by Ted S. McGregor Jr. and Darcy Caputo & r & & r & Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris All the Roadrunning 3 1/2 STARS & r & Two great sounds that sound great together: Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris make a great duet. Harris has one of the sweetest voices around, and Knopfler has one of the gruffest -- and that's just fine. Like John Prine and Margo Timmins ("If You Were the Woman and I Was the Man") and Willie Nelson and Lee Ann Womack ("Mendocino County Line"), this record proves that a gravelly baritone can set off a fine female voice perfectly.
Knopfler's got another thing going for him, too, and it's on display throughout -- he can play his guitar, as a wise man once said, just like he's ringing a bell. Knopfler, who has lived in Nashville for more than a decade, also wrote all but two of these mostly mellow songs. Knopfler seems to get a little less Dire Straits and a little more old-timey on every record, but All the Roadrunning will, at times, remind you of Brothers in Arms. It just comes with lots of fiddle, pedal steel and accordion. -- Ted S. Mcgregor Jr. & r & Download: "This Is Us"
Rose Melberg & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941 & amp;type=3 & amp;subid=0 & amp;tmpid=1826 & amp;RD_PARM1=http%253A%252F%252Fphobos.apple.com%252FWebObjects%252FMZStore.woa%252Fwa%252FviewAlbum%253Fs%253D143441%2526i%253D128890773%2526id%253D128890748%2526partnerId%253D30 & quot; & Cast Away the Clouds & lt;a & 3 STARS & r & Apparently it's impossible for a solo artist to make an acoustic record without being compared to Nick Drake or Elliott Smith. It's easy to draw those comparisons when the artist fixates on personal, introspective themes. But c'mon, making those comparisons on the label's Web site?
The comparison's stranger still, as Rose Melberg, former chief songstress of the ambrosial duo the Softies, has once again crafted a delicate pop album chock-full of melody and whimsy.
The majority of the tracks are delectable, like the opener, "Take Some Time," which combines sweeping melodies brushed over acoustic guitar like watercolors into the ocean; sparse piano punctuates the chorus while Melberg sings that "It's going to take some time, to fix this love of mine." "Cold Sea" has an arctic shiver only Canadian waters could conjure.
Where the album fails in the "sad boy" department is the sense of urgency that Drake and Smith exuded -- with the difference being that while Rose Melberg may be casting away the clouds, she doesn't necessarily live in one. -- Darcy Caputo & r & Download: "Take Some Time"