MARK Knopfler will open the six-date British leg of his Down The Road Wherever Tour at Leeds First Direct Arena on May 18 next year at 8pm.

The tour will run from April, travelling all over Europe, culminating in Verona in July, before heading to the United States through August and September.

The former Yorkshire Evening Post journalist and Dire Straits frontman will be promoting his ninth solo studio album, Down The Road Wherever, released on November 16. "My songs are made to be performed live," says Knopfler. "I love the whole process of writing them alone and then recording them with the band, but ultimately the best part is playing them to an audience live. I enjoy the whole circus, travelling from town to town and interacting with this group of players is a total pleasure."

Guitarist Knopfler, who recorded the album in his west London studio, British Grove, will be performing on tour with an expanded ten-piece band: regulars Guy Fletcher. on keyboards, Richard Bennett, guitar, Jim Cox, piano, Mike McGoldrick, whistle and flute, John McCusker, fiddle and cittern, Glenn Worf, bass, Danny Cummings, percussion, and Ian Thomas, drums, joined by new additions Graeme Blebins, saxophone, and Tom Walsh, trumpet.

Knopfler's 14 unhurried, elegant new songs cover such topics as his early days in Deptford with Dire Straits; a stray football fan lost in a strange town; the compulsion of a musician hitching home through the snow, and a man out of time in his local greasy spoon cafe.

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