about the project. A follow-up live album, Real Live Roadrunning, was released following All the Roadrunning Tour.

Mark Knopfler is currently the kernel of a series of ten  ¨Kronikles´

in Sidetracks And Dedtours over the past several weeks with two more remaining to be published following today´s post over the next couple of weeks.

Like Knopfler, Emmylou Harris has had long histories of collaborating with and supporting other artists. In addition to 23 solo albums and three successful collaborative albums with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt, Harris has recorded backing and duet vocals with many of the significant recording artists of her generation, including The BandJohn DenverBob DylanGram ParsonsTownes Van ZandtTammy Wynette and Neil Young.  

Knopfler had also been involved in a number of collaborative projects, recording duets with such artists as Van Morrison and James Taylor, and contributing guitar tracks to numerous recordings by other artists, including The ChieftainsEric ClaptonKris KristoffersonSonny LandrethKate & Anna McGarrigleSting (left)Tina TurnerSteely Dan, and Jimmy Webb. Both shared a love of country music and an admiration for one of country music’s guitar masters, Chet Atkins. In 1990, Atkins and Knopfler recorded a collaborative album Neck and Neck, but their friendship went back even further. Knopfler and Harris first met while appearing on a Chet Atkins television special in 1987. They stayed in touch, and about ten years later in Nashville, Knopfler played a few of his songs for Harris, and the idea to record together emerged.

All the Roadrunning was recorded sporadically over a seven-year period. Two of its tracks, the Cajun-style “Red Staggerwing” and the acoustic ballad “Donkey Town”, were originally planned to be included in Knopfler’s 2000 solo album Sailing to Philadelphia. On Thanksgiving evening in 1998, at a recording session in Nashville, Knopfler and Harris ran through the two songs with Harris adding her vocals.[6] The session sparked the idea for a collaborative album of duets. Harris later recalled, “When you combine two unique voices it creates a third, phantom voice…. I love the third voice that Mark and I create. We noticed right away that our voices blended pretty effortlessly.” Further recording sessions took place in 2002 and 2004, with the pair recording songs from the ground up, supported by some of the best Nashville session players. Their duets album was interrupted by their individual solo projects—Harris’s Stumble into Grace in 2003 and Knopfler’s Shangri-La in 2004—and their supporting tours and promotional activities.

“If This Is Goodbye” is based on the last telephone calls to loved ones from the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, after being hijacked by terrorists.

Knopfler and Harris (right) supported the release of All the Roadrunning with the All the Roadrunning Tour of Europe and North America, which started on 26 May 2006 in Brussels, Belgium, and included 23 concerts in 23 cities, ending in Berkeley, California, on 30 June 2006. The tour lineup included Mark Knopfler (guitar, vocals), Emmylou Harris (guitar, vocals), Guy Fletcher (keyboards), Richard Bennett (guitar), Stuart Duncan (fiddle, mandolin), Matt Rollings (keyboards), Glenn Worf (bass), and Danny Cummings (drums). The concert on 28 June 2006 at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles was recorded and released as a live album and DVD, Real Live Roadrunning, on 14 November 2006 by Mercury Records and Universal Music internationally, and by Warner Bros. Records in the United States.

In his review for the Winnipeg Sun, Darryl Sterdan gave the All The Road-Running album by Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris a four out of five stars, calling the collaboration a “match made in heaven”.

 Sterdan continued:

At first blush, you’d think Mark Knopfler’s Dylanesque croak and Emmylou Harris’s angelic tones would be a beauty-and-the-beast scenario. But we are glad to report this decidedly odd couple make some seriously beautiful music together on All the Roadrunning. Granted, this is nothing new for Emmylou, who has partnered with virtually every important roots and country artist of the last 30 years and never failed to make them shine just a little brighter. But the bulk of the credit really here has to go to Knopfler. He’s the dominant force on the disc, acting as co-producer and penning all but one of these elegantly rootsy songs.

Sterdan praised Knopfler’s song-writing on the album, especially “This is Us”, “Right Now”, and the “Celtic-tinged bluegrass” of “Red Staggerwing”. Sterdan also noted Knopfler’s production, approaching the project with a lighter touch than on his past projects, and wisely reining in his signature guitar work enough to highlight Harris’ singing.

 In his review for The Telegraph, Neil McCormick wrote that Knopfler and Harris recorded a “remarkable new album” that is a “collection of rich, mature songs that reflect their combined life experiences”, and that is “one of the best albums of both their careers”.

In his review for Entertainment WeeklyJosh Tyrangiel gave the album a B− score, writing that the two artists “seem oddly matched” and that Knopfler’s guitar work tends to overwhelm Harris’ vocals.


Track listing]

All songs were written by Mark Knopfler, except where indicated.

1.“Beachcombing” 4:14
2.“I Dug Up a Diamond” 3:38
3.“This Is Us” 4:39
4.“Red Staggerwing” 3:03
5.“Rollin’ On” 4:14
6.“Love and Happiness”Emmylou Harris, Kimmie Rhodes4:22
7.“Right Now” 3:33
8.“Donkey Town” 5:42
9.“Belle Starr”Emmylou Harris3:06
10.“Beyond My Wildest Dreams” 4:25
11.All the Roadrunning 4:49
12.“If This Is Goodbye” 4:44
Total length:50:29
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