Mark Knopfler to perform Sunday at the Ryman

Friday, May 25, 2001 at 1:00am

If we can't get along, we oughta be apart/And I'm wondering where'd you get that cold, cold heart/Set me free; sign my release/I'm tired of being the villain of the piece/You've been givin' me a bad time/Tell me what'd I do/How come I always get a hard time,Honey/When it comes to you?

"When It Comes To You" (Dire Straits, 1991)

Back this past winter, I met two folks from the Ryman Auditorium at a Downtown function and was asked, "Who would you like to see come to Nashville and play?"

With the hesitation of Herschel Walker in his prime, I answered, "Bring Mark Knopfler, please. It takes a lot to get me out of the house these days."

I don't know what my nice friends at the Ryman did, but Knopfler, the former lead guitarist and singer of English band Dire Straits, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

As part of his tour to promote his album Sailing to Philadelphia, Knopfler is seeing the world and playing to sellout crowds in Mexico, Moscow, Argentina, the United Kingdom, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, France, Norway, Sweden and many other countries.

Few artists can boast such a diverse fan base. My theory is there are four groups of musicians in the world: aspiring artists, artists who have lucked out, artists who deserve accreditation and respect. And then there are the composers of music

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