At what point in an artist’s career do rumour and conjecture solidify into myth – and at what point do those myths then become accepted as fact? In the case of our cover star, Nick Drake, it seems as if they began to swirl not long after his death, in 1974, and have continued to grow ever since. What Nick Hasted has done in his cover story is transcend the tragic myth to discover a very different young man. Far from the shy introvert wracked by crippling self-doubt, he has found another Nick Drake: a confident, receptive young man, as happy to perform in folk clubs as busk in the streets, as he passes through France and North Africa on what one of his companions calls “a great adventure”. Our piece begins, meanwhile, in London, in the front room of an old school friend of Drake, who opens to us his notebooks from their travels, full of lists of records and books they shared. It feels like a significant piece of work as we head towards what would have been Drake’s 75th birthday in June.
To accompany this, Tom has also compiled a stunning CD of music in the spirit of Nick Drake, featuring beautiful tracks from Joan Shelley, Juana Molina, Adrianne Lenker and many more. It is, we humbly think, another indispensable Uncut CD for your collection.
Elsewhere in the issue, you’ll find lively interviews with Stephen Stills, Julian Cope, David Johansen, Evan Dando and more as well as Gareth Sager’s tribute to Mark Stewart and – as a positive affirmation of the healing power of music after great tragedy – an interview with Low’s Alan Sparhawk about his new band, Damien. It’s a feast, in other words. And I genuinely can’t think of another magazine where you’ll read major pieces on Nick Drake and Flowered Up in the same issue.
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