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 relishing the opportunity and will 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 on Diversions Vol 1.
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.
A tour of Molly Drake’s work, reimagined by The Unthanks, will be accompanied by the release of Diversions Vol 4. – The Unthanks Perform The Songs and Poems of Molly Drake. Full listings below. More details on the album release, set for April 2017, to be announced at a later date.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the intimate nature of the music, the tour travels to venues that are mostly smaller than for an Unthanks tour. Book early to avoid disappointment!
18 NEWCASTLE UNDER LYME New Vic Theatre
19 MANCHESTER RNCM Theatre
20 WREXHAM William Aston Hall
21 KENDAL Brewery Arts Centre
22 EDINBURGH Queens Hall
23 BERWICK Maltings Theatre
26 BIRMINGHAM Glee Club
27 CAMBRIDGE Corn Exchange
28 BASINGSTOKE The Anvil
29 CARDIFF Tramshed
30 BRADFORD UPON AVON Wiltshire Music Centre
01 BRIGHTON Old Market
02 SOUTHHAMPTON Turner Sims
03 LONDON Albany
06 CLITHEROE Grand
07 BARROW Forum
10 RUNCORN Brindley
11 LEEDS City Varieties
12 LEEDS City Varieties
13 STOCKTON ARC
14 NEWCASTLE The Theatre Royal
25 DUBLIN Vicar St
28 LONDON The Barbican (Milton Court Hall)
The Unthanks Release The Memory Book
The Memory Book is a warm and personal history compiled by The Unthanks themselves; their final and most candid tenth anniversary release, following last year’s Memory Box of goodies, which the book completes.
Nearly 200 full-colour pages are packed with exclusive content, including:
* Unseen tour diary accounts and photos
* Memorabilia and artwork selected by the band
* Written contributions from current and past members, including pieces on childhood the Mercury Music Prize night, touring America, Europe and Australia, and articles on heroes and influences from within and beyond the folk world
* Unseen photo shoot outtakes
* Comprehensive discograpahy, tour date posters and fliers
* Foreword by writer Paul Morley, plus written contributions by both regular fans and fellow artists, including author Nick Hornby, actors Martin Freeman, Colin Firth, Maxine Peake and Stephen Mangan, and musicians including Martin Hayes, Glen Hansard (The Frames), Conor O’Brien (Villagers), Dawn French, Ade Edmondson, Orbital’s Paul Hartnoll andRadiohead’s Phillip Selway.
* Printed on large, thick, chalky, uncoated, matt stock and bound in hardback. with a silk screen printed front cover by Natalie Rae Reid.
Order the Memory Book now for Christmas!
For Memory Box owners (or those who sent it as a gift and want to compete the owner’s box) the Memory Book completes your Memory Box, fitting snugly inside. It is available to everyone however, as a beautiful, stand-alone history in its own right.
The Memory Book is available to buy for non Memory Box owners too, and is a beautiful account of the last 10 years in its own right.
Contributions by fans and artists alikeMany of the most poignant moments in the book come from you, our fans. Back in the summer, we asked you to write contributions about your own experiences with our music, and with music in general, in terms of its power to inspire, heal, create change, express…
Many of your contributions made it to the book and sit along contributions from fellow artists. Here’s a few excerpts of what they said:
No 1: Nick Hornby
‘The Unthanks make secular spiritual music for everyone, and, at the end of the year when some of us have been troubled by some of the uglier definitions and manifestations of Englishness, it is an enormous consolation to realise that this –I want to say this above all –is the sound of my country.’
No. 11: Martin Freeman
‘The Unthanks are capable of such beauty that sometimes I can hardly bear to listen to them. And sometimes, when I know I need it, I’ll listen to them to open me up and clean me out.’
No. 14 Maxine Peake
‘There are few times when you hear an album or discover a band and they stalk immediately to the heart of everything you love and hold dear.’
No. 9 Glen Hansard
‘A flood of emotion that we’d held inside ourselves since childhood days had just been unexpectedly freed through this song… It was already clear that whoever this band were, they were our people.’
No. 7 Martin Hayes
‘The honest and heartfelt way in which they deliver their music is a true inspiration to me.’
plus contributions from
Robert Wyatt, Elvis Costello, Aidan O’Rourke (Lau), Dawn French, Ade Edmondson, Geoff Travis, Paul Hartnoll (Orbital), Rosanne Cash, Colin Firth, Stephen Mangan, Conor O’Brien (Villagers) and Charles Hazlewood.
As has become tradition, The Unthanks will be on the Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie Christmas show on Dec 23rd, BBC 6 Music, talking about the Memory Book and the Molly Drake project, and of course, singing Tar Barrel In Dale!