Knopfler Nails New Solo Set

Dire Straits leader Mark Knopfler will release his third solo album, "The Ragpicker's Dream," Oct. 1 via Warner Bros. Produced by Knopfler and Chick Ainlay, the 12-track album features the singer/guit

Dire Straits leader Mark Knopfler will release his third solo album, "The Ragpicker's Dream," Oct. 1 via Warner Bros. Produced by Knopfler and Chick Ainlay, the 12-track album features the singer/guitarist backed by keyboardist and Dire Straits member Guy Fletcher, Jim Cox on piano and Hammond organ, guitarist Richard Bennett, Glenn Worf on bass, and drummer Chad Cromwell.

"The record has a kind of an acoustic feel," Knopfler said in a statement. "I find myself writing about work, ordinary people and what they do, changes to places over time, and songs about leaving. I've always been interested in the fact that music travels, so it's a sort of transcontinental blues... The music has traveled to the States and come back again -- Irish songs, Scottish songs, English songs, and European songs, too."

The album is the follow-up to 2000's Warner Bros. release "Sailing to Philadelphia," which featured vocal contributions from Van Morrison, James Taylor, Squeeze's Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, and Gillian Welch. That set debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's Top Internet Albums chart and No. 60 on The Billboard 200.

Knopfler is expected to launch a spring 2003 tour in support of "The Ragpicker's Dream," according to his official Web site. His most recent outing was a trio of shows last month at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire and one in Beaulieu, England, to benefit the Save the Baby, Teenage Cancer Trust, Leuka 2000, and Countryside Education Trust charities. The band at those shows featured Dire Straits members Fletcher and bassist John Illsley, as well as drummer Danny Cummings, who played on the 1991 Straits album "On Every Street" and the subsequent tour document "On the Night."

Outside of Dire Straits and his own solo releases, Knopfler has also made a name for himself in Hollywood with his film scores. Since 1983, he has contributed music to such films as "Local Hero," "Metroland," "The Princess Bride," "Last Exit to Brooklyn," and "Wag the Dog," and most recently, this year's "A Shot At Glory," starring Robert Duvall and Michael Keaton.