27 March 2023


Some thoughts on the project…

Way back in 2021, just as we began picking our way through the post-pandemic ruins, I got a rather exciting email from the wonderful Cally Callomon about a new project involving The Nick Drake Estate and Chrysalis Records. The general rule of thumb is that if you hear the clarion call issue forth from someone like Cally, you saddle up and get involved as it’s likely to be worth your while – and this particular call to arms was an absolute no-brainer. The idea was to create a double LP of Nick Drake songs adopted by a diverse mix of artists from around the world. I use the word adopted rather than adapted, as the brief was not simply to put a gentle spin on these much loved songs, but rather to take them and make them entirely our own – no loyalty required. These tracks were to be broken down, stripped for their parts, then reconstructed in whatever way we saw fit.

As some of you may know, Nick Drake is a favourite artist of mine and his astonishing music played a formative role in me first deciding to give songwriting a go. This adoration is shared by many, many devoted fans, to the extent that his life and output have become seemingly untouchable and he has been entered into an almost Godlike realm. I think this reverence is perhaps further magnified by his tragic, untimely death and the knowledge that much of his fame and success was posthumous. As a result, there are a lot of people who don’t believe his music should be covered, or at least, not in a way that departs from his originals. After all, how can you hope to improve on perfection? Would a cover of this sort not be futile at best and a massacre at worst?

Whilst I can empathise with this viewpoint, I believe a cover does not muscle its way into an artist’s catalogue like a cuckoo in the nest, ready to usurp the original. Its aim is not to win some sort of beauty contest. The magic of a cover is the way in which it can reimagine a song into something unexpected and wonderful, and that the two songs can co-exist. This project gave us as artists an opportunity to encourage these well-known tracks to refract light in new ways, allowing different elements of the songs to come to the fore and adding new colours to their familiar portraits. These interpretations do not necessarily detract from the original art, they just alter the perspective and Nick Drake’s brilliant songwriting still shines through, just under a different guise.

I firmly believe that music is there to inspire, to be celebrated and to be passed around. It is not meant to be shut up in a glass case to be seen but not touched, or, worse still, guarded by those who want to keep it all for themselves. Surely this is all any musician wants for their music – for it to endure, evolve, travel and be loved for decades to come. I hope this LP allows Nick Drake’s songwriting to reach a whole new audience who may not have stumbled across his work otherwise and it’s such a pleasure to be a part of that process.


It was Cally who suggested this track to me. It’s one of Nick’s oldest songs, and perhaps one of his most undervalued. I don’t want to give too much away about my adoption of the track before it’s released, but I knew that I wanted to turn this rather stark, stripped back recording into something more spacious and dynamic. The theme of being left behind is one that really resonated with me, as someone who’s chosen to carve out a career in the arts. I spoke a little on my last blog about seeing my friends settling down into the rhythm of their nine to fives with their houses and marriages and kids, and how easy it is to feel like I’ve been left behind sometimes. But, just as we’re inclined to see everything Nick Drake has written through the lens of his ending and read tragedy into all he writes, this theme of being left behind isn’t necessarily a sad one. Sometimes the slower route yields a better view, or gives you more chance to enjoy the journey. I wanted to leave this up to interpretation in my version of the song and give his lyrics and melody a chance to really soar. I hope I’ve done it justice. Time will soon tell – it’s released on April 12th digitally and on a limited edition single…more on that here. The full LP is released later this Summer.

Last weekend, I travelled over to Wenlock Abbey, home of Gabrielle Drake, to record a video that will accompany the single release on April 12th. I have met Gabrielle before and have heard about her amazing home, but nothing could really prepare me for the beauty of the place. It’s a sprawling, medieval house set in picturesque grounds with the ruins of a 12th century monastery in the garden. A truly inspiring location that is steeped in history and wonderfully peaceful. My lodgings were high up in the rafters, where I slept alongside Nick Drake’s piano and awoke to Spring sunshine, ready for a day filming with Bill Jackson, who has been making all the videos for the project. I hope to return to Wenlock Abbey at some point, as there’s something about these great historical relics that breed creativity. I’m not really a believer in the supernatural, but I can’t help but feel the presence of the many lives that have been lived in a room when I’m lying there – all those stories and secrets, tangibly close but remaining just out of reach. The centuries have a perceptible presence in these places and that’s something I find really comforting and exciting. Perhaps I’ll head back there at some point and do some writing, but for now, Bill is now back home in Suffolk working on the video, ready for its imminent release. I’m looking forward to seeing how he captures the spirit of the place and the song.

I am so very proud of my contribution to this project and I can’t wait to finally see it released into the world this Spring, many moons since its conception. I hope you like it, but most if all, I am honoured to be part of a process that sees these wonderful songs take on new forms and put down roots in new places. Far from being left behind – Nick Drake’s music lives on, endlessly.