THE other day I spoke to Joe Boyd, the Britfolk impresario, because of his new tribute record, Way to Blue. The album is in honor of Nick Drake, who Boyd helped discover way back in the late ’60s, and whose career was delicate, melancholy and all too short.
Today, Drake is revered not only be neo-folkies but by the leading jazz musician of my generation, pianist Brad Mehldau.
Boyd, of course, also had a role in Newport ’65, the birth of Pink Floyd, Richard Thompson and Fairport Convention, AND produced what may be our favorite R.E.M. record, the enigmatic third album Fables of the Reconstruction.
Boyd got his start as a preppie New Jersey teenager who helped coax blues and jazz great Lonnie Johnson out of retirement.
Here is my conversation with Boyd, whose memoir of the musical ’60s, White Bicycles, I cannot recommend highly enough.