Joe Boyd presents Way to Blue: The Legacy of Nick Drake at Wilton’s Music Hall
In 2009, influential American record producer Joe Boyd amassed artists and friends to help celebrate the works of English singer-songwriter Nick Drake, creating an all-star team of performers to record cover versions of songs on Drake’s remarkable compilation album Way to Blue. The album that was originally produced by Boyd and released in 1994 includes songs taken from Drake’s original three albums and one from Time of No Reply.
The tribute cover album involving live performances from various artists to recreate the LP was brought to life on stage at Wilton’s Music Hall in what felt like an incredibly intimate occasion inside a grand arena. Boyd spoke openly and fondly between songs about first coming across Drake and his working relationship with him. These introductions and after thoughts allowed the audience to grasp the significance of Drake to those who met him and those touched by his music.
Guitarist Neil MacColl was drafted into the band to play Drake’s parts and was hysterically honest about the difficulty he experienced when trying to adapt to the virtuoso’s complex tuning and technique. Joined by musical director Kate St. John on the cor anglais, MacColl’s rendition of Time of No Reply was as captivating as it was impressive. Other stand-out moments included Green Gartside and Robyn Hitchcock’s take on Free Ride. Hitchcock’s showmanship and prowess were later reprised in Parasite, while Paul Smith (Maximo Park) aptly sang a piercing version of Northern Sky.
Boyd also revealed audio clips of the now deceased Robert Kirby recounting arranging music with Drake for the albums on which they worked together. Perhaps, the most special piece came from the screen behind the stage, as Boyd projected footage of Krystle Warren’s soulful and tear-jerking interpretation of Time Has Told Me. In all, what could have been a melancholy affair was actually a heart-warming and humbling experience. This posthumous festival of music was a wonder to behold and a joy to witness.
Joe Boyd Presents Way to Blue: The Songs of Nick Drake is released on 15th April 2013. For further information about the tour visit Joe Boyd’s website here.
Watch a video of the Barbican performance of Way to Blue: The Songs of Nick Drake here: