ELBE Wochenblatt (Germany)
""Ship Of Dreams" is a little masterpiece"
Co-produced with lifelong friend Harry Bogdanovs, 2005 saw the release of David Knopfler's album, "Ship of Dreams." Regarded by many as the best studio album of David's to date. Recorded in London it features the cream of Britain's musicians, Harry Bogdanovs, Martin Ditcham, Pete Shaw, Alan Clark, Chris Rea, Tim Whitehead and others. Rolling Stones producer Chris Kimsey makes an appearance as mix engineer on several tracks and two tracks feature new co-writing partners Megan Slankard and Mack Starks. Several songs feature full orchestra while others are sparse. Knopfler says "Each song makes it's own demands. Sometimes a band will do it justice, other times it might need orchestration. Sometimes just Harry and I on two acoustics will hit the spot better than anything we could dream of adding. Whatever helps the song be what it honestly is - that's what we'll use."
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Knopfler grew up in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the North of England. With a guitar, a piano and a drum kit by age 11, it's not surprising to find him the master of the many instruments he uses. By 14, he was performing his own songs in folk clubs and although he has a college degree he can't recall any other aspirations beyond composing and playing music.
In 1977 David founded Dire Straits, and with brother Mark, recorded and toured extensively before resigning three years later to broaden his horizons. "In Dire Straits I learned how to translate the intimate from the bedroom to the arena. Since leaving I've been wondering how you put the genii back in the bottle. I'm still interested in the way the personal can also translate lyrically to universal themes, but hopefully with less hoopla and distraction. I now make my work for that special someone willing to make time to listen quietly to the work and be reflective. It's the listener who makes the creative connections and finds a personal story therein. Like any artist, I need the work to excite and involve me, but in doing so I also hope my songs will provide a vehicle for the listener to put themselves centre stage and relate to the emotions and ideas. It's not an entirely selfish process; there's also unconsciously something that offers the promise of redemption hidden in there too"
David has always made uncompromising life choices. His relaxed but disciplined approach to his work and his life, showing no regard for hanging out, or to the platinum discs piled up in his cellar is indicative of Knopfler's entire philosophy. David believes in defining success without reference to fame - In finding happiness without hype or glory, preferring to choose the low road and the substance of real work and the loyalty of real friendships and relationships to those more fashion conscious, ephemeral insecurities that so beset the pop glitterati who like to be seen at awards ceremonies."I'm committed to what I do and to everyone feeling fulfilled by what we create together. I believe inevitably our solidarity as artists communicates positively in the work, whether the theme of the song is tragic or joyful, fragile or rebust."
He lives quietly in the English countryside, slowly notching up an impressive list of writing credits. An understated integrity and honesty define. A lifelong member of Greenpeace and Amnesty, David is more prone to sending a cheque than using such organizations to further his own publicity. That he has deftly avoided the usual media intrusions and the drink, drugs - burn out - rock-n-roll traps for so many years, unperturbed in the marketing and promotion led hysteria this business engenders, is testament to David's consistent ongoing maturation and development.
Writing all his life David says "I don't regard what I do as remotely glamorous. I write and record music because I completely love doing it and pretty much despite any so called "celebrity status" that sometimes comes with the job." His heroes are diverse but if pressed to name them, he'll usually offer Randy Newman, Joni Mitchell, Lowell George and Bob Dylan among others.
Knopfler has been lucky enough to touch a wide audience without prejudicing his own aesthetics. While he has enjoyed the respect of his peers, critical accolades and chart successes abroad, in his home country, England, he appears, with evident mischievous enjoyment, to have managed to keep his profile so low as to be almost invisible. "I really enjoy pottering around the garden. The stars here look completely amazing at night."
"I can't exactly say what lends a song, or a story, power" he ponders, "but I sure know when I hear it. It's not a clinical manufactured thing. It's something you feel in a cold chilled tingle of excitement. Hitting that nerve for me is the whole addiction. I wouldn't want to mess too much with it. Songs either work on your emotions or they don't. It's something I've been doing all my life. In the end it's just about the songs... either they hit that spot for you or they don't."
Concerts will soon follow together with TV appearances media interviews and a hive of other activities. David also maintains a substantial personal web-site: www.knopfler.com
Knopfler remains unmoved by hyperbole: "I'm just a songwriter" he says " all this talking about the process has nothing to do with whether my next song will be the best I ever wrote - or the best I ever recorded, or whether my next live performance of it will be my best rendition i.e. whether I can communicate it effectively... the rest is so much air. This new record is easily my best work to date and I dug deeper than I ever have before to create it. I hope the critics and public will agree with me"
First German reviews for Ship of Dreams
"David's songs exude intimacy. Ship Of Dreams is a real winner."
"It's the lyrics Knopfler writes that make us contemplate and leaves
footsteps in the sand. This man is a real phenomena".
""Ship Of Dreams" is a little masterpiece"
more review comments at knopfler.com