Music

Nick Drake: 'A Real Musician's Musician'

NPR | April 20, 2013 8:33 p.m. | Updated: April 21, 2013 5:16 p.m.

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NPR Staff

The cover photo from Nick Drake's 1969 debut, Five Leaves Left, produced by Joe Boyd.

The cover photo from Nick Drake's 1969 debut, Five Leaves Left, produced by Joe Boyd.

Album cover

English folk musician Nick Drake died decades before the song “Pink Moon” found him a wide audience, thanks to a series of Volkswagen ads back in 1999. They sparked a resurgence of interest in Drake’s work — music largely ignored in his day but now inspiring legions of young musicians.

Joe Boyd has helped shepherd that awakening. He produced Drake’s first two albums back in 1969 and 1970, and since Drake’s death has organized concerts in which a dozen or so musicians gather to perform his songs. He says the young performers at those shows — some not even alive when Drake died — all feel a kinship with the singer.

“It’s been a pretty consistent truth in the contemporary music field, starting about the mid-to-late ‘80s: If you asked a young singer coming up, who did they love, who did they put on the turntable, so many people would say Nick Drake,” Boyd says. “He’s become a real musician’s musician.”

Boyd is now releasing some of the performances from those concerts as an album called Way to Blue: The Songs of Nick Drake. He spoke with NPR’s Jacki Lyden; click the audio link on this page to hear their conversation.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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