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Song of the Day: “Sailing To Philadelphia” by Mark Knopfler


Good songwriters write good songs.  Great songwriters take their art form to another level and become master storytellers.  Mark Knopfler is certainly a gifted musician, but he is also a talented storyteller.  His CDs end up feeling more like a collection of short stories.  They subtly grab your attention and allow your mind to wander into wherever he wants to take you.  It helps that his superb guitar playing and unique voice always provide the perfect backdrop for the topic at hand.  Oddly, without much vocal range he has tremendous emotional depth in his singing.  He also has that rare ability to set and control the mood with his songs no matter how you are feeling when you begin listening to them.

While I’m a fan of his work with Dire Straits I believe it has been as a solo artist where his true talents have been realized.  It never feels forced or like he is in a hurry or worried about writing a hit record.  Mark is clearly his own man with his own artistic agenda.   He’ll welcome his audience along for the ride, but it feels like he is content to wander alone if necessary.

This particular song, “Sailing To Philadelphia” is one of my favorites.  The fact that he collaborates with James Taylor only solidifies it as a masterpiece.  I cannot possibly count how many times I have played it.  Who else could create such vivid imagery out of the story of the Mason Dixon line?  You actually feel like it is Jeremiah Dixon and Charlie Mason who are singing to you and you are intrigued by their story.

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