He's a multiple Grammy winner, one of rock's most respected guitarists, and a founding member of the multiplatinum AOR legends Dire Straits -- and yet Mark Knopfler's new album doesn't have an American release date. What gives?

The new double-disc set, 'Privateering,' has been out overseas since early September, and has already garnered waves of critical praise from writers who find Knopfler settling gracefully into the gentle, Celtic-tinged folk rock that has defined his post-Straits career. But unlike his six previous solo releases, 'Privateering' isn't being distributed Stateside by his longtime U.S. record company, Warner Bros.

The label's antipathy isn't based on sales -- 'Privateering' has already graced the upper reaches of the charts throughout Europe -- and the songs, which boast guest appearances from an eclectic support crew that includes Fabulous Thunderbirds frontman Kim Wilson and trumpeter Chris Botti, stand up against anything else Knopfler has done with Warners. In this case, it looks like it's just another case of the music business getting in between the music and the fans.

Knopfler issued an explanation via his Facebook page, letting fans know that "'Privateering' will not be released in the U.S. There is a contractual dispute between Mark and Warner Brothers which has resulted in the current situation. The record has been released in all other territories in the world as usual by Universal Music.

"We are disappointed that Mark’s record won’t be released in the U.S.," continued the message, offering a slender ray of hope: "If the situation changes, an updated statement will be issued. Very many thanks for your continued support."

In the meantime, 'Privateering' is available in a variety of configurations for fans who want to order it direct from Knopfler's site or import it via online vendors -- and you can hear 90-second samples from the record below.

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