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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mark’s Pick of The Week: The Ragpicker's Dream by Mark Knopfler

            It always surprises me who people know, and don’t know in the way of music.  The name Mark Knopfler might not ring a bell to some people, but he certainly is talented, famous, and important.  He is an Officer of the British Empire, produced for acts like Tina Turner, Bob Dylan and Randy Newman, plays guitar on Weird Al’s parody of his song, and has a dinosaur named after him.  [Editors Note: Great article Mark, as always.  Maybe you should also mention that he co-founded the band Dire Straights, scored eight films including “The Princess Bride, and is considered one of the greatest fingerstyle guitarists alive.  Did I mention how great the article is?  Yes, I did.  I’ll stop typing now.]  Douglas Adams the very talented and very British author (and on of my all time favorites) wrote: "Mark Knopfler has an extraordinary ability to make a Schecter Custom Stratocaster hoot and sing like angels on a Saturday night, exhausted from being good all week and needing a stiff drink."
            With all that greatness, and probably much more that can’t be contained in the confines of this article, clearly this guy has some crazy musical prowess.  Right you are!  And it’s displayed very prominently in his 2002 album “The Ragpicker's Dream.” 
            This album is very interesting.  It subtly tells the story of a poor drifter, mentioning family history, trials, and triumphs.  Knopfler has a way with story telling, and a love of history that breaths real life into these characters.  The songs range from driving, rock tunes, to soft swinging ditties, and soulful folk anthems.  The man in this story may not have been real, but that doesn’t stop you from enjoying the ride through the ups and downs of his life’s journey.
            His music has also held a more personal meaning for me: family.  My Dad often plays Knopfler albums, and his familiar voice and melodies take me back home.  His songs themselves will often concern family whether it be immediate or ancestral.  They are defiantly stories that I hope to share with my kids some day, but until then I’ll just turn the music up a little bit.

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