Documenting Nick Drake

Nick Drake

Nick Drake was one of the most troubled and most talented songwriters of his generation. He released just three studio albums in his all-too-brief career, none of which sold particularly well, and after battling depression all his life, died of an apparent overdose of antidepressant drugs in 1974. He was 26. Only in the decades since his death has the music world come to appreciate Drake’s genius: Cited as an influence by such varied artists as Lucinda Williams, Peter Buck of R.E.M. and Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes, his songs have appeared in movies (“The Royal Tannenbaums,” “Fever Pitch”) and commercials (his classic “Pink Moon” was used in a popular Volkswagen spot) and, recently, he became the subject of an acclaimed documentary. “A Skin Too Few,” a film by Jerome Berkvens, tells the sad story of Drake’s hard life—and the posthumous success of a man who all but predicted it when, in “Fruit Tree,” he sang, “Fame is but a fruit tree / So very unsound / It can never flourish / Till its stock is in the ground.” The film, initially released in 2001, will make its Philadelphia premier June 4 at World Cafe Live. The event will be hosted by local singer-songwriter Phil Roy, and will also feature performances of Drake’s songs by other artists. Tickets start at $17.

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Originally published on May 11, 2006