ESSAY Charlotte Greig

NWR Issue 103

Molly Drake: How Wild The Wind Blows

Exclusive To NWR Online!
Listen to an audio cover, below, by Charlotte Greig (vocals & piano) of Molly Drake’s poignant song, ‘How Wild the Wind Blows'

'The acorn carries an oak tree / Sleeping but for a little while/ Winter lies in the arms of spring / As a mother carries her child / And never knows / How wild the wind blows // A thought carries a universe / A seed carries a field of grain / Love lies in the arms of change / As a joy carries a pain / And never knows/ How wild the wind blows'
Molly Drake, ‘How Wild the Wind Blows’

In the spring of 2013, I was asked by record producer Joe Boyd to take part in a celebration of the work of the late great singer-songwriter Nick Drake at the Laugharne Weekend, a literary and music festival held each year on the Carmarthenshire coast. Joe produced Nick Drake’s three albums, as well as many other classic recordings of the Sixties and Seventies.

I felt honoured to be asked to contribute, and I wanted to come up with something natural to my style of music, so I went back to those three albums to see what I could find. However, much as I admired what I heard, I didn’t feel a sense of connection to it. Instead, as I listened to Nick’s songs, I felt myself to be in the presence of someone extraordinary, someone living in an intense spiritual world very different to my own, bringing me messages from it. Moreover, on a more practical note, the melodic lines of the songs were wrapped in complex guitar structures that I couldn’t imagine translating to the piano, which is the instrument I play.

Covering a song is not simply a matter of learning the lines so that you can perform them. There has to be some spark there, something you can light on, that chimes with your own experience. Only then can you make a version that is honest and authentic, and that brings something original to the work.

So I thought again...

Lyrics quotes by permission

Molly Drake thanks to Bryter Music

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previous essay: My Year as an Island
next essay: Fetch the Critic


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