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Music Review: All The Roadrunning – Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler

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All The Roadrunning is the product of a 12-year collaboration between the melodic, angel-voiced Emmylou Harris and the sardonic, lethargically drawling Mark Knopfler. When two such iconic superstars collaborate, you may expect to be blown away with melodies and harmonies fitting Harris’s voice or amazing earthy lyrics and bluesy guitar riffs a la Dire Straits. If you are expecting cutting edge lyrics and melodies to make you weep, well, prepare to be disappointed. That may be why this album has not received the critical praise that so many expected it to get.

What you do get from All The Roadrunning is a comfortable tapestry of warm melodic music. It isn’t mind-blowing but it is certainly more than worth the sticker price. Harris’s dulcet, warbling harmonies mix perfectly with Knopfler’s languorous, laconic tones and together they weave delightful rich melodies.

“This Is Us” is the fist single release from All The Roadrunning. It is the tale of two people, seen in snapshot form, looking back over their life together remembering the important events. “This is us down at the Mardi Gras”, “This is us in your daddy’s car”, “You and me and our memories, this is us”. “This Is Us” is a beautiful celebration of lasting love and an excellent example of Knopfler and Harris’s unique vocal combinations. And of course what would a Mark Knopfler song be without his trademark guitar sounds.

For a darker feel, “Rollin’ On” is a captivating, tuneful track in which you get to hear Harris’s voice at its melancholy, wistful best. Harris, never the most prolific song writer, wrote only two of the twelve tracks; “Love and Happiness” and “Belle Star.” Both are simple and austere, perfect Emmylou Harris material.

Other notable tracks on All The Roadrunning include “Beachcombing”, “Beyond My Wildest Dreams” and “Right Now”, which is as close as Emmylou can get to indie rock. This is a CD I would highly recommend to everyone fan of Harris and Knopfler or not.

Blogcritics is excited to be able to offer our readers an opportunity to win All The Roadrunning. To enter please send an email with your name and address to BCgiveaway@gmail.com with the subject line of "Emmylou Harris."

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  • Donald

    Yes I partially agree with the writer of the article. I dont believe that the album is without any melodies, though I do not have an opinion on “cutting edge lyrics”. The album is mind blowing wrt the music and the chord sequences. Something a body could come back to at the end of a tired day. I am carrying this album on my ipod and it continues to amaze me the way mark turns up such lovely music each time.

  • Denis Vandale

    Like most of Mark’s albums, first listening doesn’t do that much for you, but each time you listen you discover more and more depth and meaning. I can’t think of any other performer that does this for me. In the world of “right now”, good quality lasting products usually don’t stand a chance.