Also curating a
Fairport Convention reunion and a tribute to Incredible String Band.
By Fred Mills
Legendary producer, Witchseason Production/Hannibal Records
founder and author (‘60s memoir White
Bicycles) Joe Boyd will be curating a series of concerts in England,
starting May 16. On that day at the Town Hall in Birmingham, Boyd hosts Way To Blue: The Music of Nick Drake. It’s the first of two planned
According to Boyd it will be “a bit more than a tribute
concert [and] will feature performances by Martha Wainwright, Graham Coxon,
Beth Orton, Robyn Hitchcock, Vashti Bunyan, Boris Grebenchikov and Harper
Simon. Kate St John is musical director and Robert Kirby will be on hand to
conduct both his original string parts from Nick’s recordings, but some newly
written arrangements as well. Legendary bassist Danny Thompson, who played on
many of Nick’s recordings will anchor the house band, along with pianist Zoe
Rahman, Neil MacColl and Leo Abrahams on guitars and Martyn Barker on drums.”
Boyd, of course, was Drake’s producer and has been instrumental
in helping keep the Drake fan fires burning all these years. He offered many
fond, funny recollections of the late singer/songwriter in White Bicycles, a book well-worth reading. (We interviewed him a
few years ago about the book – go HERE to see excerpts from the interview.)
Continues Boyd, “Those who attended the Nick Drake panel at
the Barbican 10 years ago will remember our special guest, Robin Frederick.
Robin not only busked with Nick during the summer of 1967 in Provence, but she
now teaches songwriting in California and can explain exaclty what makes Nick’s
music so brilliant. She will take part in the concert and take part with Joe
and Robert Kirby in a seminar after the concert. One of the songs performed
during the evening will be by Molly Drake, Nick’s mother and Robin will discuss
her effect on her son’s music.”
The following afternoon, May 17, Boyd will appear at the
Town Hall, telling tales from his book and accompanied by his pal Robyn
Hitchcock on guitar.
Then on July 18 at the Barbican in London comes an all-star reunion of the
surviving members of the early Fairport Convention incarnations. Boyd produced
the Fairports, and he promises that material from the first five albums will be
performed. That’s to be followed the next night, July 19, also at the Barbican,
for the second part of “Witchseason Weekend” will be a tribute to the
songs of the Incredible String Band.
Start booking those airline tickets, folks.