In reply to:
I myself never saw the similarities. I think Thompson is drawing from a much larger creative pool.
Agreed. I'm a tremendous fan of Knopfler as well. Making Movies
and Sailing to Philadelphia
would probably be somewhere on my desert island discs list. But the thing about Richard is that he's pulling ideas from musical places that are pretty alien in western pop music.
Pick your standard guitar god -- Clapton, Page, Beck, Knopfler, Vaughn, whoever -- they're all drawing from a foundation that's primarily blues-based. It might be a fancier version of Chuck Berry or Robert Johnson or Son House, but it's basically hopped up blues. When Richard takes a solo there are so many elements that just don't make sense to the casual ear because they're unfamiliar. I've played guitar since I was nine, and I can't count the number of times I've heard him slip a lick in a song that makes me go, "What the #$@ was that?" Very often it's atonal and it seems like he's backing himself into a corner but he consistently finds thrilling ways through a song. You've seen him enough to catch one of those solos. Heck, they're far more frequent than you'd think was possible. I can't count the times where I would have been less impressed had he started to fire laser beams from his eyeballs and begun to levitate on stage.
I do have Strict Tempo
, by the way. The only one I don't have is First Light
and that's just because I think it's his weakest album by far -- a genuine anomaly in his catalogue.