Until CDBABY get their act together and sort out their technical problems I am selling my brand new Heartlands CD into the US and Australia directly from my website at the same cost as a UK or EU purchase https://www.knopfler.com
So, my new album will be physically arriving in bulk on my doorstep any day now. Next problem... I need to figure out the best way to physically sell them and I need some kind of basic plan for marketing and promotion. I have no real enthusiasm for the business side of things it has to be confessed. CDBABY is sadly no longer the company it was and for me at any rate, barely fit for purpose. They have stopped replying to emails from their Artists who supply their product. Its founder, Derek Sivers, would be spinning if he knew what they’ve done to it. What to do for best?
I thought this really can’t be true but staggeringly it seems it is. By these standards the Romans would have crucified the Good Samaritan for not crossing by on the other side like the others. The Quakers who got my father out of mainland Europe in 1939 would have been jailed for crimes of compassion. WTF are we coming to?
I have a number of fabulous top drawer sponsors for Guitars and other equipment I use. I just wanted to give a shout out to Carlos Juan whose acoustic pickups are in most of my guitars. I’ve been in the studio recording for a few months now and I just wanted to remark that as often as not I prefer the tone, sound and convenience of working with his pickup as with a mic. There can’t be too many pickups you can say that about can there?
I added a bass to a track last night. The strings on it haven’t been changed since 1977. Sounded great. Then I added a snare drum that I bought at the local municipal dump for £1.50 and with its brand new skin, and previous owner’s skill at tuning. It sounded great too. Then I added a cymbal... well you get the idea. If I had a bigger studio I’d pick up the free harmonium I see offered in the local ads.
It’s rare these days that it happens but I woke up with an old Dire Straits song running around my head, tonight. It was among my favourite Mark Knopfler compositions from that 1970s era. “Single Handed Sailor” has a nicely sketched out, emotionally satisfying, lyric and a quite demanding tune to perform too, with some jazz influenced inflections. I probably wouldn’t be able to figure it all out now. Mark brought it, pretty much fully formed, to rehearsals and I think, had written it overnight. I don’t believe the slightly quirky and busy, rhythm part I added, after Mark showed me the trickier chords, really met full approval from either Mark or later our Producer, Barry Becket. I’m pretty sure if I’d been a session player, they would have insisted it was tidied up more and delivered something a little more consistent, spacey and disciplined but they generously let it go and it survived to make the cut, for better or worse. If memory serves, and often these days it doesn’t, it was still performed in the live set when I left the band. It had a kind of rhythmic pace and economy that was simpatico to the sentiment of the song. Maybe I also liked it, in part, because I also found the river Thames at night, with its quiet barges moving, almost invisibly, through the dark, so quickly in and out of view inspirational... a place of excitement and beauty. And there was also the not unremarkable skill for just one person to be handling such a boat. I don’t suppose those long sand barges are still around these days performing their industrial deliveries. That economical, almost romantic “Eng-Lit” and half-journalistic style of narration worked for me. It wasn’t commonly used by lyricists in the gracelessness of the punk era either. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mark wouldn’t have tipped a nod to the way Ray Davis could mine treasure from the battered grime of Waterloo Station and bridge. I guess we made a decent noise for four people. It never felt at the time like we had enough men onboard to do the job but maybe that was part of the skeletal charm; that like most four piece bands, you couldn’t disguise much in the arrangements.