Marc Knopfler

When you hear the phrase guitar god, you most likely think of a young, long-haired, tight-trousered fellow playing shrieking guitar leads at a thousand notes per minute. You probably don't think of a quiet, balding, middle-age man holding thousands of people enraptured with a few sparse, bent notes. Yet Marc Knopfler does this all the time. He is a guitar god for grownups.

Since his debut in Dire Straits in 1978 and the resulting virtuosic hit "Sultans of Swing," Knopfler has enjoyed worldwide acclaim for his ability to merge folk and rock with his own fingerpicked style. What's more, he's a hell of a songwriter, telling tales of everyday people's loss and longing with a fusion of Chet Atkins cascading arpeggios and B.B. King licks.

In fact there's a cinematic quality to his compositions. Knopfler's playing is the aural equivalent of driving your car on a dark, rainy night on a lonely highway or finding yourself pensive and alone in a smoky café.

On a world tour for his fifth solo album, Kill to Get Crimson, Knopfler has not lost his touch, as evidenced on new standout songs such as "True Love Will Never Fade" and "Behind with the Rent." He still talk-sings his lyrics in his trademark gentle, weary baritone tinged with resigned cheerfulness. And though the title sounds like he's trying to court the heavy-metal demographic, it's actually a reference to a painter trying to get the perfect scarlet hue.

Oh, it's also great seduction music. A bottle of wine or three, soft lights, and a little Knopfler, and you can be telling your future progeny of their amusing musical conception. If you buy two tickets online (at Knopfler's website or another ticket outlet), you'll get a free copy of Kill for Crimson. Hmm ... the sultans of marketing?

 
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