Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris

All the Roadrunning

Tracks: 12, total time: 50:35, year: 2006, genre: Country

Originally Released April 25, 2006

AMG EXPERT REVIEW: This lush and earthy collaboration between Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris may sound like it rose from an amiable weeklong studio session, but the 12 tracks that make up All the Road Running were actually recorded over the span of seven years. The boot-stomping "RedStaggerwing" and the gentle "Donkey Town," both of which were bumped from Knopfler's Sailing to Philadelphia record, give the ex-Dire Straits leader a chance to flex his country muscle, while thewistful title track spotlights the lovely Harris, whose playfuldemeanor and guarded confidence helps keep Knopfler in check during his sometimes excessive soloing. The two couldn't be more at odds vocally, but Knopfler's laconic drawl is like an easy chair for Harris' fluid pipes, and standout tracks like the 9/11-inspired "This Is Goodbye," the wistful "Beachcombing," and the infectious single "This Is Us" come off as effortless statements of vitality from both camps. -- James Christopher Monger Editorial Review
Over the last seven years, Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris quietly recorded an album by stealing "a few precioushours of studio time here and there," as the ex-Dire Straits singer/guitarist puts it. Good thing they kept it largely under wraps--expectations would have pushed through the clouds, especiallyas Knopfler conjured 10 of the 12 cuts, and Harris, who writes potently, but little, contributed two ("Love and Happiness," "BelleStarr"). Yet now that it's here, All the Roadrunning--while beautiful--seems somehow underwhelming, and without a true centerpiece. Anyone familiar with the artists' famous catalogues would expect the repertoire to be poetic and brooding, and that Harris's ethereal soprano would add light to Knopfler's dark Prozac rumblings. But the surprise is that the album is too tame, never breaks out of its midtempo groove, and never takes any big chances.

That said, there is much to like: The marital scrapbook romp of "This Is Us," the bluesy bickering of "Right Now," the wrenching poignancy of the 9/11-inspired ballad "If This Is Goodbye." Knopfler, ever the hypnotic guitarist, turns in some thrillingly droll and laconic vocals, and Harris brings the spirited coltishness of her early work to "Belle Starr." In the end, though, this is not so much a duet album as two famously melancholy musicians singingtogether--at times, strikingly so. --Alanna Nash

A near-perfect - pairing of musical talents, January 21, 2007
Reviewer: Jon Eric Davidson (Redmond, WA, USA)

On the surface, the pairing of Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris seemed a bit peculiar. But to those familiar with the artists and their work, "All The Roadrunning" had some intriguing possibilities. Fortunately, this project exceeded expectations.

In my mind, Mark Knopfler is tremendously underrated, both as a guitaristand as a songwriter. Outside of his days in Dire Straits (which included the seminal "Brothers In Arms" album), not many people know him. His body of work in his post-Dire Straits career has beenquite interesting and enjoyable. His sound is unmistakable, andhe can play everything from blues to rock to bluegrass, with a few other genres mixed in. As for Emmylou Harris, I think she has also been overlooked and maybe a little underrated in the most recent stages of her career. She possesses a remarkable voice that can be both haunting and angelic (even at the same time), and caneffortlessly sing any type of music with just about anybody. Shehas also crafted an interesting body of work in the past decade or so that.

Throughout "All The Roadrunning", this combinationof songwriting, vocals, and musicianship all blend together to create an impeccable collection of songs. Mr. Knopfler and Ms. Harris seem to have a tremendous respect for each other's talents, which comes across in the music. There isn't a sense that they aretrying to upstage the other, nor is there the odd song that seems "out of the wheelhouse" of one of the musicians. Rather, the songs play to their strong suits; nothing seems jarring or forced.

Vocally, the pairing is nearly perfect. Mr. Knopfler prowls the deep end of the vocal range, which complements Ms. Harris' higher vocal range and vice versa. On other songs, it is Mr. Knopfler's guitar work that complements Ms. Harris' vocals. They seamlessly work through a collection of songs that range from rock to bluegrass to a sort of alternative, with a little bit of blues thrown in for good measure.

More often than not, the tracks on adisc seem to be laid out in such a way where the stronger songs are early, with the marginal or weak tracks bringing up the end. On "All The Roadrunning", the track list seems far more balanced;in fact, it almost builds to a very strong, emotional conclusionthat leaves the listener wanting more.

The disc starts off with solid, if perhaps a bit unremarkably, with "Beachcomber" and "I Dug Up A Diamond". But soon enough, the rocker "This Is Us" - afavorite of mine - really gets the disc in high gear. Another favorite, "Right Now", follows a few tracks later. It continues along with several more solid songs before a terrific 1-2 punch of the title track and "If This Is Goodbye" that close out the disc.These last two songs are the ones I like the most of all. "All The Roadrunning" speaks - at least in part - to a concert tour, butdepending on how you interpret the lyrics, you can take about 3or 4 other stories from the song. "If This Is Goodbye" is a beautifully poignant track which Mr. Knopfler has said was inspired bythe 9/11/01 terrorist attacks. The attacks aren't directly referred to in the song, so there is no sense that it is a cheap attempt to "capitalize" on that terrible day. Instead, you have a songthat can speak to any romance in any phase of life, and Mr. Knopfler's haunting guitar work in the song (eerily reminiscent of the great title track of "Brothers In Arms") create an added emotional punch to the song.

