With Last Train Leaving, Knopfler delivers an album that at times feature his fine keyboard skills and always his elegant fretwork, never overpowering but always skilfully and masterfully understated. Surprisingly there’s even some Dylanesque harp at times. It’s hard not to love particular tracks above others, and for me, “All The Fun Of The Fair,” is one of those simply wonderful cuts, poignant recollections and a warmth at its heart making it little short of irresistible.
Not many would try a rhyme with colonoscopy in there, but here in one track, “I Gave My Heart,” Knopfler somehow or other pulls it off. Each of the fourteen tracks are single stories, melodically wrapped with fine musicianship and a tale to be told. Overall, this entire album is a true delight, roots music at its core with hints of blues, country and rock rippling throughout the mix.
“Perfect Storm” is another track that pulls you in from the initial, opening bars with Knopfler’s vocals bristling and perfectly pitched. If there’s a surprise here, for many it might be the simple thought that looking back at Dire Straits and brother Mark’s own solo output over the years, David Knopfler is the guy who carries a melody and has a voice that is genuinely gripping, harmonic, wonderfully raw and emotive.
If anyone has yet to catch this guy’s solo efforts, Last Train Leaving could well be a perfect introduction and certainly a rewarding release worth catching. Last Train Leaving is that rarity, a musical treat and a thing of true beauty. Grab it while you can.
—Iain Patience for elmoremagazine.com