As well as being the name of a Nick Drake song and a best of compilation album, Way to Blue was a touring ensemble of folk musicians recreating the songs of Nick Drake. This album of live sessions documents their re-workings of the source material.
Much has been made over the years of the tragic life, short career and posthumous admiration of Nick Drake, and it is clear that he has had a great deal of influence on many popular musicians of today including Robert Smith of The Cure, Badly Drawn Boy and Beck, most obviously on his sparse, mostly acoustic sombre Sea Change album. Tribute albums can be a woeful waste of time, shedding the original songs of any charm or personality, but for the most part, Way to Blue is not one of those. Of course, Way to Blue is not without its hang ups, but we will get to those in a short while.
The album begins with Luluc taking on Things Behind the Sun from Drake's most famous and final album Pink Moon. The arrangement is somewhat more intricate than Drake's sparse original take, and Luluc's Nico-esque vocals give the song a fresher edge despite staying fairly faithful to the original. Next up is Scott Matthews doing a passable impression of his hero on Place to Be, again from Pink Moon. Again, the arrangement here is layered and intricate with the pedal steel sounding like possibly the saddest instrument in the world.
Continue reading: Various artists - Way to Blue: The Songs of Nick Drake Album Review