Nick Drake's original producer, Joe Boyd, put together a series of concerts in the UK, Australia, Italy, and the US to celebrate Nick's greatness as a songwriter. The concerts are called 'Way To Blue' and they have involved singers as diverse as Teddy Thompson, Green Gartside (from Scritti Politti), Robyn Hitchcock, Vashti Bunyan and Lisa Hannigan, as well as bass master Danny Thompson and arranger Robert Kirby, both of whom worked on Nick's albums. These recordings are the edited highlights of concerts in New York and London.
Over the years, Boyd has explored the possibility of producing a CD in tribute to Drake's songwriting. But despite many well-known artists wishing to participate, he always resisted, because it seemed the only practical way to accomplish it would be for each artist to supply a track recorded separately, with their own chosen musicians. Boyd felt that the only way to avoid the pitfalls of the typical Tribute Album would be to have everyone together for a week in a rural studio, backing each other with harmonies and guitar parts, creating an organic whole.
By performing 'Way To Blue' fifteen times over the course of four years, he has accomplished something resembling his original dream. The songs have been honed and shaped over the course of time, and the spirit of togetherness among the 'Way To Blue' company has proved inspiring to all participants. The result is an album with the quality of a studio production and the spontaneity of a live performance.
[A] lovely tribute album … the sound is impeccable. I suggest you pair it with a mellow Sunday morning, or a long walk in the spring sunshine. --USA Today
What makes this a must-listen is the variety and passion of the singers. Drake's intricate guitar parts are played celestially by Neill MacColl, son of British folk great Ewan MacColl. They all take some liberties with the music, but Drake's lonely outcast vibe is well-preserved. --The Boston Globe
A beautiful tribute album. --NPR All Things Considered