Mark Knopfler continues his late-career resurgence with this skillfully crafted eighth solo effort, revealing a portrait gallery of quotidian and accomplished lives marked by yearning and reflection. Following 2012’s superb “Privateering” the 65-year-old singer-guitarist hews closely to the folk-rock sound he has refined over the course of his career; there are few surprises, but then, no one really expects Knopfler to reinvent himself. Instead, he does what he does best, delivering finely wrought, elegantly arranged songs of subtle depth and rich musicality, many extending past five minutes without overstaying their welcome. “Laughs and Jokes and Drinks and Smokes” wistfully recalls the freedom of youth without indulging in false nostalgia. Knopfler nods to early Dire Straits with “Beryl,” a smart, nimble homage to writer Beryl Bainbridge, and the delightfully redolent “Nights of Taormina” unmistakably echoes Bob Dylan. He strips the ensemble back for an excellent bluesy shuffle, “Broken Bones.” His duet with Ruth Moody (The Wailin’ Jennys), “Wherever I Go,” is one more sumptuous highlight. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Nights of Taormina”
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