Mark Knopfler has announced the release of Down the Road Wherever, his ninth studio album. The effort is due out November 16 on Knopfler’s own British Grove Records, via Blue Note. You can listen to the first track from the record, “Good On You Son,” here.
Down the Road Wherever features 14 new songs inspired by a wide range of subjects, 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 explained, “Down the Road Wherever is a line from [album track] ‘One Song at a Time.’ I remember my pal Chet Atkins once saying that he picked his way out of poverty ‘one song at a time,’ and it just stuck in my mind. You get to an age where you’ve written quite a few songs. But Down The Road Wherever seems to be appropriate for me just because it’s what I’ve always done. I’ve always tried to make a record and also to keep my own geography happening in the songs.’ ”
For the new album Knopfler assembled the same group of top-flight musicians he has worked with for the past few years (plus one or two new faces). He encourages them to put their own stamp on the material without interfering with the essence of the song.
‘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. ‘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.’
Down the Road Wherever is produced by Knopfler and Guy Fletcher (Dire Straits, Roxy Music) and was recorded at British Grove Studios in London. The band features Knopfler on guitars, Jim Cox and Guy 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. Richard Bennett and Robbie McIntosh also feature on guitar, Trevor Mires on trombone, and Imelda May, Kris Drever, Lance Ellington, Beverley Skeete and Katie Kissoon all add backing vocals. All songs are written by Knopfler apart from "Just a Boy Away From Home" on which he shares writing credits with Rodgers and Hammerstein, using a piece of "You’ll Never Walk Alone" to spin the song’s tale of a lone Liverpool F.C. fan wandering the empty streets of Newcastle after midnight.
Down the Road Wherever will be available via digital download, CD, double vinyl, deluxe CD with three bonus tracks and a lavish box set that will include the album on both vinyl and deluxe CD and an additional 12” vinyl EP with 4 bonus tracks, a 12” print of the artwork and a 12” guitar tablature of "Back on the Dancefloor."
You can pre-order Down the Road Wherever here.
Down the Road Wherever track list:
1. Trapper Man
2. Back on the Dance Floor
3. Nobody’s Child
4. Just a Boy Away From Home
5. When You Leave
6. Good On You Son
7. My Bacon Roll
8. Nobody Does That
9. Drovers’ Road*
10. One Song At A Time
11. Floating Away
12. Slow Learner
13. Heavy Up
14. Rear View Mirror*
15. Every Heart in the Room*
16. Matchstick Man
*Deluxe Edition CD bonus tracks