The Endless Coloured Ways: The Songs Of Nick Drake

Various Artists

Chrysalis, 2023

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


I'm someone who is more familiar with Nick Drake's tragic story than his rather limited catalog of music. Most of my listening of his songs has been in the form of covers, actually, so this double LP that corrals 23 tracks is right up my alley.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Fontaines D.C. get things off to a loud and rhythmic start, where “'Cello Song” is full of atmosphere and exploration that carries much expressive singing. It isn’t long before “Road,” performed by Bombay Bicycle Club & The Staves, brings a very cultured climate that welcomes vocal harmonies and a unique dreaminess.

David Gray is present and places his distinct voice in the soft and wise “Place To Be,” while Ben Harper’s “Time Has Told Me” focuses on piano and Harper’s inimitable pipes for the very soulful delivery.

Further on, the sublimely textured “Poor Boy” showcases Nadia Reid’s gorgeous vocals via the rich folk presence, but it’s the stunning duet between Joe Henry and Meshell Ndegeocello on “Time Of No Reply” that really makes the record essential, where poetic guitar and stirring flute won’t go unappreciated.

Liz Phair makes an appearance near the end with the crisp and jangly melodic “Free Ride,” and The Wandering Hearts finish the listen with the acoustic guitar-fueled “Voices.”

There’s certainly no lack of artists tackling songs by Drake, but not quite like this. This project has each musician ignoring the structure of the original and instead playing each song as if it were their own. This idea, combined with the purposeful song selection and strategic flow of the listen, which is intended to make the album a total listening experience rather than just a bunch of random tracks, does much to preserve Nick Drake’s short but impactful life.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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