All the Roadrunning
Emmylou Harris began her career as a singing foil for Gram Parsons. In recent years, she's become one of the most sought-after duet partners among a wide swath of musicians, from established artists like Elvis Costello and Rodney Crowell to newcomers like Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst. Former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler has gone these musicians one better: he enlisted Harris' assistance to record an entire album together. For seven years the pair have been slowly recording songs together. All the Roadrunning is the fruit of their collaboration, a twelve-song CD reflecting on relationships, aging, and the hazy recollection of memory.
The arrangements of many of the songs fall fairly closely along the lines of Knopfler's previous work, with his distinctive and elegant guitar work threaded throughout the rootsy sound. The real magic happens when Emmylou's voice is added to the mix.
The showpiece of the album is perhaps the single "This Is Us," a musical interpretation of a couple flipping through a family photo album, with the two singers trading lines describing the various images seen.
Like the best of Knopfler's solo or Dire Straits work his guitar work, his guitar skips and hops across the musical arrangement like a.sleek stone across a lake. The songs are primarily Knopfler compositions, except for two written or co-written by Harris, but make no mistake: the contributions of both are essential to this fine album.
All the Roadrunning by Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris is an exceptional record, an inspired collaboration by two legendary talents.