Way To Blue: The Songs Of Nick Drake

Way To Blue: The Songs Of Nick Drake will be released on April 16th. The tribute to the late, great Nick Drake was assembled by Drake’s original producer Joe Boyd. Recorded live in London and Melbourne with the various artists sharing harmonies and instrumentation throughout the album, Way to Blue features Lisa Hannigan, Vashti Bunyan, Shane Nicholson, Teddy Thompson, Robyn Hitchcock and many more.

Luluc’s opening rendition of “Things Behind the Sun” sounds like Nico covering Nick Drake, which I happen to like.

Scott Matthews’ “Place to Be” is as deliciously gritty as an Eddie Vedder song.

Shane Nicholson (a.k.a. Mr. Kasey Chambers) manages to infuse “Poor Boy” with just enough pep and twang to make it fresh without compromising the integrity of the original.

The standout track is Krystle Warren’s soulful rendering of “Time Has Told Me,” the video of which you can watch below.

Vashti Bunyan and Lisa Hannigan are a perfect fits for their respective covers of “Which Will” and “Black Eyed Dog.”

Teddy Thompson’s “River Man” is surprisingly effective. It’s my second favorite Nick Drake song (after “Northern Sky,” which is sadly absent here) so I was cynical going in. But the piano and string arrangement of this cover is beautiful. You can watch the video below.

None of the tracks are weak, though many others blend into the background. There are so many other artists – Allison Crowe, Rufus Wainwright Shawn Colvin, The Low Anthem, Lost in the Trees, The Lumineers, Brandi Carlisle – that could’ve taken this tribute to another level of brilliance. So Way to Blue is a solid tribute to the legendary Nick Drake, but I can’t help feeling there was potential, lost, for magnificence.


Molly Drake

I found and fell in love with Molly Drake’s voice on Bandcamp before reading that she was Nick Drake’s mother. Molly was a very talented poet, composer, singer and pianist whose music obviously had a strong influence on her son’s work. Sadly, Molly’s exquisite music was mostly a family secret during her life and is only now being released to the public. The previously unreleased songs included on her upcoming self-titled album were recorded in the 1950s in the Drake family home and restored by Nick Drake‚Äôs engineer, John Wood. Molly Drake will be released on March 5th.

Happiness is like a bird that only sings
When his head is in the skies
You can try to make him walk beside you
You can say the door is open wide
If you grab at him, woe betide you
I know because I’ve tried

There really isn’t enough variety in the tracks to describe them individually, but the entire album features Molly Drake’s unusually pretty soprano and piano in a lilting, old-fashioned parlour style of music. Her lyrics, however, delve into the same kind of elegant, poetic, somewhat melancholy introspection that her son would eventually explore.

The ballads “I Remember” and “Never Pine for the Old Love” are especially lovely and classic. Other highlights are “Happiness,” “How Wild The Wind Blows,” “Breakfast at Bradenham Woods” and “The First Day.”

You can preview three of the songs via the Bandcamp widget below and order the album at Amazon.

Pre-Order @ Amazon