You don't need to be a fan of any particular genre to truly enjoy "All The Roadrunning". You should simply be a fan of - or otherwise appreciate - good music, period. Mr. Knopfler and Ms. Harris have put together a great disc, and one that hopefully enjoys a wide audience beyond that which has already picked up on it since its release last year. I hope that perhaps these two great musicians will collaborate again on anotherdisc; if not right away, then before their respective careers areover.

I can just see this oneat Starbucks..., May 20, 2006
Reviewer: Jeremy Gloff (Tampa, FlUnited States)
Eh, I think I need to come back to this CD a fewyears from now. I'm getting my heart strings pulled by the musicof Kim Carnes lately. When I heard this one, it did absolutely nothing for me. I don't know if it's me, or the music itself. I love almost EVERY Emmylou CD through "Red Dirt Girl". "Stumble IntoGrace" had it's moments but it seemed a bit laboured. The thing Iloved most about exploring the Emmylou catalog was how she hop scotched from album to album, exploring different sounds and themes each time. Neither emotionally nor sonically am I moved by anything on this set... The harmonies seem kinda predicatable...

Well, I hope at a different time in my life I come back to this album and realize I missed out on a masterpiece. As it stands, I walked away from it feeling like it was a by-the-book excersize inAmericana that college and public radio will love everywhere. But, my opinion means nothing and if I come back to this and love it, I'll write another review later. I have a feeling this one's agrower and I'm just not giving it a chance...

She ain't wrong., May 9, 2006
Reviewer: Christopher M. Barlow (St. Louis, MO United States)
This is a really goodrecord, but it's not as good as everyone is giving it credit for. The Amazon reviewer has got it right. The album IS too tame. ItIS overall too midtempo. And it doesn't really have a centerpiece although 'This Is Us' might be considered one. Does this albumtake big chances? Unequivocally, no. It sure doesn't. Of course,there are some really good songs such as 'Beachcombing' and 'Belle Starr' to name two. Some are just fun songs like 'Red Staggerwing' but others are way too sleepy and bland to be ranking this a5 star album. 'Beyond My Wildest Dreams', yes it's got the nice and pretty acoustic guitar but it also is pretty bland with a cliche chorus that makes your mind wander. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the album is bad and if you read the Amazon reviewer's review, she didn't say it was bad either. I should probably get upwards of 50 flames for giving this four instead of five stars. Ifyou played this album at a family reunion, no-one would bat an eye. Now, that doesn't make it a bad album, but it does mean thatit's very safe and very pleasant.

Laughing at the Review, May 8, 2006
Reviewer: Shelley Keats "Romantic era fan"
As soon as I saw who the official Amazon reviewer was, and the fact that she dissed the album, I knew I'd likeit. This same writer was my touchstone when with Stereo Review. If she liked it, I stayed away. If she didn't, I bought it. Too funny. Some things never change. I guess a few other people agree with me.

I dug up a diamond..., May 2, 2006
Reviewer: Brent Willian (Louisville, KY USA)
I findit hard to see how anyone could not be excited to learn that MarkKnopfler and Emmylou Harris were releasing a CD together. On onehand you have arguably one of the best guitarists and songwriters of all-time. On the other is an absolutely beautiful voice thatflows seamlessly throughout each tune. A perfect combination, right? Judging from this CD, yes.

Let me first say that I'm a huge fan of all of Mark Knopfler's work, from Dire Straits, to movie soundtracks, to his solo albums. From the very beginning of this CD, you know Knopfler is there. His distinct guitar playing style shows up on the first track, "Beachcombing," which happens tobe one of the best on the CD. "I Dug Up A Diamond" sounds like it came right from Knopfler's "Sailing to Philadelphia" album. "This is Us" and "Red Staggerwing" are two of the catchiest tracks.They also include the usual slower songs and ballads, which are all great. "Love and Happiness" and "All the Roadrunning" are beautiful, and both accentuate Emmylou's voice. "If This is Goodbye"is a heartfelt and emotional ending, inspired by the events of 9/11:

"my famous last words/could never tell the story/spinningunheard/in the dark of the sky/but I love you/and this is our glory/if this is goodbye"

From start to finish, this CD is beautiful. Knopfler and Emmylou are indeed a perfect duo. I dug up adiamond when I bought this CD.

