Various - Way To Blue - The Songs Of Nick Drake
With the 40th anniversary of his death approaching next year, it seems apt that some seriously underrated singer/songwriters have banded together to dedicate an album to Nick Drake and his work. Drake, lost to music fans in 1974 following a fatal overdose of antidepressants, has become a musical icon in death with his achievements and influence increasingly recognised as time has passed (isn't it always the way?). This collection also acts as something of a tribute to Robert Kirby, recently passed and whose original Drake orchestrations are replicated here with aplomb, bringing to life anew the subtleties of Drake's songs.
Those who have always found Drake's work frustrating due to its unhurried nature won't find that has changed with these interpretations, but Drake fans and lovers of the singer/songwriter's craft will be suitably pleased. Singers who have flirted with the contemporary mainstream (such as Lisa Hannigan, Teddy Thompson and Scott Matthews) bring their A-game, while old-hands like Robyn Hitchcock and Vashti Bunyan are equally assured, the latter's take on 'Which Will' proving particularly gorgeous. The album is a bittersweet but timely acknowledgment of a lost talent, an instrumental reading of 'One Of These Things First' revealing the legacy of Drake's music even with the lyrics stripped. Highlights include a couple of stirring duets, notably the finale of 'Pink Moon' which pairs Teddy Thompson with soulstress Krystle Warren, but the record is a respectful and befitting whole indebted to its inspiration.