℗ © 2015 Will D. Side Limited under exclusive license to Mercury Records Limited
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The much-travelled craftsman prefers to reside wherever the song takes him, from writing room to rehearsal space, recording studio to concert hall. He is, as tirelessly and inquisitively as ever, on the trail of some musical truth. That approach to his life’s work is how the title of his new, eighth solo album (not counting a myriad of collaborations, productions and film soundtracks) came into being. It’s the other half, if you like, of his typically acclaimed double set Privateering, which graced top tens throughout Europe and beyond in 2012.
"Privateering came about because, in a sense, that’s how I saw the whole thing, my operation,” he muses. “Tracker is a very similar sort of thing. You’re involved in tracking down subject matter, tracking down an idea, investigating the whole thing. Sometimes you’re not exactly sure what it is you’re tracking, and you find out as you’re circling it, and getting closer to it. That’s part of the thrill.” Hence a delightful, deeply rewarding new batch of creations to captivate Knopfler’s millions of devotees, and to bewitch the next generation. Tracker also contains a new cast of characters drawn from Mark’s endless fascination with people, both real and imagined, and places and times in his own life.
The prolific Knopfler set to work on this new endeavour after being asked by his old friend Bob Dylan to tour with him, not once, but twice, on a European jaunt in autumn 2011 and a North American equivalent a year later. The relationship with Dylan is an example of the way that Knopfler moves, with a marked absence of self-importance, in only the most distinguished musical circles. Tracker also features the fruits of newer friendships, for example on two elegant saxophone cameos by Nigel Hitchcock on “River Towns” and “Wherever I Go.” The latter song is the graceful ballad that closes the album and features Mark duetting with singer-songwriter Ruth Moody.
Mark Knopfler - guitars, mandolin
Guy Fletcher - keyboards, bass, ukulele
John McCusker - fiddle, cittern
Mike McGoldrick - whistle, wooden flute, tenor guitar
Glenn Worf - upright and electric bass
Ian Thomas - drums, washboard
Ruth Moody - vocals
Nigel Hitchcock - saxophones
Tom Walsh - trumpet
Bruce Molsky - fiddle, rhythm guitar, banjo
Phil Cunningham - accordion
Producers: Mark Knopfler and Guy Fletcher
Recording engineer: Guy Fletcher
Assistant engineers: Joe Kearns, Jason Elliott, Andy Cook and Martin Hollis
Mastering engineer: Bob Ludwig