"This is Us"; This Is Them; Emmylou and Mark, April 30, 2006
Reviewer: prisrob "prisrob" (New EnglandUSA)
Across a dozen duets,pieced together over seven years Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopflersing these tunes with deep emotional overtones. Much of this CDrelates to the life of an itinerant musician, "trying to juggle family and relationships and just the wear and tear of being in the world".

Emmylou says of making this CD," Mark is very muchin control and knows what he wants, but on the other hand, he understand the mystical process that happens when you make a recordand that record becomes what it is. It has everything to do withthe people involved, but there's this other ingredient, of something set in motion. When I heard these songs together, it was so listenable, and I mean that in the most positive way, It a very rich album, musically and lyrically, yet it doesn't requires a lotof work." All of these songs were written by Emmylou and Mark.

"Beachcombing" which starts off the album is evocative of Hurricane Kristina although it was written well before. It is a song about loss, personal and emotional, says Mark, "wreckage washing up all along the coast."

"This is Us", is selected to become the single of this album. It is infectious and many will relate tothis.

A lighter touch comes to "Red Staggewring, which is aCajun-like tune where lovers compare themselves to motorcycles, cars and vintage guitars.

On "Belle Star", Emmylou compares herself to an old West infamous female outlaw, "Belle Star" and Mark as Jesse James. This banter is reminiscent of Johnny and June Cash in their early albums.

"Donkey Song' as a song written byMark and meant for an earlier CD. They both enjoyed the freedomand silliness.

"Love and Happiness:" is the only "proper" song that Emmylou says she has written. "You cannot always protect your children and this is my homage to them".

"All the Road Running" paints the picture of the musician always on the road singing about love found and lost, missing family and friends, and life in the fast lane.

"If This Is Goodbye" came out of 9/11. Mark Knopler talks of reading Martin Amis and Ian McEwan, both ofwhom he found affecting," I remember the McEwan piece honing in on people in the twin towers using their mobiles to make that final phone call home to say "I love you, this is goodbye. If there is anything positive to take from 9/11, that expression of love issurely it."

The underlying emotions, the straight from lifesessions, the day to day existence on the road of this album, isextraordinary. This Is Them: Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler
and now "This Is Us", BK. So Highly Recommended. prisrob April 30,2006. Details
Producer: Chuck Ainlay, Mark Knopfler

Album Notes
Personnel: Mark Knopfler (vocals, guitar);Emmylou Harris (vocals, acoustic guitar); Richard Bennett (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, steel guitar); Dan Dugmore (acousticguitar, pedal steel guitar); Paul Franklin (steel guitar); GlennDuncan (mandolin, fiddle); Stuart Duncan (violin); Steve Conn (accordion); The Memphis Horns (horns); Guy Fletcher (piano, organ,synthesizer); Jim Cox (piano, organ); Glenn Worf (bass instrument); Danny Cummings (drums, tambourine); Chad Cromwell (drums).
Recorded intermittently over the course of seven years, ALL THE ROADRUNNING is the collaborative project between Dire Straits guitarist and vocalist Mark Knopfler and country music luminary EmmylouHarris. While Knopfler's bluesy slow-hand picking and minimalist, muttering vocals may seem an odd match for Harris's lush, full-throated soprano, the pairing works remarkably well.
Better still is the songwriting, with the breezy back-porch opener "Beachcombing" and the stately 9/11-themed "If This Is Goodbye" among thehighlights. As always, Knopfler's fluid guitar style is engaging,and it adds a shadowy, atmospheric backdrop to the roots-conscious proceedings. On the surface, ALL THE ROADRUNNING is a quiet and unassuming record, but its subtlety and grace are part of its lasting charm.

Industry Reviews
[T]he tension between their vocal personas -- she's ever hopeful, he's relentlessly glum -- isthe highlight of ALL THE ROADRUNNING. -- Grade: B-

All the Roadrunning is an elegant, sometimes sleepycollection of country-folk duets pairing Dire Straits' former frontman with one of Nashville's elder stateswomen. Mark Knopfler, who's been working in roots mode for a while now on his solo records, sings in a shopworn tenor and works up graceful harmonies with Emmylou Harris, whose crystalline voice is put to better use here than on her arty recent records. The pair mostly keep the tempos slow and the arrangements light on these portraits of heartbreak and small-town life, and a handful of songs -- including the reggae-tinged "Rollin' On" -- meander by unremarkably. But balladslike the title track and the Springsteen-esque "Beyond My Wildest Dreams" are world-wise and gently gorgeous.
-- CHRISTIAN HOARD -- (Posted: Apr 18, 2006) YEAR: 2006

2.3:39I Dug Up A Diamond
3.4:40This Is Us
4.3:04Red Staggerwing
5.4:15Rollin' On
6.4:23Love And Happiness
7.3:34Right Now
8.5:43Donkey Town
9.3:07Belle Starr
10.4:26Beyond My Wildest Dreams
11.4:50All the Roadrunning
12.4:43If This Is Goodbye

Discid: country / a70bd90c

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