Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Amazing Acoustics: Nick Drake

Nick Drake was an absolutely phenomenal songwriter. His folk-tinged songs are haunting, mesmerising, and utterly beautiful - his vocals are pure and untainted, while his ornate, delicate guitar playing is meticulously perfect yet somehow natural at the same time. It's like the music effortlessly pours out of him, and that makes it so amazing to listen to. His lyrics are like poetry, invoking images of the natural world - often autumnal - to convey mixed feelings of love, loss and detachment; he was pretty much a modern-day Romantic, and has come to represent so, so much to his avid listeners.
This is the last track from his last album:
At some point during this night - the 24th/25th of November - some 35 years ago when he was aged 26, Nick Drake died of an overdose of anti-depressants. When he was alive he was more or less completely unknown in the musical world, probably not helped by the fact that he was ridiculously shy and didn't like live performances (hence the complete lack of any live footage of him, guttingly). Depressingly, in 2000 after 'Pink Moon' was featured in a Volkswagen advert, Nick Drake sold more records than he had within the past 30 years. But maybe that's not depressing. It's about time he was fully recognised and embraced as one of the great singer/songwriters in recent history, and if that's what it took to bring him to the public eye then so be it.
Buy his albums. 'Pink Moon' is my favourite as it's his last album, and it's the only one that's really stripped-down and sparse, but I know some people would dispute this and champion 'Five Leaves Left' or 'Bryter Layter'. Plus there are some great demos and unreleased tracks on the post-humous compilations. Doesn't matter. Point is, his acoustic prowess probably goes beyond just "amazing", and so I guess this post is just my little way of saying "thank you" for the music he made and showing just how timeless it really is.

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