The Unthanks - How Wild The Wind Blows - Performing the Songs and Poems of Molly Drake
A wistful mother in the 1950s makes some simple home recordings in her family sitting room. Little could she have known that decades later, her son would become one of the most poetic and influential songwriters ever, or that more than sixty years later, the dust would be blown off her own songs. On the surface, the 2013 release of Molly Drake’s work could easily have been perceived as just a curious footnote and jigsaw piece in explaining the enormous talent of Nick Drake. In the eyes of The Unthanks however, and increasingly amongst others, Molly’s work is extraordinary enough to rank alongside and independently of her brilliant son.
With encouragement from the Drake musical estate and the full blessing and enthusiasm of celebrated actress Gabrielle Drake (Molly’s daughter and Nick’s sister) The Unthanks are sure to relish the opportunity. The Mercury nominated mavericks of British folk music are bound to treat the challenge with the same love and diligence for their subject as they did when reinterpreting the work of Robert Wyatt and Antony & The Johnson's. This tour of her reimagined work will be accompanied by an album release of Molly Drake's work - Diversions Vol 4. - the latest in a growing line of intrepid projects by The Unthanks.
Never intended for public release, Molly Drake’s recordings, made by her husband, were made at home and are of the time. In a climate where films, stories and music are being rehashed for spurious repeat exploitation, if ever a body of work actually merited reappraisal and fresh presentation, surely the work of Molly Drake is it. Her songs share plenty of common ground with her son’s - charming and bittersweet, yet dark and pensive.
"All I can say about the Unthanks is that they make my heart beat faster, or smile a lot, or cry. They mean it. And not in some dreary 'authentic' way that feels like a penance for the listener, but just natural. They sing and play what the hell they like, and if you've heard nicer harmonies this year, I may call you a liar. I'm glad to be around at the same time as them." Martin Freeman
"The Unthanks seem to regard folk music the same way Miles Davis regarded jazz: as a launch pad for exploring the wider possibilities." Uncut
"I had to take a single summary of what Alfie and I have being doing over the years to the proverbial desert island I wouldn’t take one of our own records. I’d take the crystal clear interpretations of The Unthanks." Robert Wyatt
"Just beautiful" Lauren Laverne
"Music as tough as it is gentle, as ancient as it is modern, and as coldly desolate as it is achingly intimate.. a sensationally graceful sound that can be epic and subdued, dreamy and specific, as well as supernaturally ancient and defiantly modern" Paul Morley, Observer Music Magazine
"It is their ability to pare back extraneous matter and to stare unflinchingly into the very soul of a song that makes them a spellbinding experience" BBC Music
'Intimate, epic, overflowing with feeling and musical intelligence' The Independent
"Rachel and Becky's voices are one of the true wonders of 21st-century music" NME
"Haunting, original and magnificent" The Guardian